Daniel Ricciardo could replace Sergio Perez early next season if Mexican's performances don't improve: Report
Recent reports have claimed that Daniel Ricciardo could replace Sergio Perez in the early parts of the 2024 F1 season if the latter fails to improve his performance. In this scenario, Ricciardo's salary would reportedly triple and Liam Lawson, Red Bull's reserve driver, would return to F1 on a permanent basis by taking the Aussie's seat in AlphaTauri.
According to renowned F1 journalist Joe Saward, there is believed to be a provision in Ricciardo's contract that would allow him to switch to Red Bull if Checo underperforms in the first few races next season.
Saward wrote (h/t @RBR_Daily on X):
"Informed sources suggest that there is a provision in Ricciardo’s contract for him to switch into Red Bull Racing after the early races next year if Sergio Perez does not up his game. I hear that if that happens Daniel’s salary will triple and Liam Lawson will come in to replace him," mentioned Saward.
It is worth mentioning that Ricciardo has signed a contract with AlphaTauri until the end of 2024, while Sergio Perez is contracted to Red Bull during the same period.
Red Bull and AlphaTauri have, however, promoted and demoted F1 drivers mid-season in the past. In the 2023 F1 season, Red Bull seniors removed rookie Nyck De Vries from AlphaTauri and replaced him with their reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo.
Sergio Perez is determined to challenge Max Verstappen for a title fight
In the early stages of the 2023 season, Sergio Perez looked quite strong alongside Max Verstappen and seemed like a proper title contender. As the season progressed, however, his performances slumped while Verstappen kept dominating.
Perez recently spoke about finishing second in the drivers' championship and how his next aim is to challenge for the crown. Checo also claims that he is well aware of the challenge that Verstappen will pose to him.
"I've already got second place [in the standings]. My main goal is to get one place better, and I'm aware of the challenge that that represents. We need to make the most of the winter break to start the season with a good feeling, and maintain this level throughout the entire season," he said, via Motorsport-Total.
Sergio Perez ended the 2023 F1 season by securing second place in the drivers' championship with 285 points. That total would have seen him win the drivers championship in 2010 and 2012 but this season, he trailed champion Max Merstappen by a massive 290 points.