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Ricciardo F1 future being 'protected' by Horner

Ricciardo F1 future being 'protected' by Horner

Ricciardo F1 future being 'protected' by Horner

Ricciardo F1 future being 'protected' by Horner

A top Formula 1 pundit believes Daniel Ricciardo is being 'protected' by Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

The Visa Cash App RB star has struggled to hit top form this season, and has been comfortably outperformed by team-mate Yuki Tsunoda.

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The Japanese driver currently holds a 7-2 lead over the Australian in qualifying, and has scored points for his team in five of his last seven races.

Ricciardo, meanwhile, only secured his first grand prix points of the year in Canada last weekend, though he showed glimpses of his talent at the Miami sprint race, producing a stunning drive to finish fourth.

Yuki Tsunoda has consistently outperformed Ricciardo at RB this season
Ricciardo has endured a challenging season so far with RB

Ricciardo under pressure

The eight-time race winner previously had one eye on making a stunning return to Red Bull in the future, but now faces a fight for his F1 career, and has been on the receiving end of much criticism in 2024, with former world champion Jacques Villeneuve the latest to slam the 34-year-old.

With Tsunoda signing a new deal until the end of next season, and RB reserve driver Liam Lawson patiently waiting for an opportunity, Ricciardo is under pressure to prove he still has what it takes to deliver results at the top level.

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Christian Horner was Daniel Ricciardo's boss at Red Bull

F1 pundit Andrew Benson believes Ricciardo still has the backing of his former boss Horner, which goes a long way towards explaining why he has yet to be dropped despite his lacklustre showings.

Writing in his BBC column, Benson said: “Ricciardo is 7-2 down on Tsunoda in grand prix qualifying sessions this year and slightly slower on average. And the problem with that is that Red Bull don't rate the Japanese as a top-line driver.

“This is why Ricciardo has gone from being considered a potential replacement for Sergio Perez in the main Red Bull team, to being at risk of losing his seat.

“Reserve driver Liam Lawson is waiting in the wings, but Ricciardo is currently protected by team principal Christian Horner.

"It remains to be seen which way Red Bull go in choosing a partner for Tsunoda at what is now called RB in 2025.”

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