Daniel Ricciardo in brutal new development at Spanish GP amid uncertainty around F1 future

The Aussie star again finished out of the points at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Under-pressure F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo has once again put together an underwhelming performance at the Spanish Grand Prix. The Aussie is out of contract at the end of the year and has been consistently beaten by Visa Cash App RB (VCARB) teammate Yuki Tsunoda, with the Japanese driver finishing ahead of Ricciardo in five of eight races this season.

Ahead of the Spanish GP on Sunday, Red Bull was confident that both Ricciardo and Tsunoda were set to be among the points. However, things didn't go to plan. While Max Verstappen notched yet another F1 victory, crossing the line ahead of Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton, Ricciardo and Tsunoda found themself near the back of the grid.

The VCARB team went into the weekend with hopes of adding to their points tally with a series of upgrades being made on the cars. But from the opening practice session, it was clear that both their drivers were lacking serious pace.

Daniel Ricciardo, pictured here during the Spanish Grand Prix.
Daniel Ricciardo was once again stuck at the back of the pack in the Spanish Grand Prix. Image: Getty

In qualifying both Ricciardo and Tsunoda were knocked out in Q1 and it didn't go much better come race time. Tsunoda looked uncomfortable throughout as he crossed the line only ahead of Williams driver Logan Sargeant. While Ricciardo managed to slightly edge up the order from his starting position of 18th, finishing 15th.

But it was far from what the team expected from its drivers and team boss Laurent Mekies delivered a blunt assessment of the nightmare weekend post-race. “We came here with high hopes for the upgrades that everyone back in the factory has worked so hard to design and produce as part of our aggressive development strategy,” Mekies said.

“Unfortunately, right from the start of Free Practice we were lacking pace in every session. There is no point denying this was a poor weekend for us and although the gaps were very small, there’s no excuses for the fact we just weren’t competitive.”

Earlier this week Ricciardo said the weight of his contract situation hanging over his head has been "very taxing" as his future on the grid beyond this year remains unclear. Speculation was mounting ahead of the 2024 season that Ricciardo would replace Perez next year, however, on the back of the Aussie's below-par campaign, the champion team decided to stick with their Mexican star and instead are deciding if there is a place in the team at all for Ricciardo.

In 2024, the Aussie has been consistently outperformed by teammate Tsunoda - a man he was expected to outshine by a fair margin. The Japanese driver's performances have earned him a new deal with the Red Bull-owned Italian team for 2025.

Ricciardo hasn't been handed a new deal as of yet, with Red Bull reportedly weighing up whether to go with him or 22-year-old Kiwi Liam Lawson. Speaking ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, Ricciardo admitted the uncertainty around his future has been weighing heavily on his mind.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 22: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Visa Cash App RB looks on in the Pitlane during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 22, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
Daniel Ricciardo's F1 seat is under threat.

“It’s tough because … there’s not really just one thing behind a decision; there’s so many,” he said. “It can be very taxing. Of course you need to give it the time required, because it’s your future and it’s your career and obviously something you work very hard for, but also … at some point you just want to make the decision and kind of move on.

“It’s tough because you can’t take it lightly. It’s one of those ones. I guess we all go through it. We’ve all been through it in some way, shape or form, but I think it means a lot to us, and that’s why we obviously put so much weight on it." Despite Lawson reportedly having been promised a 2025 seat or be made a free agent, Red Bull are still reportedly leaning towards retaining Ricciardo due to his decade-plus of experience in the F1.

Despite the disappointing weekend and finishing well out of the points, Ricciardo says he was happy with his personal performance under the circumstances. "From the beginning, from a competitiveness (perspective), we weren’t there," Ricciardo said.


"It was a really, really strange weekend for us, to have dropped off so much. My race today, honestly, I felt good. I was happy with the race, happy with what I got out of it, but yeah, 15th is not something that we can be happy about.

"With the package we had this weekend, I honestly don’t think we could have done anything better. I don’t want to say that makes everything better, it doesn’t, but we need to move on. I’ve got plenty of notes and feedback from the race today to give to the team tonight. In the next 48/72 hours, (there’s) lots of things to look at."