Ricciardo made a sensational return to Formula 1 this season with Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri, replacing the underperforming Nyck de Vries.

An injury has curtailed Ricciardo’s comeback - and opened the door for Liam Lawson to impress - but the veteran Aussie has been confirmed for AlphaTauri’s line-up next season too.

But Lawrence Barretto reported on F1.com: “Sergio Perez is under pressure at Red Bull, having scored only a little over half the number of points his team-mate Max Verstappen has mustered, the Mexican trailing by 177 points despite having what is comfortably the best car in the field.

“Sources suggest Ricciardo would be Red Bull’s favoured driver to replace Perez if required either mid-season or at the end of 2024 campaign.”

Perez won two grands prix earlier in 2023 but has come under mounting pressure, especially since Ricciardo’s return to the grid.

Ricciardo came back, after last season’s axing from McLaren, insisting that his real goal was to land a Red Bull seat.

Perez’s contract expires at the end of 2024 meaning Red Bull will have a major decision to make about whether to keep faith with him as Max Verstappen’s teammate, or to bring in Ricciardo.

Perez and Verstappen have, at times, had a volatile relationship adding an extra layer of complication to the Mexican’s future.