Christian Horner says it is still Red Bull Racing’s desire to retain Daniel Ricciardo alongside Max Verstappen until at least the end of the 2020 season, although if he does not stay on, Carlos Sainz Jr. will be in prime position to move into the team.
Verstappen recently signed a contract extension with the Milton Keynes-based outfit, but at present, Ricciardo’s contract is set to expire at the end of next season, and although the Australian admits there is nothing stopping him from signing an extension of his own, he is under no time constraints to do so.
And Horner, Team Principal of Red Bull, has said that Sainz Jr., currently on loan to the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team, is the ‘safety net’ for the team should Ricciardo leave, with the Australian likely to be interested in possible vacancies that may open up at either Scuderia Ferrari or Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team in 2019.
“The next move he [Ricciardo] makes at 28 years of age is a very important one for him,” said Horner to Reuters. “So of course I’m sure he’s going to take the time to make sure the decision is right for him.
“But he knows the intent very clearly, and I’ve discussed it with him, is that we want him in the team. If that takes another six months, then so be it.
“He knows how we go about our racing and how we treat the two drivers, which he’s extremely comfortable and happy with.
“That’s why we kept Carlos Sainz on loan, that’s why we have options around us. We have a safety net but our number one objective is to retain the pairing that we have.”