Christian Horner has said that Red Bull intend to extend Daniel Ricciardo’s contract once they have discovered the potential of their 2018 car.
However, the team boss also insisted that they have plenty of potential replacements if the driver decides that his future should be elsewhere.
Ricciardo has spent ten years with Red Bull and he is now approaching the “biggest decision” of his career as he enters the final twelve months of his contract. He has said that he will only comment on his future once he knows if he has a car that is capable of winning races and possibly the title.
Horner is sympathetic to Ricciardo’s position and hopes that they will hold talks early next year.
Speaking to Sky Sports Horner said, “We’ve just come through a long hard season, so the last thing we’re going to be doing is getting into the depths of contract discussions. But I think early in the New Year, once we’ve seen how the car’s performing, how things are panning out, then it’s our priority to make sure that we retain Daniel in the team until at least 2020.”
While Ricciardo out-scored his teammate Max Verstappen this year, Verstappen was occasionally the more impressive driver and he has already signed a long-term contract with the team.
However, Horner explained that the two drivers are in very different situations saying that it will be the first time that Ricciardo is a free agent.
If Ricciardo chooses to leave the team he is unlikely to be short of options. However, Horner also believes that Red Bull have alternatives, “We’ve invested a lot in the young driver programme over the years and we’ve got some great talent on the programme. We’re certainly not short of options.”