Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has refused to confirm if new signing Daniel Ricciardo has been handed a three-year contract.
Ricciardo was announced as Mark Webber's successor earlier this week
, ending months of speculation about who will partner Sebastian Vettel for F1 2014, although the signing of the 24-year-old had been expected now for some time.
In the team's official release, Horner said the squad had agreed a 'multi-year contract', with Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko later telling Austrian TV that it was for 'at least' three years.
“Continuity is very important to us,” Marko told Servus TV
. “The contract is therefore for at least three years, as Daniel was not only the youngest candidate but also the one with the most potential.”
Quizzed on if that is the case, Horner refused to give anything away: “We never speak about contracts,” he told the official F1 site ahead of this Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at Monza. “Let me just say this: it's more than one year and less than ten.”
Meanwhile, Horner said the decision to opt for Ricciardo as opposed to Kimi Raikkonen was never about money: “Money was never an issue, never a factor in the decision. We wanted to have the right pairing in the car. True, F1 in 2014 is expensive enough, but it was never a determining factor for us,” he stated.
Asked if the new rules for next year will make things harder for Ricciardo, Horner added he is not concerned and has faith in the 24-year-old's abilities.
“The new rules will certainly complicate it - but these rumours that Daniel would not fit into the car were absolutely fictional. It is definitely a new challenge for him, but all drivers are starting from zero. Daniel is an intelligent lad who has won championships before in other series, so it is a calculated risk that we've taken as he has all the attributes to shine in the future,” Horner explained.
“Yes, he has a nice personality - I have hardly seen him without a smile - but, and this is important, he has a very good natural speed and he has a very good feeling for the car, which means that he has all the attributes to succeed,” Horner continued. “But, of course, time will tell [if he has what it takes] because it is a difficult job as he is going against Sebastian Vettel - and to be measured against that is enormously difficult for any driver.
“I think Daniel will though be able to learn a great deal from being alongside Seb. He already had a taste of how Seb operates when he was our third driver and I am sure in the future he will inhale everything that he can from being paired with a three-time champion.”