Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has faith in its junior programme and clarified if there isn’t space for future drivers at the top team his squad isn’t concerned by using a loan system as it did with Carlos Sainz Jr for 2018.

After Max Verstappen’s rapid rise through the Red Bull ranks and Daniel Ricciardo staying put for next season it has forced Sainz to go out on loan to Renault for the 2018 Formula 1 season having felt his career was stalling in the Toro Rosso team.

With Verstappen recently re-signing for Red Bull until the end of the 2020 season, while the team is eager to retain Ricciardo beyond next season, concerns have grown for any future Red Bull juniors which break through could be stuck in a similar situation to Sainz – something which doesn’t alarm Horner who is confident the junior programme is working.

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“Red Bull has gone as young as investing in kart racing drivers, at 13 and 14 years of age,” Horner said. “We have some exciting talent in Formula 4, and it will continue to invest in that young talent.

“One of our young drivers [Daniel Ticktum] won the Macau Grand Prix last weekend so the junior programme’s working well but if there’s not room within Red Bull Racing, the drivers can have the opportunity to further their careers. We’re not adverse to making them available to other teams.”

Regarding the immediate futures of Toro Rosso drivers Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley, Horner has repeated his sentiment on a potential loan system in order to keep its youth policy running.

“They can stay where they are, at Toro Rosso, as things develop there,” he said. “We can do what we’ve done with Carlos Sainz and make them available to other teams. For us it’s all about having options and investing in talent and youth.”

Red Bull junior Ticktum has won the McLaren BRDC award which puts him in the interesting position of landing a McLaren F1 car and simulator test in 2017 while backed by a rival team.