Red Bull boss Christian Horner says his team will give Daniel Ricciardo until the Formula 1 summer break in August to agree to a new deal.

Ricciardo’s current contract with Red Bull is due to expire at the end of the current campaign, with Ricciardo making his intentions clear he wants to be at a squad that can challenge for world championship titles, following years of being stuck behind Mercedes and Ferrari in F1’s pecking order. 

The Australian, who claimed his sixth F1 victory at the Chinese Grand Prix, insisted he would be happy to remain at Red Bull as long as the team can prove it can fight for world titles in the coming years. Ricciardo’s future looks set to be the biggest talking point of the F1 driver market for 2019, with potential seats opening up at both Ferrari and Mercedes. 

But Red Bull team principal Horner warned his driver that the four-time world champions will start lining up his replacement if Ricciardo has not made a decision by August. 

“There should be a decision by the summer break at the latest,” Horner is quoted as saying by Auto Motor Und Sport. “We do not want to wait forever. 

“We have other good options. Our priority is to continue working with Daniel. If that does not work, we’ll pull the other options.”


Horner said Carlos Sainz, on loan to Renault from Red Bull for the 2018 season,  would be the standout option to fill Ricciardo’s seat should he opt to leave the Milton Keynes-based squad. 

“The most obvious is Carlos Sainz,” Horner added. “He is under contract with us. And then there are a few young drivers.”

Horner’s comments follow reports that Ricciardo is about to sign a deal to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari from 2019.

Ricciardo recently revealed he wants to sign a two-year deal so he can assess the championship pecking order ahead of the next big regulation shake-up for 2021. 

"I don't want to sign anything too long because I don't know where the sport's going," he told The Times. "I think two years I can definitely be comfortable with and then see it from there."

 

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