Red Bull Formula 1 boss Christian Horner has poured cold water over speculation Fernando Alonso could join the team as Daniel Ricciardo’s replacement. 

Ricciardo’s shock decision to leave Red Bull in favour of a switch to Renault has left the Milton Keynes-based squad searching for a replacement to fill his seat for 2019, with junior drivers Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly the most likely candidates. 

Alonso has been linked with a possible switch to Red Bull as he continues to weigh up his F1 future, having grown frustrated by his lack of success at McLaren. 

Daniel Ricciardo makes shock move to Renault

But speaking in a podcast on the official F1 website, Horner was quick to downplay the suggestion of signing the two-time world champion, adding it would be an unhealthy move for the team. 

“I have got huge respect for Fernando. He’s a great driver, a fantastic driver," Horner said.

“But I think it’s very difficult to see… he tends to cause a bit of chaos wherever he’s gone. I’m not sure it would be the healthiest thing for the team for Fernando to join the team.”

Horner insisted Red Bull is keen to uphold its tradition of promoting talent from its own driver programme, as it has done for over a decade. 

“Our preference would be to continue to invest in youth than take a driver who’s obviously close to the end of his career,” he explained. 

“We are fortunate that we’ve got several drivers under contract that are great talents. So I think we are going to sit back and just look and evaluate what the situation is. 

“It’s an incredibly attractive car to be driving and I don’t think we are going to be short of requests and offers.”

When pressed on whether it is likely to be either Toro Rosso driver Gasly or Sainz, who is currently on loan to Renault, Horner replied: “I wouldn’t read too much into it at the moment. Both of those guys are very quick drivers. This just gives us a chance to take a breath. 

“They are under contract anyway until the end of the summer or beyond, we’ll just look at the options available to us and make the right direction for the team.” 

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