Red Bull team principal Christian Horner hasn’t ruled out assessing its options away from its current Formula 1 drivers for 2020 having triggered a dramatic shake-up over the summer break.

After switching Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon between the Red Bull and Toro Rosso squads for the rest of 2019, Horner has confirmed his team will evaluate all its drivers to decide its 2020 line-up at both teams – with Max Verstappen the only driver confirmed at Red Bull next year.

With Gasly, Albon and Daniil Kvyat vying for the race seats, Horner did not deny considerations on bringing in a driver externally if the right opportunity arises for next season – but only if its current driver pool doesn’t meet the standards required.

“If we think none of the drivers in the Red Bull pool can get the job done then of course we will look to that but I think the talent we have within the group will be sufficient,” Horner said.

“I think throughout the season he [Albon] has done a very impressive job but it is not just based on one race and likewise for Pierre. This decision is not taken on one race it is on all the data that we have on the 12 races and 1000 of kilometres that we’ve covered to date.

“We are in this unique position to move the drivers around but our idea is to select the driver to be alongside Max next year from the pool of drivers we have under contract.”

Red Bull last hired an F1 driver outside its own roster back in 2007 when it signed Mark Webber to join David Coulthard.

With a number of F1 drivers hunting a 2020 drive, including Nico Hulkenberg who was recently axed at Renault, Horner has played down any immediate links as Red Bull will prioritise its own drivers before looking elsewhere.

“Obviously we monitor the situation externally but it is unlikely that we would take a driver from outside our own development programme,” he said. “But as I said if we don’t feel we have a driver that can get the job done, like we did with Mark Webber, he was taken externally.”

Albon secured fifth place on his Red Bull debut, having started at the back of the grid due to engine penalties, as Pierre Gasly claimed ninth place on his return to Toro Rosso at the Belgian Grand Prix.

 

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