Red Bull Formula 1 chief Christian Horner says there is no rush for the team to decide who will partner Max Verstappen for the 2020 season, but has ruled out making an approach for Renault exile Nico Hulkenberg.

Red Bull promoted Alexander Albon into a seat with its senior team just 12 races into his F1 career after a difficult start to the season for Pierre Gasly, sending the Frenchman back to Toro Rosso.

Red Bull said the move was so it could evaluate Albon as part of its senior team before deciding who would be Verstappen’s 2020 teammate, with Gasly’s Toro Rosso teammate, Daniil Kvyat, also in contention for the drive.

Asked by Crash.net on Friday in Singapore for a timeframe on when a decision would be made, Horner said Red Bull was not looking to rush into any call.

“We don’t need to be in any rush. All the drivers that are under consideration are under contract, so we’re in a unique position where we don’t need to rush anything,” Horner said.

“We’ll take the fullness of time to look and evaluate the progress of Alex, and measure it against Dany and Pierre.”

One of the highest-profile free agents for the 2020 season is Nico Hulkenberg, who is running out of options to stay on the grid after losing his drive with Renault and being passed over by Haas in favour of Romain Grosjean.

Hulkenberg said on Thursday that he did not think a move to Red Bull for next season was realistic, with Horner confirming the German was not in contention one day later.

“Nico isn’t on our list,” Horner said.

“He’s a great driver and it would be a great shame not to see him continue in Formula 1 next year.

“He’s a professional driver that arguably hasn’t achieved his potential in Formula 1, and I very much hope for him that he does find a seat, because he’s better than some other drivers that are on the grid and he should be in Formula 1.”

Horner praised the way in which Albon had started life with the team after the Anglo-Thai driver scored points in each of his two starts for Red Bull thus far in Belgium and Italy.

“I think he’s done a very good job. Obviously [it was] short notice when he got into the car but his drives in both Spa – particularly Spa in his first race, the recovery that he made to P5 was really impressive – he had a strong weekend in Monza as well,” Horner said.

“And so everything that he’s done so far, I have to say, the whole team’s been very impressed with.”

 

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