Much like most of the F1 grid, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is in the final year of his contract. Besides Red Bull, both Mercedes and Ferrari are after the Australian to put pen to paper. But there are other drivers waiting in the wings, including a certain Lewis Hamilton.
After years of the car not being able to challenge Mercedes, the Australian has admitted that he was open to fresher pastures. The condition was only if Red Bull could not provide him a car worthy of winning the world championship.
However, in the event of Ricciardo’s unavailability, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has a contingency to replace the 28-year-old. In fact, he name-dropped the likes of Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen as potential options.
“It is something that is going to be dealt with behind closed doors and he knows where we are at and the situation,” he said.
“There is obviously Lewis [Hamilton] that is also out of contract as is Kimi [Raikkonen] and Valtteri [Bottas].”
However, Horner insisted that he wants to retain the dynamic duo, Ricciardo and Max Verstappen at Red Bull for the foreseeable future.
“I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to retain both drivers that we have,” he added.
“We’re are not short of options. Our preference is obviously to retain Daniel but a team such as ours is not short of young drivers or alternatives.
“He did a great job in China and I think it was the boost that he needed and shows how quickly this sport can turn.
“Saturday he was on his knees but to see him get that performance was fantastic.
“Daniel has grown up with Red Bull and has been part of the Red Bull group and family for pretty much 10 years now and his confidence in the team is there.
“The only question he has is over engine performance.”