Red Bull insist that Pierre Gasly still has a future in Formula One despite being overlooked by the energy drink brand for a Toro Rosso seat for next year.
The Frenchman was crowned GP2 champion on Sunday after defeating team mate Antonio Giovinazzi, but Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat who was dropped by Red Bull earlier in the year will line up for Red Bull''s second team in 2017.
"Gasly has done a great job this year, it's good to see him win the GP2 championship," Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner told Autosport. "He has done important work for us in tests and development work this year."
"There isn't a seat available in F1 for him at the moment, but he is the most senior member of the junior team and being retained by us because we rate him extremely highly," he continued. "Whatever the future holds for him, F1 can still very much be part of that future."
Meanwhile Gasly has said that he only has his eyes on F1 at the moment. The 20-year-old has been linked with a Super Formula seat for next year, as champions aren't permitted to return to GP2.
"I said to Helmut [Marko - Red Bull's Junior Team boss] my only goal is to get into Formula One," said Gasly. "I will always keep pushing for that, but you always need an opportunity.
"We will see what happens; at the moment I don't know," he added. "My future is wide open, but you can be sure that I will keep pushing with everything to get into Formula One."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing