Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has warned Daniel Ricciardo that he will only be a number 2 driver if he joins Mercedes or Ferrari in 2019. After Max Verstappen extended his deal with the energy drink team, there is growing speculation that Ricciardo could be on his way out after the 2018 season.
During the United States Grand Prix weekend, Ricciardo stated how much he would like to partner Lewis Hamilton, suggesting that a move to Mercedes could be on the cards. The Brackley squad has tied Valtteri Bottas down on a one-year deal for next season.
However, Horner believes that it would be a bad move for Ricciardo, suggesting that he will only find an equal opportunity to fight for the world championship at Red Bull: "It’s an absolute priority for us to retain the drivers,” he told Sky F1.
"Here, they have equal chance to go for that championship. If he goes to Mercedes or Ferrari he’s just going to be a number two driver. Daniel knows that we want to retain him in the team, and hopefully it won’t take too long to sort that out.”
"This is the best line-up in Formula 1. And this is the best line-up we’ve ever had in Red Bull Racing. The way the team works, the way they represent themselves and push themselves.The respect and relationship is there between the two drivers."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing