Red Bull to recall Sainz if Ricciardo goes
Team boss Horner wants to keep current pair but also has contingency plan in place
Red Bull are prepared to wait for Daniel Ricciardo to decide his Formula One future, but have Spaniard Carlos Sainz as a "safety net" if the former opts to leave after 2018, said team boss Christian Horner.
Horner said at the Mexican Grand Prix that he wants the Australian to stay alongside 20-year-old Dutchman Max Verstappen, who has a long-term contract.
Ricciardo, who will be in the final season of a five-year deal next year, has been linked to Mercedes and Ferrari in media speculation.
"The next move he makes at 28 years of age is a very important one for him. So of course, I'm sure he's going to take the time to make sure the decision is right for him," said Horner on Ricciardo.
"But he knows the intent very clearly, and I've discussed it with him, is that we want him in the team. If that takes another six months, then so be it."
Asked what would happen if Ricciardo decides to leave, Horner said Red Bull were prepared for that.
"That's why we kept Carlos Sainz on loan, that's why we have options around us. We have a safety net but our No. 1 objective is to retain the pairing that we have," he said.
Sainz, 23, has been loaned from Toro Rosso to Renault as part of an engine deal that allowed the Red Bull-owned team to end a contract with the French manufacturer and partner Honda next season.
Among Ricciardo's considerations will be next year's Red Bull engine. His Mexican race ended after barely a handful of laps, due to a turbo problem.
"I think he's keen to see what engine performance looks like next year, which is understandable," said Horner.
Red Bull used Renault engines, branded Tag Heuer. While the former champions have won three times this year and taken more points than Ferrari in recent races, they have also suffered frequent failures. - REUTERS