Red Bull put to bed any rumours about Ricciardo’s team-mate Max Verstappen jumping ship by announcing his new contractThe Dutchman will now stay with the team until at least 2020 but Ricciardo’s current deal expires at the end of next season.One of the grid’s most talented overtakers, the Australian has been linked with both Mercedes and Ferrari, who could both have vacancies for 2019.However, Horner is desperate to retain Ricciardo and believes he will not get the same opportunities at other teams.
“This is the best line-up in Formula 1,” Horner said.“This is the the best line-up we’ve ever had in Red Bull Racing: the way the team works, the way they present themselves, they way they push themselves and the respect and the relationship there is between the two drivers.“It’s an absolute priority for us to retain the drivers.If he goes to Mercedes or Ferrari, he’s just going to be a No 2 driver.
“Here, they’ve got equal chance to go for that championship.”
But Ricciardo himself, 28, seemed surprised by the timing of Verstappen’s announcement and is keen to put off anything similar for himself.
“It’s not that I’ve said no to anything,” Ricciardo said.
“It’s just still quite early, I think.
“People talked a little bit about contracts and the silly season for next year, but I thought that would still happen next year. It’s still quite early.