Daniel Ricciardo would be a No 2 driver at Mercedes or Ferrari, say Red Bull
Will Ricciardo listen to Horner and stay with Red Bull post-2018?
Daniel Ricciardo should commit his future to Red Bull as he would only be a 'Number Two' driver at Mercedes or Ferrari, according to Christian Horner.
While Max Verstappen has agreed an extension with Red Bull until at least 2020, his team-mate's future still hangs in the balance with Ricciardo's current contract expiring at the end of next season - and the Australian is unsurprisingly drawing attention from rival teams.
But Horner is adamant Ricciardo should spurn their advances and stick with the team who have funded his whole Formula 1 career post-2018, believing Red Bull can get the very best out of him.
"It's an absolute priority for us to retain the drivers," the Red Bull boss told Sky Sports F1 at the United States GP. "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."
It remains to be seen whether Horner's tactic of trying to convince Ricciardo that he would be worse off away from Red Bull works, especially as team advisor Helmut Marko admitted the driver was "already putting himself on the market".
But regardless of his future, Horner says Red Bull have the best driver line-up going into 2018 - even claiming the Ricciardo-Verstappen partnership is better than the Vettel-Webber spell that saw them claim four constructors' titles.
"This is the best line-up in Formula 1," the team principal added. "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."