Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has stated that it wouldn’t be ‘the healthiest thing’ for his outfit to pursue Fernando Alonso as a replacement for Renault-bound Daniel Ricciardo.
Ricciardo shocked the F1 world last week when he announced that his fifth season with Red Bull would be his last.
The Australian’s contract is up at the end of the year and he will join the Renault works team for the 2019 season.
His decision has left a coveted, top-tier F1 seat vacant, which has led to suggestions Red Bull may offer two-time world champion Alonso a route back to the top end of the grid.
Red Bull have already signed Dutch phenom Max Verstappen to a multi-year contract and the Milton Keynes-based outfit had hoped to retain Ricciardo but are now left looking for a replacement for one of the grid’s most talented drivers.
McLaren’s Alonso, who is also without a contract for next season at present, would bring with him top-level talent, but Horner claims that it is highly unlikely that he will bring the Spaniard in to occupy that second seat.
“I’ve got huge respect for Fernando, he’s a great, fantastic driver, but it would be very difficult to see,” Horner said on F1’s official podcast Beyond the Grid.
“He’s tended to cause a bit of chaos wherever he’s gone and I’m not sure it would be the healthiest thing for the team for Fernando to join.
“Our preference would be to continue to invest in youth then take a driver who is obviously close to the end of his career.”
Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso have highly rated Frenchman Pierre Gasly at their disposal who could certainly take Ricciardo’s place.
The team also have Spanish youngster Carlos Sainz on their books, although Spanish newspaper Marca have claimed this week that Verstappen is against being reunited with his former team-mate.
“We’re fortunate that we’ve got several drivers under contract that are great talents,” Horner said.
“I think we’re going to sit back and evaluate what the situation is, see what comes out.
“It’s an incredibly attractive car to be driving, I don’t think we’re going to be short of requests and offers.
“I think we’ll look at everything. The preferred route will be to invest, as has been so successful, in home talent. Vettel, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Sainz, Gasly — they are all products of the junior programme that have delivered for us.
“Both of those guys (Sainz and Gasly) are very quick drivers so I think this just gives us the opportunity to take a breath.
“They’re under contract anyway till the end of the Summer or beyond. We’ll look at the options available to us and make sure we make the right decision for the team.”