Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has insisted that Daniel Ricciardo has not been signed as Mark Webber's replacement.
He further added that the decision could take longer than previously anticipated.
Outgoing driver Mark Webber told Australian broadcaster Channel 10 in Belgium: "The decision's made. We all know who it is. I'm happy with that decision. It's good for him and good for Australia."
After talks with Kimi Raikkonen were shadowed, Ricciardo was seen as the favorite. However, the team revealed it had some 'very surprising choices and offers'; and that Raikkonen was still in the mix.
Horner, though, has adamantly shot down the Aussie's statement, and clarified that no decision has been made yet, and that Webber would obviously not be aware of all the negotiations and discussions going on behind the team walls.
"There's plenty of speculation about but nothing has been signed yet," Horner told ESPNF1. "The situation is still as I said before the race; we've got time to contemplate who we're going to put in the other seat and there will be no announcement certainly before Monza.
"Comments get taken out of context sometimes and Mark obviously isn't privy to all of the discussions with drivers. But when there's something to announce we'll certainly announce it."
Could it have been a rhetorical statement by Webber, who leaves Red Bull after having been the second driver to their poster boy Sebastian Vettel?
Did he mean to imply that his fellow Aussie was better off learning at Toro Rosso, until he's ready to make the move up, rather than to be pushed; or was it simply a human slip-up?
Webber might have just assumed the situation, with Raikkonen or Fernando Alonso moving to Red Bull seeming unlikelier by the day; Ricciardo might simply be Red Bull's back up plan.
Also, Christian Horner could have been trying to delay Ricciardo's unveiling, to keep the young driver motivated for the rest of the season; and also keep his current partner Jean Eric Vergne's confidence high.
Red Bull have come a long way since they promoted a young Vettel from sister team Toro Rosso. Now as the running three times Constructors' Champions the team would need a highly talented and consistent driver to carry forward the torch.
Although, Ricciardo has shown shades of excellence, the young Aussie has not set the 'track on fire' (like his predecessor Vettel), in a relatively competitive Toro Rosso car.
The extended discussions and delays, could be bad news for Ricciardo. With three former World Champions: Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, and also Jenson Button, reportedly in the frame, Red Bull would be spoilt for choice.
Other candidates like Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg also offer stiff competition to the Aussie now.
Horner had previously said that the team would decide on it's future driver by the Italian GP in Monza, but now seemed skeptical stating: "It could probably go on beyond Monza."
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