Red Bull F1 keen to retain Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen until 2020

By @saihoops on
Formula One - F1 - Malaysia Grand Prix - Sepang, Malaysia- 2/10/16  Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo of Australia celebrates with Red Bull's Max Verstappen of the Netherlands on the podium.
Formula One - F1 - Malaysia Grand Prix - Sepang, Malaysia- 2/10/16 Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo of Australia celebrates with Red Bull's Max Verstappen of the Netherlands on the podium. Reuters/Edgar Su

Red Bull Racing are keen to lock up drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen until the 2020 Formula One season, according to several reports. Ricciardo, a native of Australia, is expected to join F1 legends Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in the open market at the end of the 2018 season.

Verstappen, viewed by many as the next F1 superstar, has been locked into a contract until 2019. While Ricciardo has admittedly wanted to join driver market in the final year of his existing deal, Red Bull boss Christian Horner is determined to extend both drivers and end Mercedes' dominance of the sport. Red Bull F1, which won four Drivers and Constructors championships between 2010 and 2013, has struggled to keep pace with Mercedes F1 over the last three seasons.

Many F1 analysts believe the duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen is the most exciting driver pairing on the grid. And Horner has no intention to lose either driver in the near future. "He (Ricciardo) is technically out of contract at the end of the 2018 season as he would have completed a five-year contract so what is absolutely clear is our intention to retain both of our drivers until 2020," Horner said ahead of the United States Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo will be a free agent in 2018

Helmut Marko, who oversees the team's driver programme, told reporters after the Japanese Grand Prix that Ricciardo wishes to join the open market after 2018. However, Horner shot down the rumours:

"Carlos I wanted to keep under contract as an option should one of the drivers past year next not be with us. The absolute intention is we want Verstappen and Ricciardo in Red Bull Racing cars going forward. I think they both enjoy being in the team and the difference with Daniel is for the first time in his career at Red Bull he has got an insight into his contract. Helmut likes to state the obvious which is that he is on the open market but it doesn't mean that we don't want him."

The 2017 Formula One season rolls on with the United States Grand Prix (Oct. 20-22). Lewis Hamilton has the opportunity to seal his fourth F1 world title. If Hamilton can outscore Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by 16 points at the Circuit of Americas, the final three races of the season would become inconsequential.