Christian Horner says that Red Bull has to put together the best possible package when it finally decides on a replacement for Mark Webber.
While he admires Daniel Ricciardo, Horner is clearly keen to have an established winner on board, while others in the camp are supportive of the Toro Rosso driver.
Horner says that the team is not under pressure to promote a Red Bull protégé, despite Toro Rosso’s obvious role as a training ground.
“I think Daniel considering the equipment at his disposal has done a very good job,” said Horner. “Which is why we were keen to have a look at him at Silverstone, and he acquitted himself very well there – he couldn’t have done any more to be honest.
“I think the situation that we’re in is that we want to run the strongest team. We’re a team that’s won the World Championship the last three years, and we want to make sure that we are in a position to compete and fight for the World Championship in future years.
“There has never been any pressure that we must take a junior driver. It’s a matter of fielding the best team at the end of the day. Of course the junior drivers are under consideration, but there’s not a pre-requisite that it has to be a junior driver for next year.
“You always want to put the strongest drivers in the cars that you possibly can. Mark leaves some big shoes to be filled.”
Asked about how an Alonso/Vettel combination would work, he said: “It would be interesting! I think at the end of the day we what we have to think about is what’s right for the team, and obviously the pairing that we put together next year has to be right for the team.
“Last week there was speculation about Kimi, this week it’s about Fernando. I think for us we want to make sure nothing waivers in our mind about putting the right team package together for next year with the two fastest drivers that we can, and that we work collectively well together and achieve the best results for the team.”