Red Bull’s Christan Horner has admitted that he and the team have already started preparing for when, not if, the Ricciardo-Verstappen relationship turns nasty.
Since Max Verstappen has joined the team, he and teammate Daniel Ricciardo have formed a good partnership, getting seven podium finishes so far between them, including Verstappen’s record-breaking victory at the Spanish Grand Prix.
However, Ricciardo told Sky Sports that if Red Bull are Championship contenders in the future, the two will “cross paths”. He also commented on how they and the team will have to “deal with it” in order to avoid “any conflict” between the two.
In previous years, Horner was able to manage a difficult relationship between drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber which lead to four consecutive Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships. He is now aware that the Ricciardo-Verstappen relationship may become just as challenging.
“With Max and Daniel we’ve got one of- if not the most- exciting driver parings in F1,” Horner spoke.
“It’s down to them and what they do on the track at the end of the day. The relationship is sufficiently young at the moment that it isn’t an issue.
“But inevitably if they are racing with each other over the next two or three years, and racing for the same bit of tarmac…
“I think as long as we deal with it in an open and honest manner, and it’s clear what the objectives of the team are, we’ll deal with any speed bumps that come our way.”
Ricciardo has extended his contract until the end of the 2018 season, whilst Verstappen has a contract of similar length.
Formula 1 returns this weekend with the awaited Belgian Grand Prix, which begins with the first practice on Friday at 10am local time.