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Red Bull is prepared to wait for Daniel Ricciardo to make his decision about staying with the team beyond 2018.

The energy drink company’s premier F1 team has locked down Max Verstappen with a new contract until 2020, prompting some to think that Australian Ricciardo may now look for an alternative.

Indeed, Dr Helmut Marko, the Red Bull driver manager, confirmed that the 28-year-old is “on the market”.

But team boss Christian Horner sounds relaxed, saying that even if Ricciardo decides to leave, Red Bull’s ability to pull Carlos Sainz back from the works Renault team is a “safety net”.

Horner said of Ricciardo: “At 28, his next decision is a very important one. So he will take time to make it right.

“But we have also clearly told him that we want him on the team,” Horner is quoted by Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper.

“Even if the decision takes him six months, that’s fine,” he added.

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