Christian Horner admits Red Bull wouldn’t consider Mercedes-linked Esteban Ocon for a 2019 seat while he’s contracted to a major rival.
Horner has ruled the Frenchman out of contention for a spot with Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso – even though they are lacking qualified young drivers in their own junior programme.
But, although the Red Bull chief thinks Mercedes have invested well in Ocon, he is not prepared to give one of their drivers a chance and now looks set to recall Daniil Kvyat for one of its 2019 seats.
“For what is relatively little investment by Mercedes it’s been to their merit that they’ve helped these guys to get into F1,” Horner told Autosport.
“But now it seems to be almost an anchor being a Mercedes driver.
“Being on a recall mechanism isn’t attractive to a vast majority of teams. The crazy situation is you’ve got a driver like Ocon who might end up without a seat next year.
“If he was to be contractually free he’d be an obvious candidate for Toro Rosso. But Red Bull aren’t going to invest in a Mercedes driver, understandably. And I wouldn’t expect the same to happen the other way round.”
Reports this week have suggested Mercedes could cut their ties to Ocon to enable him to get a drive for 2019.