Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has ruled out signing Fernando Alonso as Daniel Ricciardo's replacement on the grounds that the two-time world champion has caused "chaos" wherever he has driven.
Ricciardo shocked Red Bull last week by announcing he would leave the team for Renault at the end of the season. The news leaves a vacancy at the four-time world champions alongside Max Verstappen, and Horner says he is in no rush to confirm Ricciardo's replacement.
However, he was able to rule out Alonso, who is currently making his own mind up about his F1 future at his current team McLaren.
"I've got huge respect for Fernando, he is a great driver, a fantastic driver, but it's very difficult to see [him joining Red Bull] and he's tended to cause a bit of chaos wherever he's gone," Horner told F1's official podcast Beyond the Grid. "I'm not sure it would be the healthiest thing for the team for Fernando to join the team. So I think our preference is to continue to invest in youth than take a driver who is towards the end of his career."
Red Bull has two homegrown talents under contract in Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly that represent the obvious fits alongside Verstappen. Sainz is currently on loan to Renault this season, but Red Bull could exercise an option on his services for next year. Gasly is driving for the Toro Rosso junior team this year and has impressed with a series of strong points finishes that could see him promoted to Red Bull.
"Both of those guys are very quick drivers," Horner added. "This just gives us an opportunity to take our breath, because they are under contract anyway until the end of the summer or beyond, and we will just look at the options available to us and make sure we make the right decision for the team.
"I remember when Mark Webber left in 2013, it was going to be a disaster and we considered Kimi Raikkonen and we considered all the drivers, but eventually it came down to a clear cut decision between Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel got the nod.
"The concern we had about him then was his race craft because we hadn't seen him race anybody. He could qualify the car alright, but ironically it turned out from the moment he got in the car he never stopped overtaking people! So it just goes to show that until you give someone the chance in your own environment it is sometimes quite difficult to gauge."
Speaking the day the Ricciardo news broke, Horner said his team did not need to be rushed into a decision.
"We are fortunate that we have got several drivers under contracts that are great talents. So I think we are going to sit back and just evaluate what the situation is and also see what comes out of the woodwork because it is an incredibly attractive car to be driving. I don't think we are going to be short of requests and offers."