Despite Mercedes’ banter with Max Verstappen in the wake of Nico Rosberg’s retirement, Red Bull have made it clear that their drivers are not up for grabs.
Following Friday’s shock announcement, Mercedes joked with Verstappen on social media asking the Dutchman to send a reference.
He replied telling Mercedes his would be the “best” they received before Mercedes told him to report in on Monday, 9am.
But while the banter was amusing, Red Bull has made it clear that neither the 19-year-old nor Daniel Ricciardo, another highly rated driver, are going anywhere any time soon.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner simply told the Sunday Mirror: “Our drivers are both on long-term contracts.”
Mercedes are hoping to resolve their driver situation before the end of the year.
Niki Lauda told BBC 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme: “This is a big problem now for us as a team to find the appropriate replacement. We have to think about it and contact everyone and do proper research on who we’re going to put in the best car of Formula One.
“We certainly need a driver for the first test of the new car in February but I can assure you it will happen earlier because whoever it is we have to train them on the simulator, train him into the team.
“I think we should have a decision before the end of the year. We’ll give an unexpected Christmas present to one of the drivers.”