Triple Formula One world champion Max Verstappen said he would be happy to have either Sergio Perez or Daniel Ricciardo as a team-mate next season, which has done nothing to dampen speculation about a possible move to Red Bull.
Perez, 33, has a contract until 2024 but his poor form compared to Verstappen’s dominance of 16 wins in 19 races in 2023 has fueled talk about his future.
Veteran Australian Ricciardo, 34, was Verstappen’s team-mate from 2016 to 2018 and his return to the Red Bull fold with Alfatauri this season leaves him as favorite to replace Perez.
Verstappen told reporters at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in Interlagos on Thursday that he had a great relationship with the two.
“They are great teammates and at the end of the day it’s not up to me to make that kind of decision because I’m very focused on my own performance,” he said.
“So if it’s Checo next year, great. I have a great working relationship with him but personally I think he’s a great guy. And if it’s Daniel, we’ll get on well and have a great time.
“F1 can be a tough game. You ask questions like this but maybe nothing is going right? We’ll see,” added the 26-year-old.
Ricciardo, who achieved a season-best result of seventh in Mexico last Sunday, told reporters there had been no talks with Red Bull about next season.
“Everything around my contract next year is related to Alfatouri. I want to say that as far as the truth goes,” he added.
Team boss Christian Horner also insisted after the Mexico race that Perez’s future was not dependent on whether he could finish second in the championship.
Perez is fighting for second place overall and is 20 points clear of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton with three races remaining. Red Bull never managed to finish a season or two with their drivers.
“I am confident in Cheko [Perez] That he can be ahead, because I think on average we have faster cars,” said Verstappen.