Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has reiterated his desire to retain the services of Daniel Ricciardo until at least 2020.
Last month, Horner described Ricciardo and his young team-mate, Max Verstappen, as the "best driver line-up in Formula One".
However, the Australian is about to enter the final 12 months of his contract and speculation over his future continues to swirl, with Mercedes and Ferrari both finishing comfortably ahead of Red Bull in the 2017 constructors' standings.
"We've just come through a long hard season, so the last thing we're going to be doing is getting into the depths of contract discussions," Horner told Sky Sports News.
"But I think early in the new year, once we've seen how the car's performing, how things are panning out, then it's our priority to make sure that we retain Daniel in the team until at least 2020.
"It's the first time he's effectively a free agent. It's also a critical time in his career, he's 28 years of age.
"This next step is going to be crucial for him and we just want to make sure we give him the right car to be able to deliver his potential."
Should negotiations with Ricciardo, a winner of five races in his four seasons with Red Bull's senior team, not progress in positive fashion, Horner insists his team have plenty of alternatives.
"We've invested a lot in the young driver programme over the years and we've got some great talent on the programme," he added.
"We're certainly not short of options."
19 de marzo 2018
|F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Ferrari|
|Hunt handed ban and fine but cleared to return|
|Rants, criticism a familiar story – Is Mourinho set for Man United exit?|
|Guptill added to Black Caps squad|
|Thunder end Raptors´ streak, Davis stars|
|Stars goalie Bishop expected to miss at least two weeks|
|Messi desperate for World Cup success|
|Federer frustrated by Indian Wells final defeat|
|Del Potro: I can´t believe I won Indian Wells|
|Napoli causing Juventus problems as Sarri revels in crucial win|
|Balbirnie happy to boost Ireland chances|
|The better Ronaldo is, the better Madrid will be – Vazquez lauds four-goal hero|
|Ireland inspired by retired team-mates – Sexton|
|Indian Wells crown surreal for Osaka|
|F1 2018: Everything you need to know|
|Salah ´unstoppable´ like Messi, says Watford boss Gracia|
|Demanding Mourinho is still special, insists Matic|
|Truex Jr sweeps stages and wins first race of 2018|
|Woods pleased with progress at Bay Hill|
|McIlroy cruises to victory at Bay Hill, where Tiger impresses|
|Dallas 3 Seattle Sounders 0: Dempsey sees red after VAR|
|Ronaldo ´from another galaxy´, says Zidane|
|Del Potro saves match points to stun Federer for Indian Wells title|
18 de marzo 2018
|Eusebio Sack-ristan: Real Sociedad part company with head coach|
|Fassone ready for Gattuso talks after Milan resurgence|
|Napoli 1 Genoa 0: Albiol goal maintains pressure on Juve|
|Real Madrid 6 Girona 3: Four-goal Ronaldo continues hot streak with 50th career hat-trick|
|USA boss Sarachan calls up Weah for Paraguay friendly|
|Excellent Leipzig deserved Bayern win - Heynckes|
|Marquez will sleep easily after last-ditch Qatar move|
|Conte impressed by Morata´s return to scoring form|
|I lost the game myself - Simeone accepts responsibility for Atletico Madrid defeat|
|Borussia Dortmund to delay final Stoger decision - Zorc|
|Toulouse topple leaders Montpellier|
|Puel stands by Schmeichel after FA Cup blunder|
|Neymar could be back for Coupe de France final, says Silva|
|Valverde waits on Iniesta answer as Barcelona captain considers exit|
|Magnificent Osaka claims maiden title at Indian Wells|
|Villarreal 2 Atletico Madrid 1: Unal deals LaLiga title race blow for Simeone´s men|
|Leicester City 1 Chelsea 2 (aet): Pedro and Morata send Conte´s men through|
|RB Leipzig 2 Bayern Munich 1: Werner strike seals memorable triumph|
|Gattuso demands lift from out-of-favour Kalinic|
|Karthik hits final-ball six to win Nidahas Trophy|
|Messi puts us where we are right now - Alcacer hails Barcelona superstar|
|Dovizioso holds off Marquez in Qatar to draw first blood|
|Sampaoli ´right´ to pick others - Icardi understands Argentina snub|
|Barcelona 2 Athletic Bilbao 0: Messi and Alcacer secure comfortable success|
|Hughes excited by Southampton quality|
|Nice prepared for ´likely´ Balotelli departure|
|Wales captain Jones set to miss summer Tests|
|Germany defender Halstenberg extends RB Leipzig contract|
|No offers for Roma´s Alisson, says Monchi|
|Constant compliments guarantee defeat, claims Inter boss Spalletti|
|Scoring 100th Serie A goal at Sampdoria was ´destiny´, says Icardi|
|Stoger happy with Gotze response after public criticism|
|AC Milan 3 Chievo 2: Silva spares Rossoneri once more|
|Silva confident Neymar´s future is at PSG|
|´Shameful´ PSG cannot buy a team, says Balotelli|
|All Black Squire suffers broken thumb|
|Everton goal hero Tosun glad Palace move fell through|
|Wigan Athletic 0 Southampton 2: Hojbjerg and Cedric give Hughes first win|
|Pistons got absolutely screwed - Van Gundy slams officiating in loss to Trail Blazers|
|Selection shake-up not down to Ashes drubbing - Strauss|
|Fiorentina rename training ground after late captain Astori|
|Usain Bolt issued Commonwealth Games warning to Yohan Blake|
|Borussia Dortmund 1 Hannover 0: Batshuayi the difference again for Stoger´s men|
|Nice 1 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Alves earns late victory for runaway leaders|
|Icardi 100: Inter captain´s Serie A landmark in Opta numbers|
|Sampdoria 0 Inter 5: Four-goal Icardi demolishes former side|
|Gray´s tackling ton and Italy´s woeful run - the Six Nations in Opta facts|