If Daniel Ricciardo is to mount a late challenge to the dominant Mercedes duo in this year’s Formula 1 World Championship, he’ll be doing so without the help of team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
Team principal Christian Horner has underlined Red Bull’s mandate to let its two drivers race one another following the weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
Monza saw the pair engage in a spirited scrap late in the going, with Ricciardo sweeping by his four-time world champion team-mate for fifth place while on fresher tyres.
The Australian remains third in the championship standings, 72 points adrift of leader Nico Rosberg and 50 behind Lewis Hamilton.
Including the double points finale, 175 points remain available over the season’s final six races.
In the aftermath of the Italian Grand Prix, Ricciardo spoke hopefully that the team would throw its full support behind his title hopes,
“My lead is around 60 points over Seb,” he told the BBC.
“I would love to be quicker on merit and not need team orders, but the next couple of tracks are perfect for us so if we need to make any decisions if we can challenge Mercedes for the title then I am sure they will be made.”
Horner, however, has quashed such a suggestion, declaring that the two drivers will remain free to race.
“I think that we let the drivers race,” he said.
“We trust them that they race hard and wheel-to-wheel extremely fairly.
“The points difference between Daniel and the two Mercedes is enormous so it doesn’t make sense for us to interfere with the two driver’s racing.
“It’s down to what they do on track and that’s how they raced (at Monza).”
Vettel is sixth in the championship after 13 of 19 races, a full 132 points behind countryman Rosberg.