Red Bull won't rush to announce 2025 driver lineup, Horner says

Formula One F1 - Chinese Grand Prix - Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China - April 19, 2024 Red Bull's Max Verstappen and team principal Christian Horner after practice REUTERS/Edgar Su

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Red Bull is not in a rush to announce its driver line-up for 2025, team boss Christian Horner said on Friday ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix, following reports that the champions are in talks with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz.

While three-times world champion Max Verstappen has a long-term contract with Red Bull until the end of 2028, Mexican driver Sergio Perez is only contracted with the team until the end of this year.

Perez told reporters on Thursday that he hoped to be able to announce his plans for next season in the coming weeks, prompting questions at Friday's managers' press conference over whether that meant he would be leaving the Red Bull stable.

The energy drink brand's motorsport consultant Helmut Marko on Thursday told Austria's Kleine Zeitung newspaper that Red Bull had been talking to Sainz about a drive but Audi had made him an offer that the Thai-Austrian company could not match.

"We as a team aren’t in a particular rush. We're in a fortunate position where many drivers would obviously like to drive for the team," Horner told a press conference for team managers ahead of Sunday's Grand Prix.

"We're happy with the pairing we have, we just want to make sure that the level of consistency that (Perez) started with this season is maintained," he added.

Perez has oftentimes struggled to get the same performance out of the Red Bull car as his teammate, who won 19 out of 22 races last season.

He currently sits second in the championship, 13 points behind his teammate but only nine points ahead of Sainz, who missed an opportunity to score at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after contracting appendicitis.

Horner said on Friday that: "it's only natural that there's going to be significant interest (around Sainz), and I'm sure Audi would be foolish not to consider a driver of his quality."

(Reporting by Joe Cash; Editing by Sharon Singleton)

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