Daniel Ricciardo announced on Friday that he will leave Aston Martin Red Bull Racing at the end of the season after signing a multi-year contract with the Renault Sport F1 Team to partner Nico Hulkenberg.
The news of Ricciardo’s impending arrival at Enstone means that Carlos Sainz will return to the Red Bull stable and is now an option for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing to partner Max Verstappen however the pair were partners at Toro Rosso before Verstappen was promoted ahead of the Spaniard so it is unlikely that he would want to join the Milton Keynes based outfit.
It is also unlikely that he will return to Toro Rosso. Sainz has been linked with a move to McLaren who are powered by Renault to replace IndyCar bond Fernando Alonso, Paddock Eye understands that McLaren have offered Sainz a long term contract to join the Woking based outfit and he has plenty of experience with Renault power with the works team and with Toro Rosso.
That leaves Pierre Gasly or Brendon Hartley as the only other Red Bull F1 junior drivers who could be in line for the drive as it is unlikely the company will promote a driver directly from a junior formula to a full-time F1 drive.
Pierre Gasly is the most logical replacement, he is currently in 13th place in the drivers championship on 26 points.