Red Bull deny approach to Alonso for 2019

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Red Bull bosses and Verstappen both denied the rumours and now Sainz has finally put the speculation to bed after finding a new home for 2019 in McLaren, replacing the departing Fernando Alonso.

He told a news conference ahead of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix that "it was a decision that probably I started thinking about a year ago. So I think our preference is to continue to invest in youth than take a driver who is towards the end of his career". "I just felt part of the routine was causing that".

"To be clear, there was no falling out, no bad blood with anyone in the team, the bosses or anyone".

"That they can influence a guy like Pierre Gasly I can understand, and not a driver like Daniel Ricciardo, and that I respect". By no means was it an easy decision at all and I feel I just got to a point where I felt I was ready for a change. But the more I thought about starting something different and taking on a new challenge, I got excited. "Honestly, there wasn't one key factor other than really myself and wanting to have a change of scenery".

Before the smiles and the Formula 1 team switch, however, Ricciardo said that he had to do a lot of soul searching. "It was not the time for me to join that adventure". "He was a little bit disappointed I was moving on".

"That sounds easy saying it like that, but it wasn't easy".

"If it is a change of scenery, I'm not sure if it's the best scenery to go to", 20-year-old Dutchman Verstappen told reporters.

Red Bull are switching to McLaren's former engine partners Honda next year and Alonso had been strongly critical of the Japanese power units during their time together.

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"Renault can afford pretty much anything", Abiteboul said.

Ricciardo is joining Renault next year, with Frenchman Pierre Gasly announced this week as his successor graduating from Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso.

"I prefer to take my own decision and take new challenges that Formula One can not offer me at the moment".

Marko, who has not yet arrived at the Belgian Grand Prix, added to Red Bull's Servus TV station: "We were negotiating with him in 2007 or 2008".

Ricciardo, who won races in China and Monaco at the start of the current campaign before seeing his championship hopes fade in the races leading into August, said he started to realise this year that he might need a new challenge. "I think Honda is progressing".

I also feel he sees Max growing and growing in terms of speed and strength and he doesn't want to play a support role I guess, for want of better words, said Horner.

"Dr Marko called me first of all to tell me that Daniel was leaving for Renault and that they would be making their decision on the 2019 driver at a later date", Gasly told the Red Bull website.

"I have not suddenly made a representation or promise regarding next year, or what he will get regarding salary".