Red Bull says Ricciardo's off limits
MERCEDES is on the hunt for a new partner for Lewis Hamilton after Nico Rosberg's shock retirement - but it seems unlikely to be Australia's Daniel Ricciardo.
Ricciardo had his best season for Red Bull, finishing third behind Rosberg and Hamilton in the Formula One Drivers' Championship.
The 27-year-old is regarded as one of the best talents in the sport alongside 19-year-old teammate Max Verstappen.
But Red Bull boss Christian Horner said both were going nowhere as speculation mounts as to who will replace Rosberg.
"Our drivers are both on long-term contracts,” Horner told the UK Mirror.
Sebastian Vettel has also played down claims he could partner Hamilton at Mercedes in 2017.
Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda said he expected the team to have a replacement for Rosberg before the end of the year.
Another possible replacement is McLaren's Fernando Alonso but like Vettel he is under contract for next year.
"We certainly need a driver for the first test of the new car in February,” Lauda told the BBC.
"But I can assure you it will happen earlier because whoever it is we have to train them on the simulator, train him into the team.”