Despite not adding a fifth consecutive world title to its tally in 2014, Red Bull had managed to win three races – all courtesy of Ricciardo – to finish as Mercedes’ nearest challenger.
Thus, the Milton Keynes-based outfit entered the season keen to further cut the gap but ended up sliding behind Ferrari and Williams in the pecking order. Red Bull did claim a trio of podium finishes but failed to taste victory for the first time since 2008.
Coming off a spectacular breakthrough year that saw him beat world champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel, Ricciardo showed several times that he remains a very fine racer. Meanwhile, F1 sophomore Kvyat had a troubled Red Bull debut, due in part to poor reliability, but then developed nicely to claim a maiden podium and finish ahead of the highly-rated Australian in the final standings.
“Neither driver let their chin drop,” Horner said. “The way that they have worked as a pairing this year and the way that they have worked for the team has been excellent – and the way they have worked together. Both have done an excellent job for the team this year.”
Last week-end’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix saw Red Bull bring an end to months of uncertainty by announcing it had secured an engine deal for 2016. While Ricciardio is locked in with a multi-year contract, Kvyat admitted he was still waiting for confirmation of his seat for next season.
Having already claimed that the Russian will not be dropped, Horner insists Kvyat is not going anywhere.
“He is under contract and he will be a Red Bull Racing driver.”
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