Max Verstappen says he will not be involved in any potential decision-making process regarding who will partner him at Red Bull next season.

Sergio Perez has endured a wretched campaign in the second Red Bull seat and currently sits a sizeable 251 points behind Verstappen with three rounds remaining.

The Mexican, winless since April, has only notched a solitary podium since the break, allowing Lewis Hamilton to close to within 20 points of him in the championship.

Although Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has insisted that Perez retains a contract for next season, Daniel Ricciardo has been touted as a potential replacement.

Having returned to the Red Bull fray this year, Ricciardo, now driving for AlphaTauri, out-qualified Perez before finishing an impressive seventh last weekend in Mexico.

However, Verstappen has distanced himself from questions surrounding who he would prefer to partner, admitting he would be content with either Perez or Ricciardo.

Speaking on Thursday in Brazil, Verstappen said: “I always had a great relationship with Daniel when we were team-mates [2016-18] – and when, of course, we weren’t.

“But at the same time also I have a great relationship with Checo, so I find it a bit unfair to now sit here and say who I would prefer as a team-mate or whatever.

“They have been great team-mates and it’s not up to me at the end of the day to make these kinds of decisions because I’m very focused on my own performance.

“So if it’s Checo next year, then great,” he continued. “I have had a great work and working relationship with him, but also personally, I think he’s a great guy. And if it’s Daniel then also we will get along fine and we’ll have a great time.”

Max Verstappen (NLD), Red Bull Racing and Sergio Perez (MEX), Red Bull Racing 02.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Preparation Day.

After replacing Nyck de Vries at Red Bull’s second-string outfit back in July, Ricciardo’s place at AlphaTauri for 2024 has already been confirmed along with Yuki Tsunoda.

But the Australian, who has admitted he intends to return to the Red Bull seat he vacated in 2018, is adamant his current contract is solely linked to the Faenza squad.

“Obviously all the stuff around my contract next year has been related to AlphaTauri,” he said. “So I would say that’s honestly as far as that goes.”

Ricciardo’s Formula 1 reprieve was curtailed on only his third outing when he sustained a broken bone in his left hand from a practice crash at Zandvoort in late August.

But having been sidelined for five rounds, the eight-time race winner delivered an exceptional weekend in Mexico to scoop AlphaTauri’s best result of the campaign.

“I think for me personally, having a weekend like Mexico is just definitely good for the soul,” Ricciardo addressed. “Also for the team – I haven’t been here long, but for them to be tenth in the Constructors and to jump two places [above Alfa Romeo and Haas] in the space of two weekends was huge.

“So I think that kind of creates a very happy atmosphere around everyone. So I’m kind of happy doing that and try to just keep charging on where I am.”

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