GUNNING FOR THE BIG TEAMS: Sergio Perez is a man on a charge and has his sights on a big team for 2017. Image: AFP / Mark Thompson
Austria - Red Bull has put the lid on its Formula 1 driver line-up for 2017, only leaving the future of Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat slightly ajar.
It follows the latest rumours about Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz, and suggestions either of them might be in the running to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said: "We read the rumours too, but our drivers aren't available. I guess if you're Ferrari you have got a dilemma."
Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne this week told La Gazzetta dello Sport that Raikkonen needs to push hard to retain his seat for 2017.
Marchionne warned: "There will come a day when even I will leave."
No Ferrari contacted
But at a media event at the Red Bull company's Austrian base, Dr Helmut Marko announced that both Australian Ricciardo and Toro Rosso's Sainz have definitely been contractually retained by the energy drink brand.
As for Ferrari, he said: "Neither Ricciardo nor Sainz were contacted directly by Ferrari."
READ: Ferrari can have Perez, Sainz but at a price
Red Bull is only leaving Russian Kvyat's future slightly unclear, although Marko said: "He has recovered and is showing improving form."
GP2 star Pierre Gasly has been linked with Kvyat's seat for 2017, but Horner insisted: "There isn't an obvious (alternative) candidate knocking on the door at the moment."
So what about that potentially-vacant Ferrari seat? Marko thinks Sergio Perez is obviously gunning for it.
Marko said: "Since he knows that a Ferrari seat is potentially vacant, he is on the gas like never before."
READ: F1's big teams eyeing Perez for 2017?
But Force India supremo Vijay Mallya has told The Times this week that Mexican Perez is under contract for 2017.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, in turn, told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera when asked about the Ferrari vacancy: "Between (Valtteri) Bottas and (Romain) Grosjean, I would choose Bottas."
Wolff is involved in management of Bottas' f1 career.