Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner says Daniel Ricciardo will not be considered for a race seat at Red Bull before 2025.
After starting this year as Red Bull's reserve driver, Ricciardo found himself back in a race seat at the Hungarian Grand Prix, replacing Nyck de Vries at the Red Bull-owned AlphaTauri team.
Ricciardo has made no secret of his desire to return to Red Bull, for whom he previously raced between 2014 and 2018, and Sergio Perez's relative underperformance alongside Max Verstappen has fuelled speculation that the Australian may be in line to replace him for 2024.
However, with Perez contracted until the end of that year, Horner said any move for Ricciardo would not happen until 2025 at the earliest.
"The reason that Daniel was brought back into the seat is not because he has long-term aspirations to be an AlphaTauri driver for the next five years," Horner told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"He sees it as the quickest route to getting back into a competitive seat, and clearly his objectives are on a 2025 Red Bull Racing seat when we have a vacancy.
"Daniel has an opportunity between now and the end of the year to demonstrate that he hasn't lost his form, and then a decision will be made as to whether he remains in that seat for a further 12 months.
"AlphaTauri drivers have been placed there to develop them as potential Red Bull Racing candidates, and Daniel's very aware of that, and that's his objective, but that wouldn't be before 2025."
AlphaTauri – and its predecessor namesake Toro Rosso – has traditionally been used by Red Bull as a proving ground for the organisation's best young drivers to make their F1 debuts, with the potential for a promotion to Red Bull for outstanding prospects.
Ricciardo was himself promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull, taking seven Grand Prix wins in five years with the drinks-backed outfit.