AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda fears Red Bull could "misunderstand" his position following links to Aston Martin for the future.
The driver situation at Red Bull is currently unclear post-next season with Sergio Perez's form this term unlikely to earn him an extension beyond his current contract.
Next in line for the seat would be either Tsunoda or teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who made a comeback to replace Nyck de Vries after the Dutchman struggled through his 10 races with AlphaTauri.
Whilst form will ultimately decide who goes in alongside Verstappen, Tsunoda's picture is clouded by Honda's upcoming partnership with Aston Martin.
The Japanese manufacturer will be the Silverstone-based outfit's power unit partner from 2026 and, given its backing of Tsunoda through his career thus far, would make him a contender for a seat there.
When asked if he felt that he was in contention for the Red Bull seat, Tsunoda told media, including RacingNews365: "I hope so, to be honest.
"The main thing is I don't want Red Bull to misunderstand that I'm just focusing now on Aston Martin or anything [else].
"I'm with AlphaTauri and I've been with Red Bull since I was 18 years old, so I'm just focusing on performing for Red Bull and not for Aston Martin.
"Hopefully they don't misunderstand those things and really consider my future seriously.
"If I perform well as a driver, hopefully, they are concerned more and obviously, if I didn't, I understand. But if I am able to show my performance, I would like to have the kind of bit more attention."
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Tsunoda: Honda focused on making a successful Japanese driver
On whether Honda's upcoming affiliation with Aston Martin would affect his chances with Red Bull, Tsunoda replied: “If that's the case, I'm not happy with it.
“I don't know how the conversations are going with Honda [between Red Bull], because Honda is still supplying the engine.
“But I think from the Honda side, what they're saying is that as long as I can succeed, as long as a Japanese driver can one day achieve success, they don't care where I go.
“They want a Japanese driver to be successful. Obviously, it would be lucky if we worked together and achieved success, but in the end they don't care about it.
"That's what I really like about Honda; they don't care which team you are at.
"I don't think they're really focusing on Aston Martin or whatever. They are just focusing as a driver, on Yuki Tsunoda himself, and the support to make me a successful driver.”