Horner: Ricciardo contracted to Red Bull for 2017

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Christian Horner has confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo remains under contract with Red Bull Racing for the 2017 Formula 1 season amid speculation of a possible move to Ferrari.

1980 F1 world champion Alan Jones said last week that Ferrari should drop Kimi Raikkonen for 2017 and sign Ricciardo, linking him back up with former Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel.

Ricciardo remained coy when asked about Jones’ comments in Australia last week, and said he was “not exactly out of contract either”.

Horner said that Ricciardo was correct, confirming that he remains contracted to Red Bull for the 2017 season, but had little more to add.

“He’s under contract, so I think he was pretty accurate with his comment,” Horner said.

“Red Bull invests in these guys at a young age, they develop them, they give them the opportunity through the Junior team and Toro Rosso. Sebastian Vettel was a prime example of that.

“Daniel Ricciardo is doing an excellent job, Dany Kvyat and the two exciting talents we obviously have in Toro Rosso.

“The contractual situation we have with Daniel Ricciardo is extremely clear. How long? That’s confidential.”

The upcoming ‘silly season’ is poised to be one of the most volatile in years, with the majority of drivers on the grid being out of contract.

Ricciardo himself said last month that it would be “badass”, but it seems unlikely that he will be part of it himself in light of Horner’s comments.

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.