Daniil Kvyat looks likely to remain at Toro Rosso for another year, with Christian Horner predicting his contract will be extended in the "relatively near future".
The future of Kvyat's current Toro Rosso teammate Carlos Sainz came under scrutiny over the Austrian Grand Prix weekend when the Spaniard claimed it is "unlikely" he will spend a fourth year with the team. Senior management reacted angrily to the claim and insisted the option for 2018 has already been triggered, meaning he is already contracted for another season.
"He has the same contract effectively as Carlos," Red Bull boss Christian Horner said about Kvyat's situation.
When asked if the option had been taken up, he replied: "Not yet. I can't see a scenario where it won't. He's actually driven a pretty sensible season so far, the likelihood it will be taken up in the relatively near future."
It means current Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly faces another year outside of Formula One despite winning the 2016 GP2 championship. The Frenchman has been driving in Super Formula this season.
With Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo each staying for at least one more year at Red Bull, it looks unlikely Sainz or Kvyat will be able to force their way into the senior team. At the end of his media session in Spielberg, Horner went on to clarify the Sainz situation, sugggesting the misunderstanding had been resolved before both parties left the Red Bull Ring.
"We had a sensible chat about it. He knows the option has been taken on his contract to be nominated as a Toro Rosso driver for next year."