Australian Formula One star Daniel Ricciardo could already be on the lookout for a new team if comments from his boss at Red Bull are anything to go by.
Helmut Marko admitted to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that the future of his Red Bull team revolved around Ricciardo's teammate, Max Verstappen.
More concerning for the Aussie star, who just achieved his eighth podium of the season with a third-placed finish in Malaysia, his team are already planning for life without him.
"Verstappen has a longer contract," Marko said.
Verstappen and Ricciardo finished first and third in Malaysia. Pic: Getty
"But Ricciardo is already on the market. We have to look for alternatives. We will not be unprepared."
Marko's comments suggest Ricciardo may already be fielding offers from rival teams for 2019, with a move before that appearing unlikely.
20-year-old Verstappen is widely regarded as one of the brightest prospects in F1, highlighted by his recent win at the Malaysian GP.
The Dutchman lies sixth in the drivers' championship standings in a campaign marred by seven retirements, with 28-year-old Ricciardo sitting fourth.
However, Red Bull's language clearly indicates that the younger Verstappen is more crucial to their future plans.
Ricciardo demonstrated there was a healthy rivalry between the pair after Red Bull's impressive showing in Malaysia, with a cheeky dig at his teammate in the post-race press conference.
Ricciardo's antics were in full swing. Image: F1
Ricciardo firstly decided to poor some water over Verstappen's head mid-question, before later putting his finger next to the Belgian driver's head while he was talking.
As you can see in the video above, a media member tries to get Ricciardo to stop, but there's no stopping the cheeky Aussie.
Ricciardo's podium finish in Malaysia was his eighth in a season highlighted by his victory in Azerbaijan.
His efforts in Malaysia come after he had rivals Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas cracking up after 'letting rip' in a press conference after the Singapore Grand Prix.
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Despite being unable to seal an eighth win of the season, second-placed Lewis Hamilton still opened up his gap at the top of the championship over nearest rival Sebastian Vettel, who couldn't haul in Ricciardo and had to settle for fourth.