Christian Horner says Red Bull will look outside of its pool of drivers to replace Alex Albon if he fails to earn a new deal.
Albon has endured a disappointing 2020 Formula One season, and sits seventh in the driver standings heading into the Portuguese Grand Prix.
The Thai-British driver has just one podium finish to his name and is under pressure to prove he deserves to retain his seat.
Red Bull boss Horner is eager for Albon to show what he is capable as the team ponder whether to retain him or find a new team-mate for Max Verstappen.
"We want Alex to claim that seat and basically justify that there is no need to look at any other alternative than Alex," said Horner.
"I think everybody in the team wants to see him do that. It felt like in Mugello he was starting to turn the corner and so on.
"He's had a couple of difficult weekends, so he needs to bounce back here I think and particularly Imola with a strong weekend from start to finish. So that's our focus, that's our objective.
"He's a popular member of the team but we need two cars closer together in order to fight the Mercedes, and that's what we've got to do. That's our target."
Horner says Red Bull will not be short of options to replace Albon if they look to make a change.
Quizzed if AlphaTauri duo Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat would be considered, he said: "No. I think AlphaTauri are pretty settled with their drivers.
"As I say, our preference is very much Alex. But if we had a look at a different solution, then obviously we would have to look outside of the Red Bull pool of drivers, simply because there is not one available that we would look to put in.
"There's some quality drivers, obviously, on the market, that could be unemployed for next year."