Daniel Ricciardo looks set to extend his contract with Red Bull before the summer break, all but admitting that his options with Ferrari and Mercedes are now closed and revealing that he believes the energy drinks outfit have done their homework with the well-calculated risk of changing engine suppliers.
Amid reports of a big bucks bid from beleaguered McLaren, Ricciardo acknowledged in an interview, “Not every door is closed, but it’s looking more and more likely that the other top teams will probably remain with their lineups.”
“I don’t have the facts on that but you can just kind of read between the lines and you feel that that is probably going to remain.”
As for Ferrari and Mercedes, he reasoned, “Obviously if it wasn’t Red Bull then they are the other two most attractive options, so if they are not possible, then for me now it is hard to be convinced that another option is better than Red Bull. So I’m just making sure that I’m right with my judgments.”
Teammate Max Verstappen last year inked a lucrative deal to remain with Red Bull until the end of 2020, many of the belief that the team are intent on throwing their weight behind the Dutchman as they did with Sebastian Vettel with so much success.
Asked if team status between himself and Max was a problem – for example, the matter of number one or number two in the team – Ricciardo insisted, “I don’t want that. Not that I don’t want that, I don’t need that.”
“Obviously, Max is driving well, but I genuinely think, there have been things every weekend since Monaco, which have just been a bit of a disruption or a bit of bad luck – like the front wing and all that with Paul Ricard, and the DRS at Silverstone.”
The seismic shift within the team, triggered by the decision to ditch race-winning Renault customer engines for yet to be proven Honda power, was closely monitored by Ricciardo and it appears that the Aussie likes what he sees.
The 29-year-old explained his thought process regarding the Honda decision, “I’ve obviously heard the team out more than once and they’ve given me the reasons.”
“The important thing to understand for me why they’ve done it, it can’t just be purely on emotions. Like: It’s gone to shit with Renault, whatever, and we’re doing it because we want to change.”
“They’ve obviously done their homework and they strongly believe that it is a good thing, not just on an emotional decision. They’ve done what they can to try and encourage me to make it happen,” added Ricciardo.