Daniel Ricciardo says he’s now confident that his new contract with Red Bull will be signed and sealed by the time Formula 1 arrives in Spa for the next Grand Prix of the season.
Having joined Red Bull from Toro Rosso in 2014, Ricciardo’s current deal with the team expires at the end of 2018. With two pole positions and seven victories under his belt, he has been looking around to see what other teams could offer him.
But with Mercedes having extended the contracts of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, and Sebastian Vettel confirmed at Ferrari alongside wither Kimi Raikkonen or Charles Leclerc, the Australian’s options had been narrowing in recent weeks.
Now it seems that he’s reached the conclusion that no one can offer him better prospects of winning a world championship than his current team after all. His team mate Max Verstappen has already extended his stay in Milton Keynes through to 2020.
“It’ll definitely be done by Spa,” Ricciardo told the media in Hungary on Tuesday when asked about the status of his contract negotiations.
“Whether it gets announced over the break or at Spa [I’m not sure], but it’s just a little bit of fine-tuning.
“It’s all good. You will hear something soon I’m sure.”
Ricciardo had previously hinted that the deal would be confirmed before the summer shutdown, but he now admits that this had never really been a serious objective.
“I was just making it up so you guys would stop asking me!”
Red Bull’s decision to move to Honda power units from 2019, ending its 12-year relationship with Renault, has been one of the major factors in Ricciardo’s thinking about his future.
Ricciardo battled his way to fourth place in last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, and was back behind the wheel of the RB14 again at the Hungaroring on Tuesday for a day of in-season testing.
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He was only sixth fastest of the ten cars taking part. But crucially he completed more laps – 125 – than anyone else.
“We did some good work today. There was a lot of long run stuff, a lot of data gathering, and we got through some set-up changes as well, so it was a pretty good day for the team.
“We ran with a lot of rakes and aero parts, so I know we tried a few things, but honestly I’m not too sure of the detail,” he added. “I do know we used some 2019 Pirelli test tyres and that did feel quite different, so we’ll see what comes of that.
“It was a pretty busy day and we got a lot of laps under our belt, so I don’t feel too bad about saying that’s me done for the moment – now it’s holiday time!”
Ricciardo’s place in the cockpit has been taken by simulator driver Jake Dennis on Wednesday.
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