Daniel Ricciardo’s future in F1 has been a massive source of discussion this season, especially after the way he has competed in 2018, keeping Verstappen under his shadow and giving Vettel and Hamilton a run for their money.
Ricciardo is in the final year of his contract with Red Bull and thus the rumour mill has been churning around the possible destinations for Ricciardo from the 2019 season.
Ferrari and Mercedes emerged as obvious alternatives, but with their top drivers already sealed, it seems unlikely that those two teams would break the bank to secure the services of the Australian.
Ricciardo had also hinted that he would consider offers from McLaren and Renault as they would present a good challenge in front of him, in taking a midfield team to the top of the charts(something similar to what Lewis Hamilton did with Mercedes).
However, F1 pundits feel that the McLaren/Renault statement was just an attempt to let Red Bull know that he might have other options.
McLaren did offer Ricciardo a bumper $20 million/year deal but according to Ricciardo and Marko’s comments here in Austria, it looks like a deal has already been agreed upon. The duo have agreed that the new deal is getting closer.
“It’s not over yet but it will come. Soon. The time is not far away.” Ricciardo said.
Marko at first said that the deal is in place and only the ‘details’ need to be sorted. He later went onto take a slight dig at Ricciardo’s position in the driver market, where the top teams have their drivers sorted and the midfield teams are not ready to match the salary expectations of Ricciardo.
“Mercedes and Ferrari have a number one driver who is clearly declared,” said Marko.
“I know Ricciardo did not receive an offer from Ferrari.
“Renault will, as far as I know, stay with the current drivers. Above all, I don’t think Renault is playing in the budget regions that Ricciardo has in mind.
“Daniel is in a situation where he has no sporting alternative to us. He probably imagined it differently.
“We want it [to continue with Ricciardo], but not at any price.” he added.