Red Bull issues cagey Ricciardo threat
MOTORSPORT: Danial Ricciardo wants to make sure the next deal he signs gives him the best possible chance of winning a world championship, but as much as Red Bull wants to keep its star, the team won't let him dictate terms forever.
The likeable Aussie comes off contract at the end of 2018 and has previously said he will take as long as he needs before deciding to recommit to Red Bull or switch teams.
Frustrated at having the talent but not always the car to challenge for a title, he won't be rushed into signing the most important deal of his career.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner wants to keep the 28-year-old at the energy drink team but warned the outfit would not "wait around forever" to accommodate Ricciardo's decision-making process.
"I think Daniel knows what our strengths are and hopefully we'll be in a reasonable position," Horner told Racer.
"I think he's at a stage in his career where he's wanting to evaluate all of his options, which you can understand. The problem is we won't wait around forever and we've got some very good options available to us, but our priority is to try and ensure we find a solution with Daniel."
Horner admitted Ricciardo had been frustrated by Red Bull's four-wheelers not being able to match the performance of Ferrari or Mercedes over an entire season, and believes how the team's engine stacks up in 2018 will play a big part in what he decides to do.
"I get the impression he'll want to see relative engine performances next year. He's had four years of frustration on that side of things, so I can understand him wanting to see how things are panning out," Horner said.
Ricciardo's Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen recently signed a contract extension that will keep him at the Milton-Keynes based outfit until the end of 2020, which has added a spanner in the works to Ricciardo's future plans.
The team hasn't designated a No. 1 driver but Ricciardo would be loathe to see any favouritism shown towards the young Dutchman, and any hint the team is prioritising Verstappen may convince him to jump ship.
"The peak years of my career are probably the next deal I'll sign," Ricciardo said last month. "I want to make sure I maximise that with my driving ability."