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- Updated: July 15, 2017
Formula One star Daniel Ricciardo has said that he would rather win a world championship at Red Bull than trade places and move to Ferrari, it was reported by The Age.
Ricciardo, who will be out of contract at the end of next season, has been linked with a move to the Italian team given his proven credentials on the circuit and a potential vacancy in the team.
However, he has said that he would like to repay Red Bull’s continued faith in him by winning a world championship with them.
A potential move to Ferrari has periodically made the news ever since the Australian won three races in his first season with RBR in 2014.
Along with his speed and world title-winning potential, he is seen as a good fit with the iconic Italian team because of his heritage.
For Ricciardo, though, the aspiration is not quite like many others on the circuit.
“That’s what I’ve always said and that is the truth,” he told Fairfax Media before the British Grand Prix.
“People say ‘Oh, Ferrari, your Italian background’ and they’ve seen photos of me as a kid in a Ferrari T-shirt. I mean, yeah, that’s all well and good, but up till now – again, no real disrespect [to Ferrari] – Red Bull have been the ones that have given me everything to be here.
“So, at the moment, I owe Red Bull, I don’t owe Ferrari, for example. There’s maybe the Italian heritage, but on paper, I think the satisfaction to win a world title first with Red Bull would be a lot bigger.”
Ricciardo, 28, has another season left on his Red Bull contract. He was promoted from the Toro Rosso junior team to the Austrian frontline unit in 2014 to replace retired fellow Australian Mark Webber and he has no intentions to leave them any time soon.
Ricciardo recently won the Azerbaijan GP and scored his fifth podium finish in a row at last Sunday’s Austrian GP. But, regarding any move, he said it was far too early to speculate at this time.
“It’s certainly too soon,” he said. “I think this year in general is too soon to think about the season after next. I know where I am next year, so it’s put all the energy into that and then see.”
He did, however, admit that he would give it a thought after his deal runs out.
“You’ll make an initial assessment at the start of the next season,” Ricciardo said. “But it’s so weird because if I’d looked at where we were in Melbourne – where I obviously wasn’t happy at all with the performance (early retirement from the race) – and also in pre-season testing, we really were under-achieving a lot.
“So if that was next year, I’d be like ‘Well, yeah, I’ll probably move on’. But now, the way we’re progressing, we always get these like rays of hope, so you need to wait until probably around this time next year to then assess what you want to do.
“By then, you’ll get an idea of who’s going to be strong. But I certainly haven’t thought that far ahead yet.”
Ricciardo expects other teams to start courting him next year, but remained clear about the fact that he can’t take it for granted that he will have front-running choices.
“I think if I was to continue driving well, I would expect interest, for sure,” he said. “You would think that, but you can’t expect it. You never know what people’s agendas are or what they’re thinking.
“I know other teams rate me as a driver, for sure. So if I keep continuing like this, I’m sure I would get interest elsewhere. We’ll see.”
According to the man in question, finishing third at the Austrian Grand Prix behind winner Valterri Bottas and Vettel, and ahead of a charging Hamilton, was an encouraging sign of progress.
“The gap to the front has closed,” he said. “At Barcelona (the Spanish GP in May), I got a third place, same as Austria, but we nearly got lapped and we weren’t in the race. In Austria, we were in the race.
“Sure, Lewis still had more pace than us, but we held him off. We felt like if we can put ourselves in the race, then we can stay in the race and that’s what we did in Austria.”
Although Red Bull’s Renault power unit is still behind those of Mercedes and Ferrari, it is creeping closer while the team has improved the RB13 chassis.
“I think the chassis is certainly working better now,” Ricciardo said. “It’s by no means perfect yet, but it is definitely better, so that’s helping out. And, yeah, we’re getting a bit more power.
“We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now.”
Meanwhile, he rated his best chance of winning again at September’s Singapore GP night race, given the fact that power isn’t so critical on the street circuit there.
“Hopefully, by then, we’re really, genuinely a chance to get onto the top step (win),” Ricciardo said. “I’ve had too many seconds in Singapore the last few years (in 2015/16, plus third in ’14). It’s about time I won there.”