- Palmer points to teammate that Hamilton would love to have
- Alonso takes a dig at Honda and points to troubles for Toro Rosso
- Hamilton on why Mercedes will triumph in 2018 and it is not due to the W09
- Alonso reveals why he did not quit F1 despite leaning towards exit
- Vettel offers crisp reply to Ferrari critics
- Hamilton’s ‘oompa loompa’ ex-girlfriend reveals champion’s strange toilet demand
- Hamilton helps Mercedes bag sponsorship deal
- Verstappen responds to Wolff’s early season prediction
- Ferrari boss opens door to staying in F1 if Liberty Media follows instruction
- Halo not disturbing drivers’ vision, but glaring problem remains
Ricciardo opens up on ‘most important’ decision of his career
- Updated: January 31, 2018
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo has been reluctant to put an end to speculation surrounding his future at the team, but that is largely because he knows the next contract that he signs will probably be his last chance at winning a world championship.
The team was quick to extend Max Verstappen’s contract amidst speculation that the young Dutchman could find a move to Mercedes or Ferrari lucrative, but have been rather lenient when it comes to Ricciardo.
The Asutralian has been offered the opportunity to assess his options as the end of this season will be a time when many other drivers will come to the end of their contracts, thereby paving the way for a potential change.
At the age of 28, Ricciardo knows that it has to be now or never, with the five-time Grand Prix winner claiming that he is facing the most important decision of his career.
“I’ve still got years in this sport, but I’m not 23/24 anymore,” he told Motorsport.com. “I’m still learning. I don’t feel I’m past my peak.
“The next contract I sign or next extension I do, they are potentially the peak years of my career.
“That next bit of paper I sign could make or break my desire in terms of whether I can fight for a title or not.
“That’s why I’m taking my time, I want to see where everyone is at. Maybe I’ll have more options, maybe I won’t.”
He did, however, clarify that he wanted a long term contract from the team he next signed with.
“I doubt I’ll sign a one-year deal somewhere,” said Ricciardo. “It’s probably going to be a multiple year deal, two or more, so I need to make sure it’s the right place, competitively.”
Ricciardo has been a aprt of Red Bull since he became a professional, and in fact, even raced for them as a junior.
Red Bull chose to place him at tail-ender HRT for his F1 debut in mid-2011, before he was moved across to Toro Rosso – where he spent two seasons prior to his transfer to the senior Red Bull team for ’14.
“I’ve been dealing with (Red Bull motorsport advisor) Helmut Marko for 10 years now. Certainly I feel like part of the family,” Ricciardo added.
“Even in Austria, Tom Uberoll (Red Bull motorsports manager), him as well, since 2008. I’ve still got relationships outside of the Red Bull Racing team, and that’s cool.
“Whether I was to stay at Red Bull the rest of my career, or eventually move on, I would still keep close to a lot of the people within the family.
“It’s been a big part of my life, I’d never walk away from it and think ‘OK, that’s the past’, and completely forget about it.”