Past success means nothing in the ever-evolving world of Formula One. So if Red Bull Racing whats to hang on to Daniel Ricciardo after his contract expires, it needs to return to the front of the grid quickly.
Ricciardo recently revealed that whether he re-signs with Red Bull will be contingent upon his faith in the team to provide him with a car that can contend for the world championship, according to Motorsport.com. His current deal runs through the 2018 season, after which point he will become a free agent for the first time in his career.
When Ricciardo made the jump from Scuderia Toro Rosso to Red Bull in 2014, the Milton Keynes, England-based team was coming off its fourth-consecutive driver and constructor titles. In the three years since, however, Red Bull finished P2, P3 and P2, respectively, in the standings — and currently sits P3 behind Scuderia Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG Petronas.
“I’ve been here for quite a few years now and I think next year we need to make a bigger step next year than we did this year, to really convince me that I can win with them,” Ricciardo told Motorsport.com.
Although Red Bull’s performance deficit hasn’t afforded Ricciardo the opportunity to fight for championships, he still was one of just three drivers to win a race between 2014 and 2016 who weren’t named Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg. As a result, the Aussie will be a hot commodity when he hits the free agent market for the first time after the 2018 season.
Considering he will be 29 years old when his deal with Red Bull expires, he knows the decision will be a deciding moment in his career. Ricciardo therefor isn’t taking the decision lightly, though he reportedly admits he would love to win his maiden title with the team that invested in him throughout his time in the junior formulas.
“Do I want to win with them? Absolutely,” Ricciardo said. “I think that would complete the story as well. Seb (Vettel) got to complete it — he is the only guy. So my heart would love to. But we will see.”
Thumbnail photo via Red Bull Racing