Ricciardo sets two-year target for next F1 contract

Daniel Ricciardo says that he’s seeking to negotiate a two-year deal, as he aims to keep his longer-term options in Formula 1 open.

The Chinese Grand Prix race winner wants to be free to review the situation in 2021 when the next big rule change comes in.

“I don’t want to sign anything too long because I don’t know where the sport’s going,” Ricciardo told The Times on Wednesday. “Ideally I’d sign a two-year contract.

“I think two years I can definitely be comfortable with and then see it from there. That third year will be the rule change, so I will probably wait and see what happens then.

“I don’t want to tie myself down for four more years and then I’m like, ‘I don’t want to do this any more.’

“Life is happening pretty fast,” he added. “Each year something might change.”

Ricciardo’s current contract with Red Bull Racing expires at the end of this season. He’s been linked with possible moves to either Ferrari or Mercedes in 2019.

It’s also possible that he will stay where he is. A brilliant win last weekend in Shanghai has certainly raised expectations that Red Bull will want to keep him at Milton Keynes alongside Max Verstappen.

  • Ricciardo: ‘More wins and Red Bull may look attractive for 2019’

However, talks with his current team have yet to begin. “If they want me to race for them they should contact me, but they haven’t,” he said.

Ricciardo reiterated his view that Red Bull needed to prove itself a winning force in Formula 1 if it wanted to retain his services.

“If we win this year then I’m staying with Red Bull. It’s pretty simple. It’s really just about performance at the moment.”

Although victory in China is a step in the right direction, Renault reliability issues are already a concern for the team.

The prospect of costly engine penalties in the second half of the season might push Ricciardo in search of a new berth in 2019.

“We are sure that we will get penalties,” Red Bull official Dr Helmut Marko told Auto Motor und Sport this week. “We just have to make sure they happen on the right track.”

Marko hinted at Red Bull’s frustration with Renault and its boss Cyril Abiteboul, who have put the focus on reliability over performance.

“We are always demanding performance. For Renault, we are as annoying as mosquitoes and we very much challenge the French mentality.”

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