After some speculation, Sky Sports has reported that Daniel Ricciardo has confirmed his contract keeps him with Red Bull Racing until 2018. The Australian driver has been an important figure in Red Bull since his 2014 debut with the team. However, with the team’s recent issues, the news regarding Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo contract raises many questions.
Daniel Ricciardo Contract Length: the Right or Wrong Choice?
Daniel Ricciardo maintained that Red Bull is “the best place to be“. This is in stark contrast with his comments in recent weeks. After the Monaco Grand Prix, in which his pit crew infamously forgot his replacement tyres on a stop, Ricciardo said: “Those tyres should have been ready. I’ve been screwed two weekends in a row and it sucks“. Concerning the team’s decision to pit: “It was the team’s call. I told them after the race that nothing they can say will make me feel better“. These do not appear to be the words of a man who is about to sign a contract extension with the team in question. Ricciardo also questioned team orders that had him finishing fourth in Catalunya, a race in which his young teammate Max Verstappen would win.
After the Canadian Grand Prix, Ricciardo made it clear that “The only interest l have is with a world title“. This implied a desire to seek a team that has the ability to win the world championship. If that is the case, then Red Bull seemed like they were about to have another driver vacancy at the end of this season. However, with his new stance on Red Bull’s chances for 2017, Ricciardo is obviously eager enough to remain until 2018. Currently, the team most likely to challenge Mercedes for a title is Ferrari. With Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen‘s contract running out at the end of 2016, there is an obvious vacancy. Ricciardo’s former teammate and current Ferrari driver Sebastien Vettel has no objections to the possibility of rekindling that partnership.
With complaints concerning Red Bull’s performance and an open seat at the red-hot Ferrari, why the new faith in the team? Primarily, Ricciardo is optimistic about Red Bull’s approach to the new rules package in 2017. Concerning this change, Ricciardo says “With the rules next year, l think it’s going to be a strong fit“. This optimism for the future is a fresh take concerning the recent dominance of Mercedes. Ricciardo appears ready to move forward rather than dwell on recent shortcomings. Red Bull is showing considerable growth in 2016. With a victory in Verstappen and strong prospects in Toro Rosso with Carlos Sainz, Red Bull’s future is bright. Especially bright considering they are experiencing success that was expected only of Ferrari.
Ultimately, Formula 1 is subject to many changes every season. With the new 2017 rules package still a season away, there are no guarantees. Sure, Daniel Ricciardo could replace Raikkonen at Ferrari, but that’s based on 2016. Regardless, Red Bull has surpassed Ferrari this year in many ways. Although many clamour for another Ricciardo – Vettel dream team, the decision is made. Despite the uncertainty of the coming years, Ricciardo seems confident in the team’s future. That confidence is of the utmost importance when it comes to returning these race teams to their former glory. Ricciardo’s trust in his team and hunger for a title are all we have to assume that Red Bull will be successful in the future.
Although there were threats of his trying to get out of this contract, we have confirmation. Expect to see Ricciardo in his rightful place as Red Bull’s main driver until 2018.