Red Bull Formula 1 advisor Helmut Marko says that Daniel Ricciardo is putting himself on the 2019 driver market. He is biding his time on a new deal with the team amid links to Mercedes and Ferrari. Red Bull announced on Friday that Max Verstappen had signed a new contract taking him up to 2020. This lead to questions about why Ricciardo was yet to make the same commitment to Red Bull. The Australian said he felt it was “still quite early” to make a decision about his future with Red Bull. His existing contract set to expire at the end of the 2018 season.
Marko said that Red Bull wanted to ensure it had at least one driver locked in beyond the end of 2018. Ricciardo was looking to make himself available and keep his options open. The Austrian said “We started with Max in Formula 1. He had his first victory, and now we want to achieve the championship as the youngest ever Formula 1 driver. Yes, both drivers, Max and Ricciardo, could have been free after ’18 so we tried to secure at least one driver, because Max asked if we could make a deal to 2020. Ricciardo was putting himself on the market. So now we are talking with him.”
They announced that it wanted to build the team around Verstappen moving forward. But Ricciardo stressed he has never felt like a number two to the young Dutchman.
The Aussie said “For sure, as far as media goes, he certainly gets a lot of attention and that – not that I’m trying to take that away, that’s just how it works. He’s broken records for his age and things like that, so rightly so. But yeah, take the media out of it, as far as inside the team, new parts on the car, things like this, there’s always been parity. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a bit of media stuff but not anything internal. That’s fine, I have no concerns with that.”