Daniel Ricciardo has a contract with Red Bull until the end of 2018. However, Dr. Helmut Marko has admitted that they are looking at alternatives for the 2019 season. The Aussie has been dropping hints at a potential move in 2019. Marko said “Verstappen has a longer contract. But Ricciardo is already on the market. We have to look for alternatives. We will not be unprepared.” So who can be Daniel Ricciardo’s replacement for the 2019 season?
Who Can Replace Daniel Ricciardo?
Although Carlos Sainz is joining Renault next season, It is understood that Red Bull are simply loaning him to the French marquee. Red Bull do have an option of taking him back into the family, should Daniel jump ship. Sainz Jr was partnered by Pierre Gasly for Malaysia and is expected to join the Italian team next year.
Marko said “In Q1 he was only one and a half tenths from Sainz. And even in the race, when he was running alone, the laptimes were at Sainz’s level.” Gasly is only expected to race until Suzuka for now. Red Bull will be giving a statement in Suzuka about the Frenchman’s future plans.
Marko insisted that Red Bull’s slow start does not happen again. He revealed that there is a new procedure in the wind tunnel and they are still developing the 2017 car.
The paddock is now expecting the Red Bull-Renault split at the end of next year. Their only option is a speculated move to Honda for 2019.
Marko said that the Honda deal is not distracting them at all. They are fully committed to working on the current car and 2018. He cited McLaren’s recent surge to back up their decision to choose Honda.
Looking Ahead to Japan
The F1 circus is now heading to Suzuka this weekend for the next race. Mercedes should be quite strong. Even Ferrari will put behind their 2 poor races to bounce back. Red Bull are also on an upward swing.