Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said that he wishes that Daniel Ricciardo will sign an extended contract. He hopes to achieve this before the summer break commences at the end of the month.
Horner had stated that Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton holds the key to the 2019 driver market. Now, the world champion has extended his Mercedes contract for the next two seasons. Also, Valtteri Bottas followed it up with his own contract for 2019. In other words, Mercedes is no longer an option for Ricciardo.
Horner is quite confident that he will be able to land a deal with the Australian driver.
“I think now that Lewis Hamilton’s announcement has been made you’ll see everything run pretty quickly,” he said.
“We’re aiming to have things finalised by the summer break. It will be good to go into the break with everything sorted.”
Horner dismiss suggestions that sealing the deal was just a question of money. Ricciardo had previously stated that he want to be on equal footing to teammate Max Verstappen.
“No, no, we’ve got two great drivers, and they both contribute exceptionally well to the team. We’re very keen to retain the same line-up for the future.”
It is interesting to note that neither Mercedes driver is committed beyond 2020. One would estimate that is because the sport will be entering a new era at that time. There will be revised commercial arrangements between teams and the F1 organisation. But they are some way from being finalised.
“Nobody’s got a contract past 2020 at the moment,” said Horner. “Hopefully that situation [the commercial deals] will start to get resolved in the next six to nine months.”
Ricciardo said: “Depends, depends. I think with all the changes I wouldn’t want to go too long-term.
“So yeah, not too long. Three’s a lot. Maybe I’m on a beach somewhere in three.”