Spielberg - In
demand Daniel Ricciardo is close to signing a new two-year contract
with Red Bull and commit to continuing his partnership with Max
Verstappen in a new Honda-powered era for the team.
Australian Ricciardo, winner of seven Grands Prix with Red Bull, told
reporters this week that he expected to confirm a new deal "soon".
Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko said he felt that it was "getting closer."
Ricciardo said: "It's not over yet, but it will come... Soon. The time is not far away."
Ricciardo, 28, is out of contract at the end of this year and has been reviewing his options including Ferrari and Mercedes.
Those options appear to be unlikely, however, as Ferrari are strongly
linked with a possible move to sign Monegasque Charles Leclerc as a
replacement for Finn Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes are expected to retain
an unchanged line-up for 2019.
Marko said the new contract with Ricciardo was dependent only on
"details" and added that he felt the driver was not in a strong
bargaining position in the current market.
With Ferrari and Mercedes ranked as unlikely destinations, the
Australian's best alternatives appeared to be McLaren or Renault, but
both cannot match Red Bull in terms of competitive performance.
"Mercedes and Ferrari both have a number one driver who is clearly
declared," said Marko. "I know Ricciardo did not receive an offer
from Ferrari and Renault, as far as I know, will stay with their current
"Above all, Renault I don't think are in the budget region that
Ricciardo has in mind. He has no sporting alternative to us, even if he
probably imagined it differently.
"We want him, to continue, but not at any price."