Daniel Ricciardo is believed to have extended his contract with Red Bull until 2018, after backing the team to challenge for the F1 title next season.
After blaming the team for the tactical errors which cost him victory in Monaco and Spain, the Australian warned Red Bull at last week’s Canadian GP he would leave the team unless he was convinced they could supply him with a title-winning package.
However, it’s understood that Ricciardo has now put pen to paper on a contract extension which tie him to Red Bull for at leat another two and a half years.
“The contract was always long-term and in a way it was always that length,” Ricciardo til Sky Sports. “But it’s performance based and obviously Helmut and the team are happy with what I am doing and happy with me and Max Verstappen and want to keep us on board.”
With both of his parents of Italian descent, Ricciardo has heavily linked with Ferrari amid widespread expectation the Scuderia will drop Kimi Raikkonen at the end of the year.
But the Australian has opted to stay put after concluding that Red Bull are the best placed of Mercedes’ rivals to forge a title challenge when the sport’s aerodynamic regulations are refreshed at the end of the current campaign.
“At the moment this looks like being the best place to be. If Mercedes don’t make changes, there is nowhere else that looks that attractive. With the rules next year, I think it’s going to be a strong fit and I hope we can really fight for a title in 2017.”
After debuting in F1 with HRT and Toro Rosso, Ricciardo joined Red Bull for 2015 as a a replacement for Mark Webber. He won three races during his maiden season with the team, out-pacing and out-scoring Sebastian Vettel in the process before the German announced he was departing for Ferrari.
Red Bull’s current driver line-up was completed in May when Verstappen was called up to replace Daniil Kvyat.