“On the market”: What are the odds of F1 star Daniel Ricciardo moving on?
Red Bull Racing
Posted By: Editor   |  05 Oct 2017   |  9:36 am GMT  |  335 comments

Red Bull Racing front runner Daniel Ricciardo has confirmed that he is “on the market” for a 2019 Formula 1 seat after team director Helmut Marko surprised F1 by stating that Red Bull is seeking alternatives.

Marko said on Tuesday that while Max Verstappen has a contract, “Ricciardo is on the market. We must certainly look for alternatives. We will not be caught off guard.”

During the Thursday FIA press conference preceding the Japanese F1 Grand Prix, Ricciardo addressed Marko’s comments and said, “The only thing I’m aware of is that my contract ends next year. I guess he’s referencing that, he’s not referencing it for next year.

“I’m 99.9% sure I’ve got a seat with Red Bull Racing next year! Nothing’s been said between us about next year.

“I don’t think he has a plan beyond ’18, I should be racing next year. He wasn’t too disappointed after Malaysia, I think I’m still OK,” he joked. Ricciardo finished third in Malaysia, behind Lewis Hamilton and team-mate Verstappen.”

When asked about Red Bull’s slow start to the season, and whether a repeat would cause Ricciardo to jump ship, he replied, “It’s certainly a plan, it has been.

“I still don’t really know why [during] the last few years we’ve had slow starts and found a way to come back, so I guess the idea is that so there’s not many changes for next year…we hopefully start stronger.

“That’s the plan, that’s the wish, we go from there. For sure if next year’s not competitive at all that’ll be addressed. From where we are now, next year we should be competitive, hopefully as competitive as we can be.”

Ricciardo was many F1 insiders’ choice for Driver of the Year last season and this year he has again been exceptional in races, picking up podiums and even a win against the odds. He would walk into most F1 teams based on his race craft and consistency and it would be entirely normal if his representative had spoken to other top teams during another less than ideal season for the Red Bull team. Marko may not appreciate that.

However there is getting away from the fact that 11 times already he has been out qualified by teammate Max Verstappen; this has elevated the Dutchman and one senses that he is the ace that Red Bull will move heaven and earth to hold onto.

Both drivers are targets for Mercedes and Red Bull, while Renault know that if Ricciardo moves, Carlos Sainz would be pulled back into Red Bull, while Ricciardo would also be a target for McLaren.

So what are the likelihoods as things stand, on a scale of one to ten?

Stay at Red Bull – 5
From Ricciardo’s point of view this depends very much on the engine that the team will be using in 2019. If it is Honda and that motor hasn’t improved significantly by June, he will be looking to move. He also knows that long term he needs to get away from Verstappen as if the Dutchman is starting ahead on the grid, with experience, he is likely to hook it up and finish ahead in races on a consistent basis too.

Ricciardo wants to be world champion and he certainly has the tools to do it, but he will need a different car from Verstappen to achieve it. If Verstappen moves first, to Mercedes or Ferrari, then staying is an option.

Ferrari – 6
Again this depends on other factors, the main one being Sergio Marchionne’s belief in lead driver Sebastian Vettel. The German did really well in 2015 then last year things got frayed. This year he started really well and has had the car Ferrari has been waiting for for years, but critical points have slipped away in avoidable situations like Baku and Singapore.

Ricciardo beat Vettel fair and square in 2014 at Red Bull, would he do so again at Ferrari and how would Vettel react if Marchionne moved for him? Marko’s comments look to me like a ‘hands-off’ warning to Marchionne that he cannot have Verstappen, who would probably be the Italian’s first choice.

Mercedes – 7
Ricciardo would fit in very well alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2019, especially if Hamilton is a four times or even five times champion by then. Hamilton’s contract also expires at the end of 2018 so if he decided not to continue, or Ferrari switched Vettel for him, then Ricciardo would fit in well there too, possibly alongside Esteban Ocon.

Toto Wolff certainly has an eye on Verstappen too, but the warning from Marko extends to both suitors.

McLaren – 5
Ricciardo has a good relationship with McLaren executive director Zak Brown and the team will be looking beyond Fernando Alonso at the end of next season.

McLaren will have the Renault engine as a customer and Ricciardo would prefer to get a works seat, but by 2019 the engines are likely to have converged on performance to a large extent, as happened in the V8 era. But still McLaren will be at a slight disadvantage there. They are unlikely to be the team Porsche aligns with if it comes in as an engine supplier in 2021 as they are a direct competitor in the luxury car market. So Ricciardo would want to know what the long term engine plan was.

Renault – 5
A works drive in 2019 in a team that targets improvement by then and aims to challenge for wins and titles thereafter. The timing could be good for a move to this team and Sainz is on a piece of elastic to Red Bull if they lose either of their stars, so it could be a swap.

It’s possible, Ricciardo certainly knows Renault well and they know him. But it might not be his first choice and it would depend on Ricciardo’s belief in Cyril Abiteboul as a team principal.

Do you think Daniel Ricciardo will leave Red Bull at the end of 2018? Leave your comments in the section below

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Jacques of Lilydale

RBR need to put the genie back in the bottle. Max ver Crashtappen is not a fast learner, ignores instructions and treats his Adrian Newey creation like a pin ball. Bad management by the pit wall, a la Christian Horner, in not pulling the crashmeister to heel after he banged wheels with Ricciardo after the first overtake ensured that this crash was inevitable. Ricciardo can race clean with pretty much everyone out there, Max just wants to bounce off them. Pretty gutless no call by Horner sealed RBR’s fate, blind Freddy could see this was not going to end well. Ridiculous state of affairs at RBR, their best driver is now going somewhere else.


Between Ric firing off few comments this year about needing the WDC in near immediate sense, and his “never will be a #2 driver in any team” firm condition (to Merc & Fer obviously) few weeks ago, I think his mind is set on leaving RBR after 2018.
Also in play is potential Honda for 2019. If Ren stays & improves or Honda get their act together and improves, Fer & Merc would have for sure still improved as well.
So Ric I think is over that RBR trying to catch the tail of the other 2 teams, many years of been there, done that, he wants the winning car and 2019 can not come soon enough.
So Marko comments are in fact, giving Ric the green light to go and “court”.
So out of 10, I’d give staying in RBR a 2.
Where to?, I’d say Ferrari 8 out of 10. Vet is likely on a very short leach; now got the car, and almost lost 2017 WDC, so if not hammering down in 2018, his veto, if he has one, won’t matter to Ferrari much anyway. They are desperate for winning now both WCC & WDC (in that order), and Rai will not help with that, esp with Vet being volatile here and there.
As for Ver, both Merc & Fer want him, but he is a difficult teammate, it is only Ric that smoothed their partnership this 2 years, and that is something I do not think Ham or Vet are capable of, especially if Ves wins more than them.


Hi Rafa, although i agree with most you say, in particular DR moving to the Italians for the 2019 season, i’m a bit puzzled why you say MV is a difficult teammate? I don’t know the young chap, but from what i see, he seems amicable and humble (albeit very very ambitious..)? I admit more people seem to think he’s a little arrogant snotnose, though it is hard to see where that comes from. Anybody?


Mercedes 2019 its the most like option, but I really wish he can win his first WDC with RedBull, I would like to see him on MClaren-Honda if that ever comes back…

I don’t know, VER is starting to get his act together, so, if RBR actually is a contender next year, will be a tough season for RIC, even if he doesn’t win to VER, hope they can manage to have a nice fight and RIC be able to handle it…

in 2019 one of them is going to make the move for sure… both are WDC material, RIC need to be in different car or will end being a Webber :S


As they say “blood is thicker than water” so i reckon that Riccardio will end up at Ferrari

The Grape Unwashed

The thing about Ricciardo is that he can move anywhere: he’s proved his can work alongside Vettel and Verstappen and give both a really hard time, without trying to disrupt their place in the team.

I don’t believe he’s in the very first rank, but teams really ought to be champing at the bit to hire him, because he’s at about Jenson Button’s level – good enough to win a WDC, but amenable enough to work with faster teammates.

Ferrari NEEDS this guy, but (and perhaps for that very reason) Mercedes ought to hire him – as good as Bottas is, Ricciardo looks the better driver. If Mercedes does get Ricciardo then Ferrari ought to consider Bottas, he’s already faster than Raikkonen.

The one thing Ricciardo should NOT do is stay with Red Bull, they’re about to lose Renault so who knows what they’ll do next – they might not even be in F1 in a couple of years. Even if they do stay, there’s a good chance they’ll be poor.

Ricciardo Aficionado

Who knows where he’ll go? One thing i do know is that three teams can’t have Verstappen so theres gotta be a lot of choices for the second choice. Id go with whoever offers a seat. Merc / Ferrari is a 50/50 bet for the near future. He could beat either ham or vet with = machinery. That is based on max being the giant killer whod have at least 2/10ths on ham/vet and ric is within that, soooo…
Funny how everyone is waiting for max to mature when visibly its danny who has to grow up. First thing, get a haircut. Its no good. Id go a crew cut if i was him and id stop smiling so much. No more stupid jokes either. Say something really wise ass or just answer the question. I only mention these criticisms because im aware DR has the ability to make that next step in personal development. Hes got a very good basis to his persona and once he matures he is going to be an exceptional character. So yeah at 26(or whatever) id start to tone it down a bit. Dont stop dancing though! If you really want to live you gotta dance to some macking tune at least once a day.
His driving is sublime and he’ll do very well at Mercedes where hes going because RB will be less afraid of Ferrari having max and stalling his career than losing him to merc and enduring six more straight titles to the silver arrows.


MV to pull performance clause and go to Mercedes. Mercedes extract maximum $ from sponsors with LH plus MV. Watertight contract used to extract maximum compensation for RB giving up MV. DR to stick with RB Honda. Honda to return to glory days courtesy of extra $100m to spend on PU development. TR Honda scores more points than McL Renault. FA shows that complete drivers manage to be with the right team at the right time.


Well if they don’t do good next year. In 2019 they could be looking for two drivers. Max has an out clause in his contract IF they don’t do well next year. What is “do well” mean? That I don’t know but I am sure they will all be trying like hell next year. Gonna be the big story for next year.


What makes a super driver is how he performs in an inferior car but with the full support of the team. Taking Michael in his early benneton and ferrari days, kimi in his lotus days and now max in his RB.
For sure vettel and lewis are great drivers, winning WDC in a top package still requires extraordinaries. Nico on the other hand showed his full potential too as he did not have the full support of his team.


“When asked about Red Bull’s slow start to the season, and whether a repeat would cause Ricciardo to jump ship, he replied, “It’s certainly a plan, it has been.” That’s gibberish. Quotes that don’t make sense need to be edited as well.


I’d like to see him at Ferrari, putting the screws to Seb again.


I would like to see Ric at Ferrari. Surely with his Italian heritage he would be welcomed by the Tifosi. Also he is a calm head who has a proven track record to work with Vettel. I think that his mature decisions on the track compensate for any perceived slight raw talent advantage Max has.
If Max went to Ferrari there would certainly be fireworks. Anyway regardless of contract Max will move to Mercedes or Ferrari if red bull don’t have a competitive engine for 2019. So Ric for Ferrari from a biased Aussie.


well if Red Bull has a competitive engine, why would Ricciardo leave the team? Horner stated, that he really likes his drivers pair. And frankly I think there is a very good chemistry between the drivers. But I have trouble with the fanbase of Ricciardo. A lot of Dutchies, really like Ricciardo and like him to win races as well. But the Aussies as you call yourself are so biased… that they really think he can beat Hamilton at Mercedes. Well Max can do that, Ricciardo not… I think that’s the truth and I think a lot of team bosses share my opinion…


I don’t understand why drivers are often so vocal about looking around for another drive. Would seem to make sense to keep quiet and not risk burning bridges as I’m sure they can make their availability aware through other channels compared to openly advertising themselves in the media.


This whole discussion was started by Marko, not Ricciardo, all the driver did was to answer earnestly about his current contract situation and outlook – when asked for a reaction to that comment from RB’s adviser.


Hi guys, now given that my daughter and I are Ricciardo fans, I’m delighted to read so many positive posts hoping for a faster future for him. My daughter actually calls him Avocado, and at 9 years of age she is aloud to stay up and watch F1 when its on free to air, we think he is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise predictable palet of driver personalities. But she also likes Max, especially after he made a sincere apology for taking Ric off. We think that showed character. My money is on Ric moving to Ferrari when, after next year they come to terms with having the right car but not the right drivers. Lucia’s crystal ball says Vettel will not win another WDC.
And James, how about the occasional article about women in F1.


@ Lucia…nice post…welcome to the vipers pit. hahaha


Definitely he will leave. I think he should. I would say he is the best driver in the grid atm. Yes doesn’t qualify well but he keeps the car intact in Quay and also takes care of his engine n his machinery better than max. That’s probably why he has less dnf when compared to max.


Just changing the subject. Now that new footage has emerged from Stroll’s car after his coming together with Herr Vettel, showing without doubt that Stroll is the innocent party, surely this end of race incident should be be fully sorted.
1) The collision between the 2 drivers.
2) Vettel removing his steering wheel, not leaving it in the the car as required.
3) Vettel hitching a ride on the side pod of another competitor.
I believe all of these are against regulations and Vettel should be held to account.
Or maybe not, after all it is Mr. Teflon and his equally slippery team involved.


James, why is Marko doing this statement in your opinion?


This year if anything has established Max as a quicker driver even though the points might say a different story. We also know that Daniel is extremely good but he can’t afford to wait till next year to decide his future – his value might stop dropping if Max starts to finish races!! My gut says that he has already signed the pre agreement with either Ferrari or Merc…


Sidebar James…who is Daniels manager? Has he got what it takes to keep all the balls in the air and catch the right one? As a non-european, it’s a lot hard commercially to sell your product?


To be fair, marks stating Ric is on the market is an indication they know teams are chasing him and they don’t want to be left in a compromise if he is snapped up. I certainly don’t see it as an indication they wouldn’t dearly love to keep him. He has performed well above the quality of the car and his team mate and yet doesn’t put himself on the primadonna pedestal like many other top drivers. Why wouldn’t you want him in your team?


If Ham is 5 times champ by 2020. He will either leave the sport or join Ferrari if offered a drive (to further try and cement his legacy).

Of course I could be completely wrong but that’s part of the fun of guessing the future 🙂


If he is 5 times champ, he will go to whichever team has the best car and try to match Schumacher’s record.


It looks pretty simple to me.Kimi gone in 19 retired and Ricc moves in.What was so hard about that?Seb is there or not will not matter.


well, by putting this alternative thing into press Dr. Helmet, i guess, want’s to see what MERC and FER are ready to pay to get RIC so he can suss what he can ask for VES. If Merc is fully serious for long therm i’d see 2019 HAM, RIC and 2020 RIC, VES in Merc given HAM gracefully retires and passes the winning torch to RIC, all parties could extract enormous PR from such fairy tale scenario


Head to America win the Indy car championship go to Le Mans and win that. Don’t think Marko can handle a Aussie for more than a few years.


Please provide scores out of 10 for Ricciardo going to Haas, Sauber, Force India, Williams, and Toro Rosso, or this article is just fake news.

Kamiel from Piquet to Hakkinen.

Although I only ‘know’ DR from his media appearance he doesn’t strike me as a ‘roll-over and run’ type of guy. If it is up to him I see him challenge MV and I do think he doesn’t see MV as being the top seat at RBR at all.
As for team support, that is a different story. If DR feels and experiences he is out of equal support he will be looking for a winning car after 2018. And there’s where the guessing starts. Honda to supply RBR as a works team will be a different dynamic then Honda had the last year’s. I can see DR want to stick to that to see how pu security for RBR will play out.
If the support for DR at RBR will dry out the logical team for DR to look for seems te be Ferarri and DR ( I can’t see Vettel with MV). But many factors in play (performance of Honda at TR, Bottas at Merc, Kimi retiring or not, McLaren moving up, MV free to go e.a.) it’s to early to make sense of it all.

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