Daniel Ricciardo is into his fourth season with Red Bull but hasn’t yet had the equipment under him to challenge for a championship. Sure, he’s put in plenty of brilliant drives and notched up a few wins, but he’s at the stage of his career where he feels ready to achieve more.
The 2017 regulations should have been the ideal time for Red Bull to leap across the gap to to the front and re-establish itself as a front-running team, but for much of the year there’s been a small but significant gap from Red Bull to Mercedes and Ferrari.
Ricciardo is out of contract with the team at the end of 2018 and is pretty high up on the shopping list of both Mercedes and Ferrari. He’s growing impatient with his current situation though, and in an interview with Motorsport.com said how desperate he is to win a title.
“I went through that impatient phase for sure, and I am still bordering that – because I don’t want to leave F1 without a championship. At least right now, I still believe I can do that absolutely. I am looking for it – sooner rather than later. I thought we would be in with a really good shot this year, but it hasn’t turned out like that. We have still managed to get podiums but we haven’t realistically been in the championship hunt so it really needs to happen with Red Bull next year – at least from my point of view.
He said that as much as he’d like to win a championship with Red Bull, the team needs to do a better job in 2018 to convince him that it would be possible, otherwise he’s going to look elsewhere.
“I’ve been here for quite a few years now and I think next year we need to make a bigger step next year than we did this year, to really convince me that I can win with them.
“Do I want to win with them? Absolutely. I think that would complete the story as well. Seb [Vettel] got to complete it – he is the only guy. So my heart would love to. But we will see. I want an opportunity to be able to win week in and week out, while I believe I am still at the top. I think whatever I choose to do next, let’s say I have got decisions to make once my Red Bull contract is up.
Despite the potential uncertainty surrounding his future Ricciardo said that he was enjoying having some freedom over his career:
“It is the first time in my professional career that I’ve been a free agent – it is something I’ve never really had before. I’ve been with Red Bull since the start and it has been awesome and all that.
“But it is up to them as well if they would want to continue, and then it is a decision where I think it will be best. The next contract I sign, whether it is an extension or a new one, it is unlikely to be for just one year, it is probably three years. So that is a big part of the next step in my career.
All images (C) Red Bull Content Pool