Daniel Ricciardo was a Ferrari fan long before his Red Bull team entered Formula One but, despite media speculation, the Australian does not expect to be moving to Maranello anytime soon. The 25-year-old said on Tuesday, at a Red Bull event ahead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix, that his current contract was long-term and “pretty tight“. “If I don’t perform well then they (Red Bull) have the ability to let me go. But if I continue to perform well, it’s in their interests to keep the contract as it is,” he told reporters.
The paddock rumour mill has suggested that Ricciardo, winner of three races last year, is high — if not top of — Ferrari’s wish list as a possible replacement for Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen alongside Sebastian Vettel. Vettel, a four times world champion with Red Bull, was largely eclipsed by Ricciardo when they were team mates last year. Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, is 10 years older than Ricciardo and out of contract at the end of the season although Ferrari have an option to keep him. “I guess I’m not the only name that’s been linked with them.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to be talked about and considered…it’s a compliment,” said Ricciardo. “Whether it moves forward or not, it’s all just talk for now.” Ricciardo said if he were to be in the frame for a move to Ferrari one day, any decision would be driven by results rather than prestige — although his background spoke for itself. “I do have an Italian passport. I’m not going to say ‘No, I wouldn’t like to (drive for Ferrari)’. That’s not fair,” he said. “It’s obviously the history. Growing up as a kid, Red Bull wasn’t really around. When I was three or four years old, all the racing tops I had were Ferrari,” continued the Perth-born driver.
“Dad was a massive fan, he was born in Italy and it’s a little bit in his blood, his passion for the brand and the team. The only thing I really knew as a kid was red cars.” Red Bull principal Christian Horner said Ricciardo was staying. “He’s on a long-term contract with the team. There’s no option for him not to be at Red Bull next year. They would have to talk to us about it rather than the driver,” he said. “It’s a very straightforward agreement.”