Mystery as Ricciardo rejects Red Bull claim
DANIEL Ricciardo says he has still not made a decision on his Formula 1 future and where he will drive next season.
It has been reported on the eve of this weekend's Austrian GP that Ricciardo was on the "verge" of re-signing for Red Bull.
But the Australian, out of contract at the end of this season, has clarified that he has not yet finalised his intentions for next season, Sky Sports reports.
"I still don't have an answer - not just for you but in my own mind as well," Ricciardo said.
"There are still ongoing discussions."
Ricciardo is one of four drivers among the top three teams - Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull - who is currently without a deal for next season.
Although Mercedes are thought to be keen to retain Valtteri Bottas, Ricciardo is thought unlikely to re-sign with Red Bull before Lewis Hamilton's long-running contract saga with the Silver Arrows is resolved, while Kimi Raikkonen is fending off annual speculation he could be ousted at Ferrari.
And Ricciardo added: "I'm still trying to figure out what is going to happen with all these musical racing chairs."
A further complication for Ricciardo is Red Bull's decision to jettison Renault power to sign a two-year deal with new engine supplier Honda.
"I'm using the time l have to understand what the situation is and with Honda how much progress there is," Ricciardo said. "The reality is that they aren't there yet, so it's just understanding how many steps they require to arrive there and whether it will be by March 2019.
"They (Red Bull) have committed to Honda, so they've got all the cards on the table, so I know what I'm getting there, and things are starting to get to a point where I know what's what and hopefully I'll have something soon for everyone.
"In a way, it's a good thing that they have made a decision."
Before speaking at the press conference in Austria, it was reported both Ricciardo and Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko claimed a new contract was "getting closer". Marko claimed "just details" needed to be worked out and said the Australian had no other realistic option outside of Red Bull.
"I know Ricciardo did not receive an offer from Ferrari," Marko said, per Motorsport.com. "Renault will, as far as I know, stay with the current drivers. Above all, I don't think Renault is playing in the budget regions that Ricciardo has in mind.
"Daniel is in a situation where he has no sporting alternative to us. He probably imagined it differently."
Meanwhile, Raikkonen has successfully defeated attempts by the media to learn whether or not he is contemplating a return to McLaren.
The Finn is reported to be on McLaren's "long list" to replace Fernando Alonso at the team if the Spaniard opts to leave.
But despite the best efforts of the press pack, Raikkonen was giving little away when he faced the media ahead of this weekend's Austrian GP. He expertly ducked questions about his future without giving any definitive clues as to whether a move away from Ferrari is on the cards.
Raikkonen admitted he had spoken to McLaren but had "zero interest to get involved in all the nonsense".
- with staff writers