In another twist in the 2019 Driver Market, it’s understood by Motorsport.com that Daniel Ricciardo is close to signing an extension to his contract at Red Bull Racing after seats at Mercedes and Ferrari didn’t materialize.
The Red Bull driver had hoped to move to Mercedes or Ferrari for 2019, but Red Bull’s Helmut Marko said both of those teams have clearly defined team leaders with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.
“Daniel is in a situation where he has no sporting alternative to us,” Marko said on Thursday in Austria.
Daniel Ricciardo said “the time is not far away” for his contract to be decided.
German magazine Sport Bild reported before the French Grand Prix that Ricciardo had been offered a $50 million USD contract at McLaren, which would’ve seen him replace Fernando Alonso.
There were also reports earlier this week that Lewis Hamilton is on the brink of signing a two-year contract to remain at Mercedes, which effectively confirms the Silver Arrows line up for 2019 as Toto Wolff has shown a desire to hold onto Valtteri Bottas.
In this same week, an Italian journalist suggested Charles Leclerc will replace Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari, with the only other apparent eventuality being that Raikkonen doesn’t move at all.
There were also reports that Raikkonen may move to McLaren in 2019 and when asked about it by media in Austria on Thursday, Raikkonen criticized the portrayal of the situation and described the situation as “nonsense.”
The Finn is currently out-of-contract with Ferrari at the end of 2018.