Daniel Ricciardo says he needs to put the “pieces together” to see if Red Bull’s switch to Honda power is a “good thing” before even considering a move to another team.
Earlier this week Red Bull committed their future to Honda, at least for the next two years.
That, though, has raised questions about whether Ricciardo is willing to do the same given Honda’s troubles during their three years with McLaren.
And ironically it is McLaren who could offer him refuge from Honda.
According to Germany’s Sports Bild, Ricciardo has been offered a deal worth $20million a year to join McLaren at the end of this season.
— Planet F1 (@Planet_F1) June 21, 2018
Asked about the McLaren story, he joked that 20 million is “not enough” before addding: “I did see it about an hour ago now. I haven’t been presented anything which says that.
“But, I’ll be honest, everyone is talking about Mercedes and Ferrari for potential places for me to go, but I’m aware there’s probably going to be interest from other teams and I guess McLaren is probably one of them.
“It probably depends as well on what Fernando [Alonso] does, if he stays or if he goes. If he does go, they’ll probably want a more experienced driver to come in, but we’ll see. There are a lot of things to weigh up right now, but nothing really further to comment on that.”
One thing to weigh up is Red Bull’s new deal with Honda, which comes into effect next season.
“It’s something I was aware of that could happen, so it’s not a complete shock or surprise to me,” Ricciardo said.
“I was aware it was a possibility. It was something I was trying to prepare for and calculate in my mind.
“Now that it’s official, I’m going to try and understand a bit more about it, now that it’s definitely happening and keep trying to putting the pieces together to see if it’s a good move.
“There’s certainly a lot of pros with it, so just trying to add it all up in my mind.
“Renault has come a pretty long way this year. I know we still don’t have the qualifying modes, but our race pace, once we’re all fuel saving, we seem a lot more competitive.
“They are improving. Honda seems to be improving with Toro Rosso. They are both on the up. It’s just who is going to get there quicker, that’s still the unknown.”
He added: “The priority is to get a car that can win the world title because I really believe I can.
“That’s the first thing in my mind. If there was no possibility than for sure you look into other things.
“I don’t want to think it’s definitely better somewhere else. People do like a change. That’s always appealing.
“But just to make a change for the sake of making a change, that won’t be enough for me.
“I need to find some substance behind it if I’m going to jump ship.”
The seven-time grand prix winner is hoping to finalise his future before the August summer break.
“Now that the team has got the engine deal sorted, ideally they’d want something sooner rather than later. Probably in the next two weeks would be ideal for them.
“For me personally, it would be nice to at least go on the summer break knowing what I’m doing so I can enjoy the summer break.
“If I’m on the phone for two weeks of the August break trying to figure out my future that probably won’t be that good. Just for me to kind of switch of as well.
“So, from a personal point of view, by the summer would definitely be nice. It could happen sooner, but by then I’d like to know.”