Daniel Ricciardo has recently said that Max Verstappen’s new Red Bull Racing deal has “removed one opponent” for seats at Scuderia Ferrari and Mercedes for the future, should he leave after the end of the 2018 Formula One season. The 20-year-old Belgian-Dutch racing driver extended his Red Bull contract to the end of 2020, in a move which was announced during last weekend’s United States Grand Prix, that Team Principal Christian Horner said was designed to end speculation and distraction over Max Verstappen’s Formula One future.
The Australian admitted surprise at the timing of the official announcement, given the fact that Max Verstappen already had a deal in place, while Daniel Ricciardo also confirmed that he can now afford to wait on settling his own future, knowing Red Bull wants to keep him, and Max Verstappen is off the market with seats potentially available at Scuderia Ferrari and Mercedes for 2019. However, the Australian’s Formula One future has become a topic of discussion in recent weeks because his contract with Red Bull is set to expire at the end of next year.
Daniel Ricciardo’s marketability — let alone his driving talent — makes him a hot commodity for any F1 team. And the number ones at the two leading teams — Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) — would apparently welcome the addition of the Aussie.
Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel, who partnered Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull during the 2014 Formula One season, said that he is also open to a reunion: “I don’t mind, I like Daniel” – the four-time Formula One world champions said, as reported by the Italian media earlier today. Sebastian’s current teammate Kimi Raikkonen is 38 and the Finnish driver will continue with the Maranello team next year, but will most likely end his career ahead of the 2019 F1 championship, which means that Scuderia Ferrari will be evaluation the best replacement for Kimi, with Daniel Ricciardo being considered as a possible solution for the future, alongside the German driver: “In the end, it is not my choice, it is the team’s. But if you are not prepared to race whoever it is, then what is the point of racing?” – Sebastian Vettel concluded.