As Daniel Ricciardo assesses his contract options, he has received a stern warning from Red Bull boss Christian Horner that the team are not going to wait forever for the Australian driver to reach a decision.
Ricciardo, now 28 and out of contract at the end of 2018, is fully aware that he is reaching a crucial stage of his career, and that his next contract decision will be of great importance in shaping the rest of his time in F1.
The hugely talented driver, winner of five F1 GPs, has championship aspirations, and must decide where he can best achieve his ambitions.
And, while the charismatic Aussie driver may feel he has earned the right to be in control of contract proceedings with Red Bull, the UK-based team has threatened to move onto other drivers for the seat alongside Max Verstappen if his decision making process is not accelerated.
Speaking to Racer, Horner outlined the thinking of the Red Bull outfit.
"I think Daniel knows what our strengths are and hopefully we’ll be in a reasonable position
"I think he’s at a stage in his career where he’s wanting to evaluate all of his options, which you can understand.
"The problem is we won’t wait around forever and we’ve got some very good options available to us, but our priority is to try and ensure we find a solution with Daniel."
Diplomatic words, but the underlying message to Ricciardo that he is not their only option is clear.
Horner did accept, however, that the Aussie ace may be waiting to see how the 2018 car shapes up before reaching a decision on his future,
He added: "I get the impression he’ll want to see relative engine performances next year. He’s had four years of frustration on that side of things, so I can understand him wanting to see how things are panning out."
The uncertainty around Ricciardo's future will add further intrigue to what is already shaping up to be a fascinating season next year.
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