With speculation surrounding his long-term future in Formula One, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has found himself linked with McLaren in recent weeks.
McLaren are lining up the Australian driver as a possible replacement for Fernando Alonso, who is considering his future with the franchise, according to recent reports.
The 28-year-old Ricciardo is out of contract with Red Bull at the end of the 2018 season, and he is yet to make a decision regarding his next move.
However, McLaren are already making moves to land Ricciardo, who has been linked with a $20m contract offer to move away from Red Bull.
And McLaren’s Racing Director Eric Boullier recently teased that a potential deal could well be on the cards, confirming that ‘normal’ and ‘gentle’ talks have been held.
“Obviously we love Daniel, I personally have known him for many, many years. He is doing a good job with Red Bull,” Boullier told Reuters.
“As long as a driver of that calibre is on the market you look if there is any discussion possible.”
“But, at this time of year it’s still too early to talk about our driver line-up for the future, so just a normal, gentle discussion.”
Meanwhile, Ricciardo has set a deadline for his own future to be cleared up.
“They [Red Bull] want to start to move soon,” Ricciardo said.
“I haven’t been pushed yet but there will be a bit of movement in the next week. Whether something gets put down on paper, discussions will start to ramp up the next seven days. Austria next week and then Silverstone which is two home GPs. We’ll see what happens.
“Now that the team has got the engine deal sorted, ideally for them they want something sooner rather than later. Probably in the next two weeks would be ideal for them.
“For me personally, it would be nice – even if it’s a while away – to go into the summer break knowing what I’m doing so I can enjoy the summer.
“If I’m on the phone for two weeks of the August break still trying to figure out my future, that won’t be that good. It could happen sooner.”