Red Bull confirm Daniel Ricciardo has deal until end of 2018
"This looks like being the best place to be," Daniel tells Sky Sports
By Pete Gill and Craig Slater
Last Updated: 20/06/16 1:28pm
Red Bull have confirmed to Sky Sports F1 that Daniel Ricciardo will be staying with the team until at least the end of the 2018 season.
Ricciardo has been heavily linked with Ferrari but Sky Sports has learnt that Red Bull have activated a performance-related clause contained in the Australian's contract to keep him under lock and key.
"Daniel is under contract," team boss Christian Horner confirmed. "When Daniel joined Red Bull he had a five-year agreement. We are in year three, leaving two to go.
"Of course, in these contracts are performance-related causes but he's performing pretty well at the moment."
After blaming the team for the tactical errors which cost him victory in Monaco and Spain, the Australian warned Red Bull at last week's Canadian GP he would leave unless they supplied him with a title-winning package.
But the Australian has opted to stay put after concluding that Red Bull are the best placed of Mercedes' rivals to forge a title challenge when the sport's aerodynamic regulations are refreshed at the end of the current campaign.
"At the moment this looks like being the best place to be," he said. "If Mercedes don't make changes there is nowhere else that looks that attractive. With the rules next year, l think it's going to be a strong fit and l hope we can really fight for a title in 2017."
After debuting in F1 with HRT and Toro Rosso, Ricciardo joined Red Bull for 2015 as a replacement for Mark Webber. He won three races during his maiden season with the team, out-pacing and out-scoring Sebastian Vettel in the process before the German announced he was departing for Ferrari.
"The contract was always long term and in a way it was always that length," Ricciardo confirmed to Sky Sports News HQ.
"But it's performance based and obviously Helmut [Marko, the Red Bull advisor who is the right-hand man of owner Dietrich Mateschitz] and the team are happy with what l am doing and happy with me and Max [Verstappen] and want to keep us on board."
Red Bull's current driver line-up was completed in May when Verstappen was called up to replace Daniil Kvyat. "It has become increasingly clear that Daniil Kvyat could not withstand the pressure from Daniel Ricciardo, and he has been overdriving the car," Marko said at the time.
The news of Ricciardo's contract extension will come as a particular blow to Kvyat's new team-mate at Toro Rosso, Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard, who has been in superlative form of late, told Sky Sports F1 earlier this month his ambition was to win a world championship with parent team Red Bull.
But with the terms of Verstappen's promotion also believed to include a binding long-term contractual agreement, Sainz's first opportunity of realising that dream may occur in 2019 at the earliest.