Spielberg, Austria - Australian Daniel Ricciardo has no competitive alternative to staying with his Red Bull Formula One team and a deal is likely soon, says Red Bull's motorsport consultant Helmut Marko. Ricciardo, 28, will be out of contract at the end of the season and mulling his options. He has said he is looking for a two-year deal.
"I don’t think Daniel is in a good position," Marko said ahead of this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix. "Mercedes and Ferrari each have a No.1 driver who is clearly declared. I know Ricciardo did not receive an offer from Ferrari."
Champions Mercedes and Ferrari will each have a potential vacancy, alongside four times world champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Ricciardo is not considered a frontrunner for either, however, despite being third in the 2018 championship after two wins.
McLaren has expressed an interest and would, according to informed sources, be willing to raise Ricciardo's salary considerably, but the former champion has not won a race since 2012 and is fifth overall. It is also waiting on former double world champion Fernando Alonso to decide whether he is staying or going, and have highly-rated British teenager Lando Norris set to step up from his reserve role.
Renault could be another option, with Spaniard Carlos Sainz only on loan from Red Bull, but they are focused on improving their car rather than spending more of the budget on an expensive driver.
"Renault will, as far as I know, stay with the current drivers," said Marko. "Above all, I don't think Renault is playing in the budget regions that Ricciardo has in mind. Daniel is in a situation where he has no sporting alternative to us. He probably imagined it differently.
He made it clear that Red Bull wanted him to stay but "not at any price". Ricciardo said last weekend that he expected Red Bull to ramp up discussions about a new contract now that it has announced a switch from Renault to Honda engines for 2018. Red Bull's other driver, 20-year-old Max Verstappen, has a long-term deal that is believed to pay him significantly more than Ricciardo gets.
"Ideally for them, they'd want something sooner rather than later," Ricciardo said then. "Probably in the next two weeks would be ideal for them."