Daniel Ricciardo says he isn't ruling out an imminent move to Ferrari as rumours of its interest in his gather pace, but says his current contract with Red Bull Racing makes it 'unlikely' to happen.
The Australian is currently in the second season of a multi-year deal with Red Bull Racing having stepped up from the sister Toro Rosso team, but having impressed with three wins en route to third place in the standings last year, he has struggled for front-running form in this year's car.
Despite this, Ricciardo remains highly regarded amongst rival teams, with Ferrari in particular regarding him as their preferred target should they choose not to retain the increasingly out-of-favour Kimi Raikkonen.
It is talk that Ricciardo admits he is flattered by and though he says it doesn't necessarily mean he is considering a switch to the team as early as 2016, he admits Red Bull's uncertain future means he must consider himself too.
“Obviously with contracts this and that, it is not as easy as saying 'yeah I will go to Ferrari and that is that.' There are things in place, and right now it would be, from my understanding of contracts, it is not likely that I can get out.
“I will probably never rule anything out completely, because I don't have experience with contracts. I haven't been in F1 all that long. I am sure things can change; anything can change. Dietrich [Mateschitz] said some things in the press as well, and you never know what is going to happen. As I said, it is unlikely but yeah…
“It is nice to be recognised by a team like that [Ferrari] so I will take it a compliment and see what happens.”
Indeed, though he has made no obvious indication of his desire to leave Red Bull, comments in the wake of a particularly difficult Canadian Grand Prix did hint at his frustration. However, he feels that is natural simply because he wants to win wherever he is.
“What I want is to win. A lot of my frustration this year is because of that. We are not in a position to win and as a driver that is the only thing I want, at least in this point of my career when I am still young and hungry, and I feel I have still have a lot of potential in me. That is what I want.”
Furthermore, Ricciardo believed Red Bull can still turn their form around in order to get into a race winning position once again.
“At the same time, I really feel that Red Bull can make a change for next year and can get back up the front. I still think we have good people in the team. I think we still have the ingredients to do it, it is just making that next step – it has to be the right step and I think we can get back up there.”