Daniel Ricciardo has shot down rumours of him leaving Red Bull in 2017 and says he is fully focused on the season ahead.
The Australia driver is a long-term Red Bull-backed athlete, breaking into F1 firstly with HRT in 2011 before securing his first full campaign with Toro Rosso a year later. After just two seasons with the Italian squad the 26-year-old graduated to Red Bull after fellow Australia Mark Webber retired from the sport.
With Ricciardo's existing contract expiring at the end of the season the Australian has been rumoured with a move to Ferrari for 2017 but at his home event last weekend he silenced the speculation.
“I don't know if Sebastian Vettel wants that, to be honest, so we'll see,” Ricciardo said in the Thursday pre-event press conference in Melbourne. “I heard some comments yesterday and got asked the question. Yeah, last year I was asked as well. I don't have much more to say on that.
“It's still very early in the season and to give you a boring but honest answer is that I'm just completely focused on this year now and with Red Bull. That's where it stands. Not exactly out of contract either. Don't get too excited.”
Ricciardo's team boss Christian Horner was quizzed about the subject in the team principal press conference at Albert Park and says he is thrilled by the job the 26-year-old is doing and expects him to stay with Red Bull next year.
“He's under contract, so I think he was pretty accurate with his comment,” Horner said. “Red Bull invests in these guys at a young age, they develop them, they give them the opportunity through the Junior team and Toro Rosso.
“Sebastian Vettel was a prime example of that, Daniel Ricciardo is doing an excellent job, Dany Kvyat and the two exciting talents we obviously have in Toro Rosso. The contractual situation we have with Daniel Ricciardo is extremely clear. How long? That's confidential.”