Daniel Ricciardo admits he was 'tempted' to consider joining Mercedes for the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship season, but says he firmly believes Red Bull Racing is worth 'risking a bet' for a title bid this season.
The Australian will enter into his fourth season with the former title-winning team with observers suggesting Red Bull has most to gain from the shift in new technical regulations, which will attempt to redress the balance between engine and chassis performance.
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Even so, Ricciardo reveals there was a moment when he considered whether to throw his hat into the ring for Nico Rosberg's vacant seat at triple champion's Mercedes following his shock retirement just days after lifting the 2016 trophy.
However, he concluded there was more to gain from sticking with Red Bull and building on the form that saw it return to winning ways in 2016.
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“Tempting for sure, to have a feeling of how that car works,” he told the official F1 website. “It was a crazy position it put Mercedes in. I'm sure every driver called, or thought about calling Toto (Wolff) and Niki (Lauda). It's been interesting to see it evolve and now Bottas has his big chance. We'll see how he goes.
“But 2017 is a new year and I'm hoping my car will now be the championship one! For me, I am best where I am: at Red Bull Racing.”
Indeed, Ricciardo feels Red Bull is 'worth a bet' in 2017 based on his first impressions of the RB13 and feels he can mount a title bid as a result.
“From what I hear about the new car, I would definitely risk a bet in our favour. I think we can challenge, yes. If we make the same improvements we did last year then he won't have anything easy, believe me.”
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