Daniel Ricciardo says he won’t enter into any Formula 1 contract talks until the start of the European season as speculation around his future at Red Bull ramps up.

Reports have emerged that Ricciardo has shown intent to sign for Ferrari during the Bahrain Grand Prix race weekend, speculation that has been denied by both Red Bull and the Australian driver, as he prefers to focus on racing in the back-to-back rounds in Bahrain and China.

Ricciardo has confirmed contract conversations will only begin during F1’s return to Europe this summer as he looks to quell gossip around his future in the sport.

“Nothing has changed and to be honest I don’t think anything will until we get to Europe,” Ricciardo said. “I think for Red Bull obviously it is the sooner the better.

“We will see, but I will at least say that this weekend or next weekend I don’t think anything is going to change.”

Ricciardo’s F1 future looks set to play a pivotal role in the shape of the 2019 driver line-ups with the Australian driver linked to a move away from Red Bull in his hunt for a world championship-contending race seat.

The Australian driver has been linked with both Mercedes and Ferrari as a potential replacement for either Valtteri Bottas or Kimi Raikkonen respectively with his current Red Bull deal expiring at the end of the season.

Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel are the only two with confirmed F1 contracts beyond the end of this season while Lewis Hamilton is expected to sign a bumper new three-year deal with Mercedes around £120m.

Ricciardo's next F1 contract will play a key part for fellow Red Bull-contracted drivers, with Carlos Sainz on a one-year loan to Renault and is thought to be the team's primary choice if the Australian leaves at the end of 2018. Pierre Gasly has also been tipped as a future graduate from Toro Rosso to Red Bull after impressing with fourth place in Bahrain.

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