Daniel Ricciardo says the latest he wants to confirm his Formula 1 future is heading into the summer break after the Hungarian Grand Prix but teases that a deal could be sorted even sooner after Red Bull’s Honda engine switch was confirmed.

The Australian driver’s next step in his F1 career is seen as pivotal to the 2019 driver market, having been linked with moves to Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren in recent weeks, while Red Bull is also eager to keep hold of the 28-year-old alongside the already re-signed Max Verstappen.

Red Bull’s move to Honda power units from 2019 has put one key part of next year’s F1 grid in place and Ricciardo is eager to assess the Japanese manufacturer’s progress having targeted a race seat which would allow him to fight for world titles.

Ricciardo expects his F1 contract situation to pick up pace over the next month and he has set a final deadline of confirming his future before the summer break, which begins after the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 29, while he warns Red Bull may push for the decision to be brought forward.

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“They [Red Bull] want to start to move soon,” Ricciardo said. “I haven’t been pushed yet but there will be a bit of movement in the next week. Whether something gets put down on paper, discussions will start to ramp up the next seven days. Austria next week and then Silverstone which is two home GPs. We’ll see what happens.

“Now that the team has got the engine deal sorted, ideally for them they want something sooner rather than later. Probably in the next two weeks would be ideal for them.

“For me personally, it would be nice – even if it’s a while away – to go into the summer break knowing what I’m doing so I can enjoy the summer.

“If I’m on the phone for two weeks of the August break still trying to figure out my future, that won’t be that good. It could happen sooner.”

Another key figure to the 2019 F1 driver market is Lewis Hamilton who is still yet to officially confirm a new deal with Mercedes with both the British driver and team boss Toto Wolff remaining tight lipped during the French Grand Prix.

Wolff did however hint a deal is close to being confirmed with Hamilton as Mercedes looks for an opportunity to formally announce the news.

“Maybe it’s about choosing the right moment to say it,” Wolff said at Paul Ricard when pressed on Hamilton’s F1 future.

Currently just two F1 drivers remain officially confirmed on the 2019 grid, Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari and Max Verstappen at Red Bull, while Fernando Alonso is thought to have a second year option on his current McLaren contract.

The Spaniard is strongly linked with a move to IndyCar in the United States for next year.

 

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