Daniel Ricciardo has affirmed his commitment to Red Bull for the forthcoming Formula 1 season after being linked with a drive at Ferrari for 2017 by 1980 world champion Alan Jones.
Speaking to the Australian Grand Prix podcast ahead of this weekend’s race, Jones said that he thought Ferrari should sign Ricciardo for 2017 in place of Kimi Raikkonen in a move that would see him rejoin ex-Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel.
“They’ve obviously got plans for what they’re going to do next year, which I hope is going to be Daniel Ricciardo,” Jones said.
“They’re probably thinking ‘stick with the known factor [for now] – we’ve got Vettel, we’ve got Kimi’. [Kimi] does on occasion put up a good race, so I think they’ve done the right thing.
“But in terms of Daniel, I’m really confident [and] hopeful that he’ll land that Ferrari seat next year.”
Ricciardo is one of a number of drivers out of contract at the end of the 2016 season, but had little to say when asked about Jones’ comments on Thursday in Melbourne.
“I don’t know if Seb wants that, to be honest, so we’ll see,” Ricciardo said. “I heard AJ say… or I heard some comments yesterday and got asked the question. Yeah, last year I was asked as well. I honestly can’t… 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.”
Vettel and Ricciardo spent a year together racing at Red Bull in 2014 that saw the Australian driver beat his four-time champion teammate across the course of the season.
The two joked throughout the question, with Vettel taking his Ferrari hat off and putting it on Ricciardo’s head momentarily.
“I don’t mind Danny, we’ve never had issues,” Vettel said.
“Obviously the year we had together was very good for him, not so good for me. I think that’s one thing that happens on the track but outside the track, which I think is more important when you talk about your teammate.
“Whether you get along or not, we never had [problems] – at least I don’t remember… It’s a bit weird when he gets changed but other than that…”
Ricciardo added: “I walk around in my underwear a lot! Get comfortable with that. This question’s gone pear- shaped, hasn’t it? Next question…”