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Ricciardo locked in at Red Bull until end of 2018

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Daniel Ricciardo and Christian Horner have put an end to rumors linking the Australian with a move away from Red Bull by confirming he is locked into a contract lasting until the end of 2018.

Ricciardo is one of the highest-rated drivers in Formula 1, having claimed three grand prix victories with Red Bull back in 2014 and leading its charge since the departure of Sebastian Vettel.

With Ferrari thought to be weighing up driver options for 2017, Ricciardo had been linked with a move to the Italian marque.

However, Red Bull team principal Horner has long stated that Ricciardo would not be on the move given his long-term contract.

When asked by the official F1 website if the rumors linking him to Ferrari were just that, Ricciardo said: “Well, yes, the deal with Red Bull was always long term.

“The only thing that was keeping things a bit open was performance more from my side.

“But again, if they were doing really bad then I am sure if I had an approach for a winning car then it would have been OK.

“But at the moment, behind Mercedes it is the next best place to be and I hope that in 2017 we can be as good as Mercedes.”

Ricciardo is also quoted by motorsport.com speaking about the public nature of the deal, which had been largely kept under wraps.

“It has always been pretty discrete, I guess,” he said. “Helmut [Marko] made a few comments, and it is good, he means he likes me. It is hard to tell some days!

“To be honest, the team is very happy with the line-up they have at the moment with myself and Max. I would say it is pretty stable.”

Horner also discussed the deal with Sky Sports, saying that there was nothing to be discussed for next season given the nature of Ricciardo’s contract.

“There’s no deal to be done. Daniel signed a five-year agreement, and we’re three years in, so there are two years to go,” he said.

“Why would he want to be anywhere else? He can see the trajectory that we’re on.

“The engine is making progress and we have regulation changes for next year.”

With Max Verstappen also locked in to a long-term contract, Red Bull is currently the only team on the grid with its line-up firmed up for the 2017 season.

Robert Wickens shares more positive strides toward recovery in new video

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Robert Wickens has made massive steps since sustaining a spinal cord injury in an Aug. 19, 2018 crash at Pocono Raceway.

Since the accident, Wickens publicly has shared his recovery, often uploading videos of his physical rehabilitation on Twitter.

In his most recent update on Wednesday, Wickens shared a video of him walking on a treadmill. Fellow NTT IndyCar Series competitor Tony Kannan, who competes in triathlons during his spare time, also was visible running on the treadmill behind Wickens.

“When I am @TonyKannan [sic] age, I hope to run as fast as him…” Wickens tweeted. “Today was a good day!”

Wickens, who will turn 31 on March 13, first made his return to the IndyCar paddock in last year’s season opener in St. Petersburg. Since then, he’s made a return to the driver’s seat, piloting a specialized Acura NSX prior to the start of last year’s IndyCar race in his hometown of Toronto.

In September, Wickens fulfilled a vow to his wife Karli, by standing with her during their wedding. The new husband and wife also danced together during their reception.

Should Wickens fully recover to resume racing, Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt has stated that the team’s No. 6 entry will be available for him to drive. Wickens continues to remain as a “driver coach and consultant” for the team.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter