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.