Daniel Ricciardo has dismissed suggestions that he could move to Mercedes for either the 2017 or 2018 Formula 1 seasons, re-affirming his commitment to Red Bull Racing.
Ricciardo has been one of F1’s most prominent drivers in recent years, finishing third in the drivers’ standings in 2014 and 2016 and claiming four grand prix victories.
The Australian has been tipped to mount a challenge for the World Championship next year with Red Bull, with the team making great progress across the course of 2016.
Ricciardo was one of a number of drivers linked to the vacant seat at Mercedes for 2017, made available following Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement from F1 five days after winning his maiden title.
However, Ricciardo confirmed earlier this week that his contract with Red Bull runs for another two seasons, taking him to the end of the 2018 campaign.
“I’ve got two more years at Red Bull. That’s where I’m going to be,” Ricciardo told Australian Associated Press in Perth.
“There’s a lot of people that are tempted to jump into that [Mercedes] seat, and you don’t blame them.
“I just hope whoever gets it appreciates it. It’s a damn good one.
“But for me, you’ll see me at Albert Park in a Red Bull.”
Mercedes is expected to sign Valtteri Bottas from Williams for 2017 in a deal that will see Felipe Massa come out of retirement and return to a race seat with the British team.
A number of F1’s high-profile drivers will be out of contract at the end of the 2017 season, including McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, making them options for Mercedes should Bottas be handed a short-term deal.
Ricciardo’s future remains secure, it appears, having formed a successful partnership with Max Verstappen during their time together at Red Bull through the 2016 season.
The 2017 season gets underway in Melbourne, Australia on March 26.