AUSTIN -- Daniel Ricciardo is in no rush to discuss his future with Red Bull despite seeing teammate Max Verstappen sign an extension to 2020.
On Friday, Red Bull confirmed Verstappen will be with the team until the end of 2020, ending speculation the Dutchman will be switching teams in the near future. Like Verstappen, Ricciardo is a hot commodity on the grid but his deal expires at the end of 2018, meaning he is likely to become a key player in next year's driver market with both Mercedes drivers also entering the final year of deals.
This is the fourth season Ricciardo has been given a Red Bull car incapable of challenging for a championship and he has made it clear the competitiveness of the RB13's predecessor will dictate his future. The Australian expects talks to gain momentum next year.
"To be honest, it's not that I've said no to anything," Ricciardo said when why his deal hadn't been extended too. "It's just still quite early I think. People talked a little bit about contracts and the silly season for next year, but I thought that would still happen next year. It's still quite early.
"On the positive side, obviously it's not really got anything to do with me, but if I'm to try and extract some positives out of his news it's that it gives us good confidence for next year. He and his management see a lot of positives in the team to continue like that. I'm 100 per cent here next year, I can at least say that, and I think it gives both of us confidence that we'll keep progressing the way we are."
The press release confirming Verstappen's deal included an intriguing quote from team principal Christian Horner, who stated: "As we now look to the long term with Max he is in the best place in the sport to build a team around him to deliver our shared ambition". Building a team around a driver infers that person is also the focus of its main energy and attention, meaning the quote has become something of a talking point in the Austin paddock.
However, Ricciardo believes it is wrong to read too much into the wording of Horner's statement.
"For sure, as far as media goes he certainly gets a lot of attention and that. Not that I am trying to take that away, that's just how it works. He's broken records for his age and things like that, rightly so.
"As far as... take the media out of that, as far as what is happening inside the team, new parts on the car, things like this, there's always been equality. There's never been anything like that. As far as I am concerned it's a bit of media stuff, but not anything internal. That's fine, I have no concern of that."