Ricciardo hints at hardball contract talks

Dec 5, 2017 - 12:31 AM Daniel Ricciardo has braced for protracted talks with Red Bull, adamant he's entitled to a contract befitting his claim to a Formula One championship.

The Australian is preparing for 2018 to be punctuated by speculation about his future with Red Bull, ahead of his contract expiring at the end of the year.

After a frustrating year in which he won one race to finish fifth in the drivers' standings, Ricciardo has reiterated the potential for titles will be the biggest consideration for his next deal.

It positions next year as make-or-break in Ricciardo's relationship with his team after being crippled by mechanical issues while watching Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton win a fourth championship.

"It's not like I'm the young unproven kid who'll sign anything ... or at the other end of my career when I'm hanging on and doing things year by year," Ricciardo wrote on the Red Bull website.

"You look at Lewis and when he did his Mercedes deal, he was the same age as I am now if I remember correctly. He was already doing very well where he was, but his career has really taken off since then.

"I know what I want, and the performance side is more important than ticking the money box.

"Having the chance to be able to fight for something really meaningful - races, championships - that's the absolute priority."

Ricciardo took a backward step this year, slipping from third in the drivers' championship with 56 fewer points thank 2016.

Speculation around his future flared when Red Bull appeared to prioritise younger teammate Max Verstappen by extending his contract this year.

Ricciardo said the decision won't be a distraction despite him planning to spend the better part of next year making it.

"I'm not just going to settle on something because I want it to be off my mind," he said.

"It's a big call, the most important one for me yet, I think. I'll take as much time as I need to.

"It's not going to be a distraction."

Source: AAP

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