Daniel Ricciardo opens up about his future and Red Bull
DANIEL Ricciardo believes Mercedes and Ferrari have closed the door on him, meaning it's almost certain he will re-sign with Red Bull.
The Aussie F1 star - who is off contract at the end of 2018 - also revealed he needed clarification from Red Bull about why it switched from Renault to Honda power.
The energy drink team has largely been unable to match Mercedes and Ferrari for pure straight-line speed, prompting it to change engine suppliers and align itself with Honda from 2019.
Ricciardo, who has been exploring contract options this season, said he wouldn't know whether Honda was the right fit until he drove with one of its engines.
He also made it clear he needed to know his employer hadn't ditched Renault purely for emotional reasons, but that there was a strategy behind the decision.
"I've obviously heard the team out more than once and they've given me the reasons (for the change to Honda)," Ricciardo told Motorsport.com.
"The important thing to understand for me why they've done it, it can't just be purely on emotions. Like, 'It's gone to s--- with Renault, whatever, and we're doing it because we want to change.'
"They've obviously done their homework and they strongly believe that it is a good thing, not just on an emotional decision.
"They've done what they can to try and encourage me to make it happen."
Ricciardo's Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen described his team's Renault power unit performance as "tragic" and a "joke" after suffering a disastrous weekend at the British Grand Prix, where its only championship points came through Ricciardo's fifth-placed finish.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner said it didn't take much to convince Ricciardo it was time for a change in engine suppliers.
"The reality is it's time for change," Hormer said.
"We've been doing the same thing year after year. We've seen real progress with Honda and it just feels the right time in our evolution to be going a different route."
Barring any last-minute backflips, Ricciardo looks set to test out Honda's hardware with Red Bull next year. Multiple reports suggest he will extend his stay at the England-based outfit.
Mercedes and Ferrari were initially hyped up as potential suitors but interest would appear to have waned on their end.
Ricciardo believes both teams are settled on their driver line-ups and not looking to add anyone new.
"Not every door is closed, but it's looking more and more likely that the other top teams will probably remain with their line ups," Ricciardo told ESPN. "I don't have the facts on that but you can just kind of read between the lines and you feel that that is probably going to remain.
"So obviously if it wasn't Red Bull then they are the other two most attractive options, so if they are not possible, then for me now it is hard to be convinced that another option is better than Red Bull. So I'm just making sure that I'm right with my judgements."