Ricciardo tight-lipped on McLaren's pay offer

LE CASTELLET • Daniel Ricciardo was coy on Thursday about widespread reports that he is attracting interest from McLaren and Ferrari as well as his current Red Bull outfit.

He told reporters he was aware of the stories linking him to other teams, but did not confirm or deny any of the quoted figures attributed to key source Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko.

Red Bull this week confirmed they were switching from Renault to Honda as engine suppliers from next year and team chief Christian Horner has made it clear he hopes to persuade Ricciardo to stay.

"Everyone's talking about Mercedes and Ferrari as potential places for me to go, but I'm aware there's obviously going to be interest from other teams and I guess McLaren is probably one of them," the Australian added.

"It probably depends as well on what Fernando (Alonso) does, if he stays or if he goes. If he does go, then I guess they will probably want a more experienced driver to come in. I guess we'll see."

Speaking at Le Castellet, ahead of this weekend's French Grand Prix, he was referring to the future of McLaren's Spanish star.

Alonso won the Le Mans 24 Hours race last weekend and may leave to challenge for the Indy 500 title to complete his triple crown in motor sport.

He also expects Red Bull to ramp up discussions about a new contract now that they have sorted their engine supplier.

"I haven't been pushed yet," he said. "But I would say there will be a bit of movement probably in the next week. Ideally for them, they'd want something sooner rather than later. For me, I think it would be nice to go on the summer (European) break knowing what I'm doing so then I can actually enjoy it."

Ricciardo, 28, will be a free agent at the end of this season when his Red Bull contract expires.

When it was suggested that, according to German news reports, Marko had said McLaren had offered US$20 million (S$27.4 million), Ricciardo laughed and joked that it was "not enough".

He said he had not personally been in contact with any other teams, but conceded that his management may have been on his behalf.

"I don't know," he said. "People talk, people have coffees and stuff. And Red Bulls!"

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2018, with the headline 'Ricciardo tight-lipped on McLaren's pay offer'. Print Edition | Subscribe