Australian Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo has not ruled out a move to Ferrari next Formula 1 season, but says it’s unlikely.
With out-of-contract and under-pressure Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen facing an uncertain future in 2016, Ricciardo is rumoured to be a target if the Finn leaves.
But the Perth-born 25-year-old says his current contract that runs until 2018 is “pretty tight”.
“Obviously with contracts it is not as easy as saying I’ll go to Ferrari and that is that, there are things in place and from my understanding of contracts it is not likely that I can get out,” Ricciardo told media ahead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
“But at the same time I really feel that Red Bull can make a change for next year and can get back up the front.
“We have the people in the team and the ingredients to do it, it is just making that next step.”
Ricciardo, who finished third in the drivers’ standings in his debut season for Red Bull, said it was “nice to be recognised” by a team of Ferrari’s calibre.
“I guess I’ll take it as a compliment and see what happens,” Ricciardo said.
“I will probably never rule anything out completely, because I don’t have experience with contracts.
“I haven’t been in F1 all that long. I am sure things can change, anything can change.”
Ricciardo said his main frustration this year has sprouted from Red Bull’s failure to compete in a lacklustre season during which Daniil Kvyat’s fourth place in Monaco represents the team’s best finish so far.
“It has tested my personality a bit more,” he conceded.
“I have always known deep down I have been a pretty fierce competitor – I have never liked losing.”
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said Ricciardo wasn’t going anywhere.
“Daniel knows the team’s desire to be competitive,” Horner said.
“He believes in the team and there is no risk or discussion of him being anywhere else other than Red Bull for a minimum of three years.”