The Australian openly admits that with his contract ending late next year, he is not ruling out a move to a more competitive team.
A major issue is Red Bull’s engine supplier.
The current relationship with Renault looks set to end; Red Bull is dipping a toe in the Honda waters with the new Toro Rosso deal; and 2018 title sponsor Aston Martin is considering entering the sport as an engine supplier.
“You’ll see us gradually increase our involvement,” Aston Martin chief Andy Palmer confirmed in the FIA’s Auto magazine.
Asked if that means an engine supply project, he answered: “You’re certainly hinting in the right direction.”
But Ricciardo says it’s too early to talk about Aston Martin’s future in F1.
“All I know is that I’ll have a great road car to drive again next year,” he grinned in Malaysia.
“As for the rest, I don’t know. Clearly it’s great that the team is associated with a brand like Aston Martin, but how it will develop and what engines we will have in the future, I don’t know.
“My contract ends next year, but it’s not the time to think about 2019,” said Ricciardo.
“Let’s see how next season unfolds and what direction the team is moving in.”
When asked what his top option would be if Red Bull does not improve, Ricciardo laughed: “Tennis?”