Mercedes should not get excited about signing up Daniel Ricciardo. That is the warning of Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko, as the international press gets excited about the future of the out-of-contract Australian Ricciardo.
“Ferrari, take Ricciardo,” Luca Budel, writing for Italy’s Mediaset, said.
“While Max is the potential phenomenon, it is Ricciardo who wins the races,” he added. “The boy deserves Ferrari’s attention.”
Alberto Sabbatini, writing for Autosprint, agreed: “Ferrari should take Ricciardo.
“Red Bull is paying more attention to the evolution of the Honda engine while keeping in the fridge a great driver like the Australian,” he said.
Ferrari may not be an option, though, as Globo’s Livio Oricchio points out.
“Sergio Marchionne knows that hiring Ricciardo would imply a change in the driver hierarchy at Ferrari,” he said.
Mercedes may therefore be a better option for Ricciardo, with Lewis Hamilton playing hardball over his contract and Valtteri Bottas also signed up only until late 2018.
“Niki Lauda may come back, so we can have a third option,” Wolff joked to Finland’s Turun Sanomat.
“No, Ricciardo is one of the good drivers, as we saw again,” he added.
Bild journalist Lennart Wermke commented: “If Ricciardo continues as he did in China, he can almost choose his cockpit.”
But Red Bull’s Marko warned Mercedes boss Toto Wolff not to get too excited about signing Ricciardo.
“Herr Wolff already fell on his face with Max Verstappen, and he’ll fall on his face again,” he said.