Canada – Red Bull and Force India have issued a firm ‘hands off’ amid speculation Ferrari is shopping around to replace Kimi Raikkonen.
Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene recently declared that Raikkonen alongside Sebastian Vettel is an “ideal pairing” for the Maranello team but the 36-year-old notably struggled in qualifying for the 2016 Canadian grand prix.
It will only magnify speculation that Daniel Ricciardo, who drives for Red Bull, and perhaps even Force India’s Sergio Perez, might be in line to succeed the 2007 world champion.
Contracts in place
Ricciardo was not halting the rumours in Montreal when he suggested he might not be loyal to Red Bull forever.
Ricciardo said: “The only place I want to be is somewhere they can say ‘Yep, you can fight for a world title with us’. That’s all I really want.”
However, Ricciardo’s boss says the on-form 26-year-old is going nowhere.
Dr Helmut Marko told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport: “Ricciardo will definitely be with us until 2018. We have a contract with him.”
Issuing a similar ‘hands off’ is Force India’s sporting director Otmar Szafnauer, amid suggestions Monaco podium-getter Sergio Perez might get a second chance at joining a top team.
Szafnauer insisted: “Sergio is ours. If Ferrari want him, they would have to pay us a lot of money.”