Baku (AFP) – Daniel Ricciardo on Thursday dismissed widespread reports suggesting that he has signed a pre-contract agreement to leave Red Bull for Ferrari next season.
Australian star Ricciardo, winner of the Chinese Grand Prix earlier this month and victorious in last year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, insisted that he has held talks on his future only with Red Bull.
He is expected to lead another strong Red Bull challenge this weekend on the Baku street circuit in Sunday’s edition of the Azerbaijan contest which last year delivered a momentous race punctuated by crashes and Safety Car interventions.
These included a ‘road rage’ incident involving Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton after the German accused the Briton of ‘brake-testing’ him.
Asked about reports that he had agreed a pre-contract arrangement with Ferrari, Ricciardo told a news conference: “That’s not true, I can say that I’ve only had talks with Red Bull.
“Even last year we had been pretty open with each other. They are interested in keeping me and we have had some talks regarding that.
“I’m aware of other reports, but there hasn’t been anything else so they are not true.”
Ricciardo will be out of contact at the end of this season as will be Kimi Raikkonen, who is team-mate to Vettel.
Ricciardo also revealed on Thursday that he had required surgery in London following the Chinese Grand Prix for a wound to his lip, which he had bitten during the Bahrain Grand Prix last month.
The big-smiling Aussie explained: “It took me five days to get back to Monaco after winning in Shanghai and it seriously felt like I was on the go for all five.
“I wish I had some decent stories of crazy three-day parties and that sort of thing to share with you, but it was about as uneventful as celebrations get.
“I was on multiple flights connecting the night after the race, went straight into the Red Bull Racing factory at Milton Keynes, had time in the simulator, and then I had to get some minor surgery.
“I had this weird thing with my lip happen in Bahrain the weekend before where I bit it and it must have got infected or something because I kept biting it over and over.
“So I had to get that taken out and stitched back up in London, so that — and a fair bit of talking about China — was basically the week after Shanghai for me. I got back to Monaco last Friday, where I could finally put my feet up.”
Elaborating on his future, he later added: “What I’m chasing is to try and be world champion.
“That’s my goal, my dream and something I really believe I am capable of.”