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Ricciardo still 'putting the pieces together' for 2019

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The man of the moment, Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo, is still in the process of weighing up his options for the future and "putting the pieces together".

The Aussie's name was in the news again today as reports of McLaren offering $20 million for his services came out of Germany.

Queried on the story, Ricciardo delivered his signature broad smile before commenting.

"I did see it about an hour ago now. I haven’t been presented anything which says that," he said.

"But, I’ll be honest, everyone is talking about Mercedes and Ferrari for potential places for me to go, but I’m aware there’s probably going to be interest from other teams and I guess McLaren is probably one of them.

"It probably depends as well on what Fernando [Alonso] does, if he stays or if he goes.

"If he does go, they’ll probably want a more experienced driver to come in, but we’ll see. There are a lot of things to weigh up right now, but nothing really further to comment on that."

The news earlier this week of Red Bull's commitment to Honda will add another piece to a puzzle the Honey Badger will have to put together over the coming weeks.

"It’s something I was aware of that could happen, so it’s not a complete shock or surprise to me,” Ricciardo said.

"I was aware it was a possibility. It was something I was trying to prepare for and calculate in my mind.

"Now that it’s official, I’m going to try and understand a bit more about it, now that it’s definitely happening and keep trying to putting the pieces together to see if it’s a good move," he added.

"There’s certainly a lot of pros with it, so just trying to add it all up in my mind.

"Renault has come a pretty long way this year. I know we still don’t have the qualifying modes, but our race pace, once we’re all fuel saving, we seem a lot more competitive.

"They are improving. Honda seems to be improving with Toro Rosso. They are both on the up. It’s just who is going to get there quicker, that’s still the unknown."

Unsurprisingly, Ricciardo's aim is to have a package that will enable him to fight for the world title, from the outset next year.

"The priority is to get a car that can win the world title because I really believe I can," he said.

"That’s the first thing in my mind. If there was no possibility than for sure you look into other things.

"I don’t want to think it’s definitely better somewhere else. People do like a change. That’s always appealing.

"But just to make a change for the sake of making a change, that won’t be enough for me. I need to find some substance behind it if I’m going to jump ship."

Regardless of which team he'll be driving for in 2019, the seven-time Grand Prix winner wants to settle his future before Formula 1's summer break at the end of July.

"Now that the team has got the engine deal sorted, ideally they’d want something sooner rather than later. Probably in the next two weeks would be ideal for them," said the 28-year-old.

"For me personally, it would be nice to at least go on the summer break knowing what I’m doing so I can enjoy the summer break.

"If I’m on the phone for two weeks of the August break trying to figure out my future that probably won’t be that good. Just for me to kind of switch of as well.

"So, from a personal point of view, by the summer would definitely be nice. It could happen sooner, but by then I’d like to know."

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