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Daniel Ricciardo: Red Bull need to improve or I'm leaving

Ricciardo: Red Bull need to improve or I'm leaving
By AutoSport

13/09/2017 at 11:11Updated 13/09/2017 at 14:15

Daniel Ricciardo says Red Bull needs to make a big step forward next season to convince him to stay with team in Formula 1 beyond 2018.

The Australian has driven for Red Bull's senior team since being promoted from Toro Rosso for the 2014 season, and his current deal runs until the end of next year.

Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing prepares to drive during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring.

Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing prepares to drive during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring.Eurosport

Ricciardo has won five grands prix with Red Bull, including three in his first season as team-mate to four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, but Red Bull's engine supplier Renault has been third-best behind Mercedes and Ferrari in the turbo-hybrid era.

That has prevented Ricciardo and Red Bull from mounting a championship challenge and the 28-year-old said his concern is finishing his F1 career without winning a title.

"I went through that impatient phase for sure, and I am still bordering that - because I don't want to leave F1 without a championship," Ricciardo told Autosport at an event promoting his Ricciardo Kart venture. "At least right now, I still believe I can do that, absolutely. I am looking for it - sooner rather than later.

" I thought we would be in with a really good shot this year, but it hasn't turned out like that. It really needs to happen with Red Bull next year - at least from my point of view. I've been here for quite a few years now and I think next year we need to make a bigger step next year than we did this year, to really convince me that I can win with them."

Red Bull backed Ricciardo throughout junior single-seaters and he made his F1 debut after being placed at the HRT team mid-way through the 2011 season.

Two full seasons with Toro Rosso followed before his move to Red Bull Racing, and Ricciardo said winning a title would "complete the story".

"Do I want to win with them [Red Bull]? Absolutely," he said. "Seb [Vettel] got to complete it - he is the only guy. So, my heart would love to. But we will see.

"I want an opportunity to be able to win week in and week out, while I believe I am still at the top."

Race winner Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing

Race winner Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull RacingGetty Images

Ferrari has only renewed Kimi Raikkonen's contract for 2018, while Mercedes is yet to commit to long-term contracts for Valtteri Bottas, whose deal ends this season, and Lewis Hamilton, whose contract expires at the end of next year.

One of the factors behind those decisions is believed to be Ricciardo's availability for 2019, and he said his next move was "unlikely to be for just one year - it is probably three years".

"I have got decisions to make once my Red Bull contract is up," added Ricciardo. "It is the first time in my professional career that I've been a free agent.

"I've been with Red Bull since the start and it has been awesome. But it is up to them as well if they would want to continue, and then it is a decision where I think it will be best."

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