F1 | Ricciardo is the centre of the 2019 drivers’ market. Hamilton is the key to change

Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Renault and, naturally, Red Bull. Never has Daniel Ricciardo had been at the centre of the driver’s market as much as now.

He has given himself ten days to decide. Next year Red Bull will abandon the Renault engines to pass on to the Japanese supplier of its cousins at Toro Rosso. It is another unknown factor for the Australian, even if the Honda Power Unit has shown that, compared to the disastrous seasons with Honda, it has made gigantic strides in terms of reliability and performance.

The win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the lack of competiveness by McLaren may push Fernando Alonso to say goodbye to F1 as soon as this season to aim for new challenges and in fact freeing a seat at Woking. There could be a contract worth 20 million dollars a year for Ricciardo but Renault could have knocked on the Australian’s door as well. There could be a swap with Carlos Sainz who is still under contract with the team from Milton Keynes.

Sebastian Vettel may have opposed Daniel Ricciardo’s move to Ferrari and so closed the doors to Maranello to his former team mate despite Kimi Raikonnen having floated the idea of definitely finishing his adventure in F1 which leaves a very pleasing seat free that could be occupied by the Monegasque driver Leclerc.

I have not yet won a world title and, despite McLaren and Renault not being my main choices, an eventual arrival there would not be a backward step in my career but an investment in the future. The aim is to have a car to aim for the maximum result but if this is not possible then other considerations will be made,” commented Daniel Ricciardo, “Honda’s arrival at Red Bull was not a shock, as I already knew about the possibility. Now I will try to understand what the developments will be. Honda made progress with Toro Rosso”.

Before taking any decision Ricciardo will also take a look at Brackley where Lewis Hamilton’s contract will end at the close of 2018.

As of today Lewis Hamilton has still not signed an extension to his contract with Mercedes and Ricciardo will wait to see what happens at Mercedes before making any decisions. Should Hamilton not renew this will set off a chain reaction in the paddock with a round of important seats. If I were Ferrari in an imaginary market, I would not let the British driver get away to build a Dream-Team with Vettel despite the German driver’s veto of the Australian driver,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi.

It would be a big coup for Maranello having two great drivers for aiming at both the drivers and the constructors’ titles by taking the main actor and adversary away from the competition. As an alternative, I really like the idea of the young Leclerc which in turn would free a place for Giovinazzi at Sauber,” continued the manager from Faenza who says that he is increasingly convinced that the recent winner of the 24 Hours of Le mans, Fernando Alonso will retire from F1. “McLaren will need another top driver, as well Renault. It could be an explosive market but a lot will depend on Hamilton,” concluded Minardi.