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Daniel Ricciardo: Red Bull driver should not worry about his future, says Mark Webber

Ricciardo should focus on beating Verstappen - Webber
By AutoSport

06/02/2018 at 08:09Updated 06/02/2018 at 09:10

Daniel Ricciardo should focus on beating Max Verstappen rather than worrying about which Formula 1 team he will drive for in 2019, says former Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber.

Ricciardo is currently at a career crossroad, with his current Red Bull deal set to expire at the end of this season and there are potential openings at Mercedes and Ferrari for 2019.

While Ricciardo admits there is pressure to get his next move right, fellow Australian Webber reckons he should not think about which team he wants to sign for until the middle of the season.

Webber says Ricciardo should instead focus solely on beating Verstappen, and let that determine what is on the table for 2019.

"I think the best thing he can do is beat Max," said Webber during a trip to the Bathurst 12 Hour with Porsche.

"I don't think Mercedes will be rushing to make a decision either; they're going to keep a good eye on Valtteri [Bottas] and see how he's performing, probably until Canada. That's like dog's balls - everyone can see that coming.

"There's an obvious link - they're both out of contract, he's a top-flight driver, and there's a chance for a switch.

"But if he's beating Max and Red Bull are flying again, why would he leave?

Helmut Marko is Red Bull's current advisor and lead in talent development.

Helmut Marko is Red Bull's current advisor and lead in talent development.Imago

Having been caught in the middle of a bitter political feud with Sebastian Vettel during his own Red Bull career, Webber is confident that there is no danger of Ricciardo falling into a similar trap.

Webber says the fact that Ricciardo is a genuine product of the Red Bull system means he can be sure of full support from Helmut Marko, Red Bull's advisor and head of development, despite Verstappen signing a new contract early.

"Red Bull will support the guy that's leading the championship and doing the business," added Webber, who joined Red Bull's F1 team after stints at Minardi, Jaguar and Williams rather than being supported by the firm in junior racing as most of its subsequent signings were.

"If that's Daniel, I reckon he's still in great shape there, to be honest. Because he is a Red Bull product.

"I don't think Helmut would be disappointed to see Daniel as world champion, but he loves Max as well. They're both his favourite guys."