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McLaren and Renault open to Ricciardo talks

22 Junho 2018 18:53

McLaren and Renault have both suggested they would be interested in signing Daniel Ricciardo if he became available.

Red Bull driver Ricciardo's contract is up at the end of the year, with the Australian linked with moves to Mercedes and Ferrari.

But a huge switch to McLaren has also been touted and Ricciardo, while denying knowledge of an offer, acknowledged that there are more than two teams he could join.

McLaren were specifically namechecked and team director Eric Boullier says that his outfit, who could lose Fernando Alonso, would have to consider a driver of Ricciardo's quality.

"It's obviously this time of year that you start to think about your driver line-up for the following year or following years," Boullier told a news conference at the French Grand Prix.

"Obviously, we love Daniel. I personally have known him for many, many years. He is doing a good job with Red Bull. As long as a driver of that calibre is on the market, you look if there is any discussion possible

"But at this time of year, it's still too early to talk about our driver line-up for the future, so just a normal, gentle discussion."

Renault chief Cyril Abiteboul insists his team's focus is on their car, but he is hopeful they could also be in the running for a talent like Ricciardo.

"For the time being, our focus is on developing the best car possible," he said. "If we show that we can progress, if we show that we can build a good car, drivers will get interested in joining us."

Ricciardo, who has won two of seven F1 races this year, was quick in practice on Friday, but he was pipped to the fastest time by reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton led both the first and second sessions, with fellow Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas his closest challenger in the first practice before Ricciardo pushed the Briton in the second.

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel was around a second off the pace in both sessions.

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