Daniel Ricciardo’s future is still a mystery.
Daniel Ricciardo’s future is still a mystery.

Rivals address the race for Ricciardo's signature

MCLAREN chief Zak Brown has addressed rumours about Red Bull star Daniel Ricciardo's future.

McLaren has been thrust into the limelight this week by reports it has made a $20 million offer for Ricciardo - who is yet to commit to a team for 2019 - as the team starts to consider its driver options for 2019.

Red Bull's Ricciardo is thought to be top of the team's list to replace Fernando Alonso if the Spaniard, fresh from his victory at Le Mans, opts to leave F1 to pursue a full-time career in IndyCar to fulfil his ambition of completing motorsport's triple crown.

Most thought Ferrari and Mercedes were the frontrunners to secure the Australian's services should he leave Red Bull, but there are rumours they might not be as keen on him as first thought, paving the way for McLaren to make a play.

"We are fans of Daniel," Brown told Sky Sports.

"This is the time of year to look at your driver line-up but we aren't going to comment any further than that."

Speaking at a press conference alongside McLaren racing director Eric Boullier and Renault chief Cyril Abiteboul, Red Bull boss Christian Horner said it would be a "bold" move for Ricciardo to join a team he was outperforming this season.

Daniel Ricciardo has made the call to switch camps.
Daniel Ricciardo has made the call to switch camps.

"The situation with Daniel is there's an intent on both sides to move forwards," Horner said when asked about the Aussie's contract situation.

"The first thing was to close the situation with the engine. That's now done - Daniel understands the engineering rationale behind that.

"Let's not forget he's been in a car that the last couple of grands prix (Monaco and Canada) has been lapping the cars to our left (from Renault and McLaren).

"It would be a fairly bold decision to step out of a car he's won two grands prix in this year and is a championship contender.

"I would be surprised if he was to leave the team because it's a good fit between himself and Red Bull, but it's Formula 1."

Like his colleague Brown, Boullier kept his cards close his chest when discussing a possible play for Ricciardo.

"We love Daniel. I've known him many, many years," Boullier said. "He's doing a good job with Red Bull.

"As long as a driver of that calibre is on the market you look to see if there's a discussion possible.

"At this time of the year it's still too early to speak about that. Just normal, gentle discussions."

Alonso, meanwhile, says he will make a decision on his future after August's summer break.

"Anything is possible," Brown said.

"Clearly, he wants to win the triple crown. He's only 36 so he still has time.

"We would love to keep Fernando in the team, and in our F1 car, and should we go back to Indy he would make a helluva IndyCar driver."

This article first appeared on Sky Sports and was republished with permission