Ricciardo plays down Ferrari talk


Daniel Ricciardo said the prospect of a being reunited with Sebastian Vettel has not crossed his mind as he prepares for the start of the Formula One season in his homeland.

Ex-Formula One world champion Alan Jones said Ferrari should look to replace Kimi Raikkonen with Ricciardo in 2017.

Ricciardo is in the final year of his contract with Red Bull, but the Australian stated that he has not given any thought to his future ahead of the curtain-raiser in Melbourne this weekend.

"I don't know if Seb wants that, to be honest, so we'll see. I heard AJ say... or I heard some comments yesterday and got asked the question," said Ricciardo.

"Yeah, last year I was asked as well. I honestly can't... I don't have much more to say on that. It's still very early in the season and to give you a boring but honest answer is that I'm just completely focused on this year now and with Red Bull. That's where it stands.

"I'm not exactly out of contract either. Don't get too excited."

Ricciardo is unsure of what to expect from Red Bull, but is hopeful they can make strides this year.

He added: "I guess I've driven a few years now in F1 and I know what a good car feels like so at least with us I know... at least from testing I can take out that our chassis is pretty good.

"What's still an unknown is what Seb and Lewis are saying. Are they hopping out of their car saying this chassis is a lot better than last year's as well?

"I still expect them to be the front-runners, Ferrari and Mercedes, at the start of the season but me knowing what I know from previous years, yeah, I think we've started off with a good chassis and as we've done in the past, we can keep improving that.

"If we can improve that, along with the power unit this year, then by probably the second half of the year we should be able to maybe challenge them but again, it's still really guesswork. 

"It's not like numbers, it's not like they all add up to victory at the end of the day. It's still a bit inconclusive until we get going, probably the first four or five races."