Ricciardo clears up Renault exit clause

Daniel Ricciardo says there are no clauses in his Renault contract that could see him leave the French team at the end of the season.

Some speculation has suggested the Australian is under tabs at Ferrari, who were sprung into making alternative plans earlier this year amid reports that Sebastian Vettel was considering retirement.

Vettel has always insisted he remains committed to the Scuderia and, in any case, Ricciardo says he has no chance of departing Renault before the end of his contract, which runs until 2020.

He has previously suggested, however, that extending his stay with Renault will depend on the team’s ability to deliver a competitive car next year.

“There is nothing to hide here. These rumours are false,” Ricciardo told Championat of suggestions he could leave for Ferrari or Mercedes if they came calling.

“I have a fixed contract with Renault. Even if the level of performances was worse, I would still stay. There is no exit clause.

“Even if the top team offers me a contract tomorrow, I can’t sign it. I’m tied to Renault, that’s the truth.”

Ricciardo joined Renault as they made noises about closing the gap to Formula 1’s top teams in 2019, but instead they face a late-season fight to overhaul McLaren in fourth place.

“I would say that in terms of results we are somewhere in the middle,” Ricciardo summed up his year so far. “There were pleasant weekends like Montreal and Monza, but there were also difficult ones.

“We made some progress, but it took a long time. Ideally, it should have come earlier. But I’ve enjoyed my time at Renault, I am satisfied.

“Podiums are the goal, no doubt. We need a good step to achieve this. But this is not impossible. So yes: perhaps we will fight for podiums.”