The possibility of Daniel Ricciardo heading to Mercedes has been given a boost with the revelation that as he looks at his various options as his current contract comes to an end, the Australian is looking at a two-year deal from 2019.
Following his sensational win in Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix, the popular Australian is seen as one of the sport's hottest properties at a time a number of driver contracts come to an end. However with the sport about to enter (another) phase of instability, rather than a long-term contract Ricciardo is seeking a deal which will see him through the two years until the new engine and financial regulations kick in in 2021.
"I don't want to sign anything too long because I don't know where the sport's going," The Times quotes him as saying. "I feel like life is happening pretty fast. Each year something might change so I don't want to tie myself down for four more years and then I'm like, ‘I don't want to do this anymore'.
"Ideally I'd sign a two-year contract," he added. "I think two years I can definitely be comfortable with and then see it from there. That third year will be the rule change so I will probably wait and see what happens then."
"I kind of feel like if they want me to race for them they should contact me, but they haven't," he said.
While the Italian team has threatened to leave F1 for a rival series, Mercedes has made no such threats... yet.
However, talking to Pitpass, Bernie Ecclestone previously claimed that Mercedes would be out of F1 by the end of 2018, and though this appears highly unlikely, leaving at the end of 2020 is a far more likely scenario.
All of which would give Ricciardo two seasons with a team with no fears over its engine supply, the possibility to go head-to-head with Lewis Hamilton and a package that despite a weak start to the season remains the benchmark.