Former Formula 1 world champion Damon Hill has warned Daniel Ricciardo to be careful about how he approaches his upcoming contract renegotiation talks at Red Bull.
Ricciardo's current contract expires at the end of the 2018 season. He's been linked to possible race seats at Mercedes and Ferrari. The Australian has also not ruled out staying at Milton Keynes.
However, Hill warned Ricciardo not to get distracted by the uncertainty surrounding his future.
"If you don’t know what your future is you can’t concentrate on the racing," Hill told Speedcafe.com this weekend. "It is not the ideal situation, to have other things on your mind."
Ricciardo has already acknowledged that what he decides this year is crucial to his hopes of one day winning the world championship. But Hill warned that a misstep could derail his Formula 1 career altogether.
“It is a very tricky thing because in Formula 1 you can find yourself high and dry in a blink of an eye," he said. "I should know.
"It is difficult. I think he could do no worse than go and speak to Mark Webber and get some advice."
Australian sportscar racer David Brabham concurs with Hill about the importance of Ricciardo's decision.
"I think this could be seen as a very pivotal moment [for Ricciardo]," he told Speedcafe.com. "It could go either way.
"A lot will depend on his mental mind management of what he focusses on and what he doesn’t."
The youngest son of three-time world champion Sir Jack Brabham made 24 Grand Prix starts with the Brabham and Simtek teams between 1990 and 1994. He suggested that Ricciardo's options will depend on how well he performs in the next few races.
“At the end of the day, things will sort out when you’re performing. And when you’re not performing things tend to fall apart."
Ricciardo's team mate Max Verstappen has already signed a contract extension through to 2020. Brabham said that it would be good to see Ricciardo stay as well.
“Daniel is a fantastic racer so it’s a great pairing," he said. "Red Bull have got two of the strongest drivers out there, for sure.
“His whole focus has got to [be to] dominate that team," Brabham added. "Which is a hard ask when Max is so talented [now that] he’s got another year under his belt."