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Ricciardo targeting title - even if it means leaving Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull
© RedBull

Daniel Ricciardo says that his primary objective is to clinch the Formula 1 world championship, whatever it takes.

"I don't like the word expectations, but I expect it from myself," Ricciardo told Sky Sport F1's Natalie Pinkham in this week's In The Pink podcast.

"What l believe l can do and from what I've learnt over the years, I expect I can deliver that," he added.

However, Ricciardo sounded less convinced that he would be able to achieve his title dream by remaining at Red Bull.

"In this sport you need the tools as well," he explained. "I hope to get to those tools. l don't want to say l expect to receive those tools - but if l get those tools l would expect it from myself to get the job done."

The principal tool in question is the power unit. Red Bull's TAG Heuer-badged Renault engine is not delivering the same power and performance as the Mercedes and Ferrari counterparts.

He's out of contract with Red Bull after the end of the 2018 season. Contract extension talks are expected to get underway this month. However, he's also been linked to a possible move to either Brackley or Maranello.

"Next year will be a big thing," he admitted. "I have another year with the Red Bull contract so we will see where l end up."

Red Bull's motorsport consultant Dr Helmut Marko says that he wants Ricciardo to remain with the team after 2018. However, he said the team isn't prepared to go to any lengths to re-sign the 28-year-old.

"I have a good relationship with Daniel," Marko told France's Auto Hebdo. "We really like him and want him to stay. But not under any conditions.

"The contract should be beneficial to us both," he insisted.

There's a long queue of drivers hoping to step into Ricciardo's race seat should the Australian decide to move on. Carlos Sainz - currently on loan from Toro Rosso to Renault - is seen as being in pole position.

The Red Bull junior team's current line-up of Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly is seen as too inexperienced to be in with a shot of promotion.

"I always understood that Brendon had speed and we had always continued to support him," said Marko. Hartley had been in the Red Bull driver development programme until he was dropped in 2010.

He's since found success in endurance racing and was given his Formula 1 début in last year's United States GP.

"Pierre has become a much more mature person," Marko continued. "In 2016 he won GP2 but he made mistakes, so we decided he was not ready for Formula 1.

"We sent him to Super Formula but the first race was horrible," he added. "Then he learned to focus on himself, not blame others. Basically he grew up and started to cope."

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