Daniel Ricciardo addresses threat of being replaced by IndyCar driver

Daniel Ricciardo has a contract at McLaren until the end of next year.

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo has affirmed that testing a Formula 1 car is by no means an indication of a driver being signed by the team they are testing with.

Doubt has been cast over the Australian’s immediate future amid another tough start to the year, during which he has now been out-qualified 10 times in 12 races by team-mate Lando Norris as of the French Grand Prix.

Ricciardo is out of contract at the end of next season, but he has recently moved to allay fears that he may leave at the end of the current season after some stinging comments from McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown.

In recent months, Andretti IndyCar driver, Colton Herta, as well as McLaren Arrow SP driver, Patricio O’Ward, have tested the McLaren, and it is the former that has been gathering the most attention around a possible F1 seat in the coming years.

READ: ‘I’ll take some freebies’: Daniel Ricciardo on French Grand Prix

However, they are still signed to their respective teams and already have a racing schedule in America, so there is no danger of them replacing Ricciardo right now.

“I think it’s only been what the media has made of it,” he told Fox Australia. 

“Any of the IndyCar drivers that have done even some F1 testing, as Colton has done, their program is fully IndyCar.

“It’s a chance for them to get behind the wheel of F1, but there’s no crossover.

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“The media kind of sees that and thinks, ‘Oh, what’s going to happen, is this potentially an F1 seat or something?’, but it’s only what they’ve made it out to be.

“Internally everything’s very clear about where we stand as a team and who’s driving what category.”

Despite the public criticism, Brown is fully behind his driver as he looks to improve his fortunes, and the 33-year-old has “no concerns” about losing his seat.

“I’ve had a lot of support from the team, obviously people like Zak,” added Ricciardo.

The eight-time race winner also affirmed that he already puts enough pressure on himself without the media doing that for him, and he is determined to stay with McLaren and turn the tables on what has been a tough past 16 months in Woking.

READ: Sebastian Vettel responds to being linked to McLaren as Daniel Ricciardo’s replacement

“I feel like there is always a form of pressure in this sport, sometimes it’s just the pressure you put on yourself,” explained Ricciardo.

“There’s always noise, yeah, sure, maybe there’s been a little bit more noise of late, and that’s why I made a statement last week. 

“It was just to try and set the record straight and so everyone would hear it from me and not make their own assumptions or anything like that.

“[It was] just to make it clear, also my intent and my desire, let’s say my commitment at least, not only to McLaren but to the sport and my will and everything else, wanting to succeed, ultimately still that belief I have in myself.

“That’s something which people always question, especially if the results aren’t there, but deep down I know how I feel and ultimately what I feel I’m capable of.”

Ricciardo’s victory in Monza last season was one of 16 points finishes he has managed in McLaren colours since he joined, and he is aiming to add a 17th to that tally from ninth on the grid during Sunday’s French Grand Prix.