Daniel Ricciardo could have two key deadlines ahead of him to decide his Formula 1 future beyond 2018 as rumours gather pace.
The Australian was always likely to be the main focus of the driver market for next season even before once again putting his overtaking prowess on display to take victory at the Chinese GP just over a week ago.
However, since Shanghai, his stock has sky-rocketed and now the latest speculation is an agreement between the current Red Bull man and Ferrari for talks over a potential move for next year has likely been signed.
“There are many different types of contractual options, but this one is said to be on both sides up to a defined date (reportedly June 30). Up until that time, neither party can officially negotiate with another,” reports Motorsport Magazine writer and Sky Sports analyst Mark Hughes.
"The driver is effectively locking himself out of the market for that time, discussions for his post-2018 services are contractually ‘owned’ by the team in this case Ferrari."
Hughes describes such agreements as "conventional" in F1 and also explains why there is high confidence that the talks are taking place with the Scuderia.
“Those privy to such matters at Red Bull are adamant that he has definitely signed something, somewhere but it’s not with them and it’s not with Mercedes. Logically, therefore, it must be Ferrari,” he claimed.
This comes despite many people anticipating Ricciardo would be more likely a target for Mercedes to replace Valtteri Bottas or, as ex-F1 driver Martin Brundle suggested, potentially even Lewis Hamilton, with his own contract talks still ongoing.
All this is leaving Red Bull in limbo and now team boss Christian Horner has stepped up the pressure by setting his own deadline for the six-time Grand Prix winner to make his call.
"There should be a decision by the summer break at the latest. We do not want to wait forever,” the Briton told Auto Motor und Sport.
"We have other good options. Our priority is to continue working with Daniel, but if that doesn't work out, we'll look to those other options."
Those options are Carlos Sainz, currently on loan from Red Bull at Renault with Pierre Gasly forcing his way into the picture after his recent performance in Bahrain.
Fernando Alonso defends F1 decision-maki
Using Pierre Gasly as a No.2 driver 'off
Esteban Ocon admits he is depending on F
Sebastian Vettel believes emphasis is on
Daniel Ricciardo admits lack of competit
Hamilton/Verstappen F1's 'dream team' bu
Red Bull not interested in Formula E: 'I
Carlos Sainz rues focus on the negatives
Max Verstappen praised for his approach
Ferrari insist Mick Schumacher signing i
Pierre Gasly admits rate of Honda engine
Lewis Hamilton lacked freedom of express
Red Bull reveal why 2007 Fernando Alonso
Could Finland finally host an F1 Grand P
Michael Schumacher 'would be extremely p
Daniel Ricciardo claims Honda fears larg
Robert Kubica claims he is more like a '
UK motorsport chief & F1 teams consider
Mick Schumacher finally confirms joining
Opinion: Charles Leclerc can learn from
Honda identify an ability Mercedes & Fer
Sebastian Vettel could be next 'shock' F
Valtteri Bottas 'fully recharged' ahead
Daniel Ricciardo: Everyone in F1 knows N
Sergio Perez: Esteban Ocon's year as Mer
Max Verstappen heads into 2019 'ready to
Red Bull reveal why Sebastien Buemi was
McLaren post partial glimpse of 2019 car
Toro Rosso willing to sacrifice 2019 sea
Ferrari target shakedown of 2019 F1 car
Renault now ready to 'attack' in quest f
Felipe Massa offers insight into his F1
Robert Kubica: Fernando Alonso's divisiv
Pierre Gasly has a message for Red Bull
Mercedes ties prevented Esteban Ocon fro
Lando Norris brushes off pressure of avo
Ferrari chairman rejects Maurizio Arriva
Early 2019 aero development saw 'big hit
Adrian Newey reinvigorated by Red Bull's
Niki Lauda released from hospital after
Mick Schumacher likely to test 2019 Ferr
Lewis Hamilton will finish his F1 career
Mercedes' Toto Wolff hints at Red Bull t
Daniel Ricciardo joining Renault a year
McLaren & Williams failing because of th
Sergio Perez reveals why he snubbed oppo
Stefano Domenicali linked with Ferrari r
Mercedes boss recalls 'amazing' first me
Max Verstappen now faster than Daniel Ri
Pirelli unfazed by 2021 F1 uncertainty b
McLaren taking measures to improve relia
Esteban Ocon issue simple 2020 F1 ultima
Toro Rosso's 2019 car the first to pass
Max Verstappen enjoys 'constructive' day
McLaren sure Fernando Alonso exit won't
Sergio Perez: Racing Point the best team
Haas still has to 'earn the respect' of
Carlos Sainz already looking for long-te
Formula 1 star Pierre Gasly to partner L
Vietnam's F1 circuit developed using fir
Hockenheim & Monza proved 'things weren'
Honda defiant over claims of setbacks wi
Daniel Ricciardo will boost Renault but
Mick Schumacher knows rushing to F1 woul
Nico Rosberg names one quality Hamilton
McLaren appoint ex-Porsche WEC chief And
Williams: Robert Kubica a 'proper driver
Canadian GP promoter excited by Stroll/P
Ross Brawn: McLaren & Williams 'great te
Michael Schumacher pushed Mercedes to go
Esteban Ocon tips Racing Point to close
Mattia Binotto must deliver championship
Toro Rosso's Franz Tost has simple cure
UPDATED: Pneumonia not the cause for Nik
Sauber set their target after 'pushing l
Romain Grosjean: Haas 'scaring' Renault
Charles Leclerc a future star but 2019 n
Is the opposition to Hamilton/Schumacher
Sebastian Vettel plays down loss of deve
Charles Leclerc responds to Hamilton nam
Honda bringing Red Bull 'in the region'
Renault obliged to prevent Daniel Riccia
Ferrari confirm Maurizio Arrivabene's de
Valtteri Bottas sees positive outlook fo
Haas wary of 2019 F1 regulations but Wil
Ross Brawn admits growing 'impatience' a
Mercedes hoping potential to match Ferra
Sauber considering shakedown of 2019 car
McLaren sure Liberty will address rise o
Arrivabene out, Binotto promoted to team
Niki Lauda back in hospital after contra
Honda facing two significant problems ah
Williams chief Lowe reveals Ross Brawn's
Mercedes tells Valtteri Bottas what is r
Honda sees great benefit from increased
Lawrence Stroll reveals main reason for
Robert Kubica admits saying no to Ferrar
Nico Hulkenberg: The key area Ricciardo
Kimi Raikkonen not making Sauber predict
Lewis Hamilton never asked for Sochi tea