Ricciardo still expects long-term driver moves in 2021 despite 'surprising' rules delay

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Daniel Ricciardo still expects drivers to sign multi-year contracts in 2021, despite the expected regulation changes now being delayed.

As it stands, only a handful of names are signed to their respective teams for next season with the rest expecting to survey the landscape as several seats at the top three outfits became available.

But now with stable technical rules until the end of 2021, it has altered the dynamic as those drivers face a tough choice to either commit only for a single year before the changes come or place trust in whoever they sign with.

"Everything's messed up right now and it's hard to say, but my best guess is that people will make the decisions they want to irrespective of how things have changed," Ricciardo, who is one of the higher-profile drivers out of contract after 2020, told Australian newspaper The Age.

"I find it hard to believe that anyone would sign a one-year deal just to be a free agent for '22 because of the risks involved.

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"Unless you're in a unique situation, one year is normally far from ideal, so I imagine any contracts signed from now will carry over from the old regs to the new regs now coming on for '22.

"It does make it interesting when you consider most of us aren't contracted after this year besides Max [Verstappen] and Charles [Leclerc]."

The decision to delay the new regulations came as a result of financial concerns caused by the current coronavirus pandemic, which has seen the first eight races scheduled this season either be postponed or cancelled.

But Ricciardo admits he was slightly taken aback by that move.

"My first thought when I heard the news was surprise that it would be delayed, so I need to digest things more before working out how I feel about it other than that," he explained.

"So much is up in the air right now that anything seems possible."