Red Bull confirms Ricciardo
03 September 2013, 13:23
England - Daniel Ricciardo will replace compatriot Mark Webber at Formula 1 World champion team Red Bull in 2014.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said Ricciardo, who will partner triple champion Sebastian Vettel under a multi-year agreement, was "going to be a big star of the future."
The decision ended speculation about that Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso were in-line for a switch. The focus will now be on Felipe Massa at Ferrari and whether the veteran can keep his seat.
Horner said in a statement: "It's fantastic to confirm Daniel as the team's race driver for 2014. He's a very talented youngster, he's committed, he's got a great attitude and in the end it was a very logical choice for us to choose Daniel. He has all the attributes required to drive for our team: great natural ability, good personality, great guy to work with.
"Daniel knows what the team expects from him."
Ricciardo, who was Red Bull reserve in 2010, is currently with Toro Rosso and is 14th in the championship after 11 races with 12 points.
The seat became available after Webber announced in June 2013 that he would be leaving F1 to race for Porsche in its Le Mans sports car programme. Webber had already told reporters at the 2013 Belgian GP that Ricciardo had the job, although Horner denied a decision had been made.
Horner said Red Bull, which has won the three most recent Drivers' and Constructors' titles and is on course to win both again in 2013, were taking a "medium to long-term view" in Ricciardo's development.
PARTNERING WITH VETTEL
Ricciardo said: "Since joining F1 in 2011 I'd hoped this would happen. I'll be with a championship-winning team, arguably the best team, and be expected to deliver. I'm ready for that.
"It will be a great challenge to be up against Sebastian Vettel."
Adrian Newey, Red Bull's chief technical officer, said they could have gone for a more experienced driver but concluded it was better to take on a younger man and develop him.
Newey said: "From Red Bull's point of view that also fits well because the driver that Christian and I feel is the most promising is part of the Red Bull young driver programme.
"The decision actually reminded me a little bit of a similar situation we had when I was at Williams. Nigel Mansell was leaving and we needed someone alongside Alain Prost.
"We could stick with Riccardo Patrese or take a punt on a young driver called Damon Hill who was our test driver at the time. I think it's good to bring young blood in and give promising drivers a chance."