Red Bull to Take Sebastian Vettel Route by Naming Daniel Ricciardo at Spa

Ben BlackmoreFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2013

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 28:  Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Scuderia Toro Rosso prepares to drive during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at Hungaroring on July 28, 2013 in Budapest, Hungary.  (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
Peter Fox/Getty Images

Daniel Ricciardo will be named by Red Bull as Mark Webber’s replacement for the 2014 season, reports Bild newspaper, via Sky Sports.


UPDATE: Monday, August 19, at 14:55 p.m. BST

Turkish media outlet Turun Sanomat claims via ESPN F1:

"The negotiations with [Kimi Raikkonen and] Red Bull were not successful and ended some time ago," Raikkonen's manager, Steve Robertson, said.

---End of update---


UPDATE: Monday, August 19, at 12:25 p.m. BST

ESPN F1 sounds a word of caution over the Ricciardo announcement:

---End of update---


Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso had been linked to the Red Bull vacancy—created by Webber’s decision to leave at the end of the campaignbut Ricciardo is set to walk a path previously taken by current world champion Vettel.

Sky Sports’ Pete Gill details the career parallel:

The Toro Rosso youngster's promotion would be an endorsement of Red Bull's Young Driver Programme, from which Vettel himself graduated before winning the first of his three World Championships.

It is expected that the decision will be made official at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, which has become a notorious setting for driver lineup announcements.

Bild quotes Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, who commented: "We won't say anything before Spa, that's all I can say.”

Lotus driver Raikkonen had been the favourite to replace Webber in the Red Bull hot seat, and his potential signing had even been championed by Vettel himself to the BBC (via ESPN).

It was clear that Raikkonen was favoured by Vettel over the appointment of Alonso, who has been a long-term rival and occasional antagonist of the world champion.

Ricciardo promotes a healthy team message for Red Bull, rewarding his recent form for junior team Toro Rosso. His performances in qualifying have particularly caught the eye, making Q3 for the fourth time in as many races in Hungary.

Race pace has not been so impressive for the 24-year-old—picking up 11 points all season—but his qualifying efforts are seen as a better indicator of his potential in addition to his recent Young Driver Test, when he piloted the RB9 just a couple of 10ths shy of Vettel's fastest time.

Red Bull’s decision to show faith in Ricciardo will have a knock-on effect for Ferrari, where the soon-to-be-out-of-contract Raikkonen has been linked in recent weeks, according to the BBC.

Felipe Massa’s position is under threat, currently sitting seventh in the world standings on 61 points, and it is rumoured Raikkonen may make his Ferrari return for the 2014 season.