It surely has been the worst kept secret in Formula 1; Daniel Ricciardo will partner Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull in 2014 and it will be announced in Monza next month.
When pressed for confirmation by BBC Sport pundit Eddie Jordan over the weekend, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner certainly did not deny this was indeed the case.
“He did a great job for us in the test that he did and he’s an exciting young prospect. He’s been a part of the junior programme for a long time and he’s a very exciting young talent," said Horner.
So whilst we now know almost for certain about the identity of Vettel’s new teammate, will he be a success at Red Bull?
Whilst Ricciardo hasn’t pulled up any huge roots this season with his performances this season—the highlight being a seventh place finish in China—he looks set to be just fine at Red Bull, although success is not guaranteed to come in his first season at the team.
Taking over from Mark Webber seems a like-for-like replacement in a way. One straight-talking, no-nonsense Aussie for another. And speaking in the August issue of F1 Racing magazine, Horner makes no secret of the fact that he rates the young Aussie on the circuit.
Both Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo had excellent junior careers and they’re both in a learning phase, as they’ve come into Formula 1. Both are exciting prospects for the future. The fundamental question is whether either of them are ready? That’s something we will have to look at and contemplate quite carefully, but they certainly deserve their place in Formula 1.
Toro Rosso do an excellent job in developing these young drivers and we’ve seen that Sebastian Vettel is the most successful graduate from that team.
Red Bull, of course, will be a huge step up from Toro Rosso and there will be the added pressure of Ricciardo being expected to fight for wins in what may still be the fastest car on the grid. But who better to learn from than the great Vettel, who will in all probability be a four-time world champion when Ricciardo joins him.
Having Ricciardo at the team also seems to be ideal for Vettel. He will be the undoubted number one driver and won’t be put under the same kind of pressure that a Kimi Raikkonen or a Fernando Alonso might.
Whilst Webber found it difficult accepting any kind of suggestion about a team hierarchy, as emphatically highlighted by his “not bad for a number two driver” when winning at Silverstone, Ricciardo is unlikely to be quite as vociferous.
“I get along quite well with him,” Vettel told BBC Sport. “And as you said surely Australia wouldn’t mind so why not?”
Why not indeed. And if the words of Webber on Channel Ten News are anything to go by, Australia will indeed by happy.
"I think the decision's made. We all know who it is. I'm happy with that decision. It's good for him and good for Australia," Webber said.