Daniel Ricciardo Confirmed as Red Bull Driver for 2014
Red Bull Racing's highly coveted second seat for the 2014 Formula One season has officially been filled, as the team announced Monday that Daniel Ricciardo will be taking over the ride.
NBC Sports' Formula One Twitter feed first reported that Ricciardo had beaten out the bevy of contenders for the No. 2 car:
Daniel Ricciardo has been confirmed as Red Bull's second driver for 2014, becoming Sebastian Vettel's teammate. #F1onNBC— F1® Racing on NBC (@F1onNBCSports) September 2, 2013
The Australian racer faced fierce competition for the ride, but had been expected to make the leap for some weeks. Ricciardo, 24, has been with Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso since 2012 and is considered one of the sport's most promising young drivers.
Red Bull Racing released a video that accompanied the announcement:
Kimi Raikkonen had also been oft-rumored for the seat, per Autosport.com's Jonathan Noble. The 33-year-old Finnish racer would have given Red Bull someone with a greater track record, with Raikkonen boasting 20 career wins and the 2007 Formula One championship. However, talks broke down when the two sides were in negotiations, leaving Red Bull little choice but to take a chance on its up-and-comer.
Ricciardo has competed in just 42 Formula One events. He has a best finish of seventh and will make the move after only two-and-a-half years in the car.
Expectations will be high, however, as he joins Sebastian Vettel on the racing giant. Red Bull Racing has developed a stranglehold over the Formula One world, winning the Constructors' Championship in each of the past three seasons. They are on pace to do so again, with Vettel emerging as the sport's most dominant fixture.
The 26-year-old German has earned a three-peat in individual championships, and holds a 46-point lead over Fernando Alonso heading into Sunday's Italian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo will replace Mark Webber, who is retiring from Formula One at the end of this season. Webber's decision had been long rumored, as tensions had risen between he and Vettel during their time as teammates.
The 37-year-old Australian will move on to race in Porsche's new program. He will participate in the Le Mans 24 Hours race for the luxury brand, which has made a move to expand its reach in the racing world in recent years. He is currently in fifth place in the standings.
Webber will continue driving the No. 2 car for the remainder of the season. There are eight more races in the 2013 Formula One season, which concludes in Brazil on Nov. 24.
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