It is virtually certain that Red Bull has signed Daniel Ricciardo to replace his departing countryman Mark Webber in 2014.
That is the claim of Sport Bild, whose correspondents Bianca Garloff and Ralf Bach said the news about Sebastian Vettel’s new teammate will be announced at the Belgian Grand Prix in a week’s time.
“Unfortunately, I cannot say any more than that we will make an announcement at Spa,” said the energy drink-owned outfit’s Helmut Marko.
23-year-old Ricciardo’s move to Red Bull ties in with reports that Kimi Raikkonen is returning to Ferrari.
Australian Ricciardo told Sport Bild just before the summer break that, if selected to race alongside Vettel in 2014, he expects to get along with the reigning world champion.
“I know Seb quite well,” he said, “as I was the reserve driver in 2010. I was out for dinner with him a few times and we get on really well.”
Ricciardo admitted, however, that he is not immediately expecting equal status with his German stablemate.
“Of course not at the start of the season,” he said, “but I’m in Formula 1 to be the best.”
Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz had indicated before the summer break that they would announce the decision shortly after the season resumed again in Belgium.
At the time Jean Eric Vergne and Kimi Raikkonen were also candidates for Webber’s coveted seat. However signals emerging from the fizzy drinks camp were that Vergne was not being considered, while the Raikkonen option was always tentative. (GMM-Apex)