Daniel Ricciardo confirmed at Red Bull for 2014 F1 season
The minute Mark Webber announced his decision to quit Formula 1 in favour of a drive with Porsche's LMP1 team next year, the Formula 1 paddock with rife with speculation about who would fill the spare seat at Red Bull Racing. It appeared that the team had options aplenty. There was Kimi Raikkonen, who had impressed the teams with his return to Formula 1, and could do with the backing of a team with some resources. There was Daniel Ricciardo who had been a part of Red Bull's Junior Team since 2008. F1's silly season had well and truly begun.
Daniel Ricciardo had been a part of Red Bull's Junior Team since 2008
Then, there was Mark Webber's comments that gave people some clue as to his successor, when he said that everyone knew who would take his spot in the team, and that he believed it was a good thing for Australia.
Sure enough, it was the other Australian driver on the grid, Daniel Ricciardo who was announced as the second Red Bull Racing driver for 2014. Ricciardo will partner Sebastian Vettel in a multi-year contract that will start next year.
Christian Horner, team principal of Red Bull Racing declared "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." Horner went on to say that "Daniel knows what the team expects from him; he'll learn quickly and it's very much a medium to long term view that we're taking in developing him. The seat within the team is a wonderful opportunity and I think he's going to be a big star of the future."
A visibly elated Ricciardo said "I feel very, very good at the moment and obviously there's a lot of excitement running through me. Since joining F1 in 2011, I hoped this would happen and over time the belief in me has grown; I had some good results and Red Bull has decided that this is it, so it's a good time. Next year I'll be with a Championship-winning team, arguably the best team, and will be expected to deliver. I'm ready for that. I'm not here to run around in tenth place, I want to get the best results for myself and the team."
Will Daniel go the Felipe Massa way or the Mark Webber way? That remains to be seen. As we've seen in Formula 1 so far, the number 1 driver tag is really no myth!