Ricciardo to join Red Bull in 2014

Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo will replace Mark Webber at Red Bull Racing next season.

The Australian, currently driving for Toro Rosso, will replace compatriot Webber after the latter announced his retirement from the sport in June.

Speculation swept the paddock, linking Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen with the seat. The Finn however distanced himself from the rumours but admitted talks had taken place between himself and the team.

At the Belgian Grand Prix, Webber effectively confirmed Ricciardo in the Tilbrook-team, saying “It’s good for Australia.”

And on Monday night, the team made it official ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

Team boss Christian Horner said: “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.

“He joined the Red Bull Junior Team in 2008 and we’ve seen in his junior career in Formula 3 and Renault World Series that he’s capable of winning races and championships. He’s stood out in each of these categories and we’ve followed his progress with great interest. He’s got all the attributes that are required to drive for our team: he’s got a great natural ability, he’s a good personality and a great guy to work with.

“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.”

Speaking about the move, Ricciardo was delighted to sign with the world champions.

He 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.

“I would like to thank the team for giving me the opportunity to show what I can do. I know the team quite well already since being its reserve driver in 2010, which should make the transition easier.

“It will be a great challenge to be up against Sebastian Vettel, I’m looking forward to that.

“My aim is to finish this season as strong as possible, for myself and Scuderia Toro Rosso. Then, once the off-season is here, I’ll be fully focussed on next year and the next stage of my career.”