After months of speculation, and various names being linked to the seat, Formula One’s worst kept secret has finally been confirmed. Red Bull have announced that Daniel Ricciardo will partner Sebastian Vettel for the 2014 season.
The announcement came on Austrian TV channel Servus TV, where Helmut Marko appeared with Ricciardo, who will replace fellow Aussie Mark Webber at the end of the year. Red Bull followed this with an announcement on their official website entitled ‘Dan’s the Man for 2014‘.
Ricciardo said: “I feel very very good, obviously there’s a lot of excitement running through me right now. It’s great news – it is something I’ve worked for and to hear the news I wanted is great so it’s the next step in my career now.”
Ricciardo became the front-runner to join Red Bull after Kimi Raikkonen’s manager admitted to Finnish press that talks had broken down. The announcement is also an endorsement for Red Bull’s Young Driver programme of which Sebastian Vettel is a product. After Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastian Buemi were controversially dropped at the end of the 2011 season, Helmut Marko insisted that Toro Rosso was designed to give young drivers a chance and develop them into race winners. With two seasons under his belt with Toro Rosso, Red Bull have obviously seen the potential in him to entrust him with a seat at the three time world championship winning team.
Team Principal Christian Horner confirmed this: “He’s a product of the Red Bull Junior programme and he really deserves this graduation on merit. He’s a talented youngster, he’s committed, he’s got a great attitude and in the end it was a very logical choice for us.”
Ricciardo joined Formula One in 2011 when he got a drive mid-way through the season with HRT. He was promoted to a Toro Rosso drive in 2012 and retained for 2013. His best result was seventh at this year’s Chinese Grand Prix and he currently lies 14th in the championship. In the past he has won the Formula Renault 2.0 championship and the British Formula Three championship.
For more reaction from Ricciardo, Horner and Adrian Newey visit the team’s website: http://www.infiniti-redbullracing.com