There are few jobs in the world as highly coveted as a seat with a Formula One team - especially a top team like Red Bull, which has been dominating the series now for four years running. So when Mark Webber announced he was leaving F1 to join Porsche at Le Mans, it wasn't a matter of whether the team would find a replacement – it was only a matter of who that replacement would be. And now Red Bull has revealed the answer.

Filling Webber's seat and joining multiple world champion Sebastian Vettel at Infiniti Red Bull Racing next season will be Daniel Ricciardo. An Australian like Webber, Ricciardo followed a similar path to Vettel, advancing through Red Bull's driver development program and starting out with the 'junior squad' at Scuderia Toro Rosso. Although Vettel had already won his first grand prix by the time he was called up point, Ricciardo has yet to score a podium finish. He has, however, proven his mettle by winning both the Formula Renault 2.0 and British Formula Three championships.

Choosing an up-and-comer like Ricciardo instead of bringing in an established talent like Kimi Raikkonen was undoubtedly a difficult decision for team principal Christian Horner, technical director Adrian Newey, Red Bull chief Dietrich Mateschitz and his racing deputy Helmut Marko. But in the end the decision reminded Newey of his days at Williams when they had to find a replacement for Nigel Mansell to partner with Alain Prost. They went with their test driver Damon Hill, who went on to win the world championship. Whether Ricciardo can live up to expectations remains to be seen, but there'll be plenty of people watching to find out. In the meantime you can watch the brief video clip and read the official announcement below.

Show full PR text
2014: VETTEL AND RICCIARDO
DAN'S THE MAN FOR 2014

We confirm that Daniel Ricciardo will drive for the Team in 2014. As Sebastian Vettel is already confirmed for next year, this concludes the Team's 2014 driver line-up.

Christian Horner: "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."

Adrian Newey: "Since Mark announced his retirement, Christian and I have been looking carefully at the driver market, along with Helmut Marko and Dietrich Mateschitz. We could have taken an experienced driver, somebody guaranteed to deliver to a relatively known level, or equally we could take on a much younger driver in the hope that they'll develop to a very high level. We looked at the latter option and concluded that of the younger drivers, Daniel is the most promising. From Red Bull's point of view that also fits well because the driver that Christian and I feel is the most promising is part of the Red Bull young driver programme. The decision actually reminded me a little bit of a similar situation we had when I was at Williams. Nigel Mansell was leaving and we needed someone alongside Alain Prost. We could stick with Riccardo Patrese or take a punt on a young driver called Damon Hill who was our test driver at the time. I think it's good to bring young blood in and give promising drivers a chance."

Daniel Ricciardo: "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."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      The Law
      • 1 Year Ago
      Vettel's preferred choice.
      safeerexus
      • 1 Year Ago
      He doesn't deserve the Red Bull seat as he doesn't have the consistency or raw speed that is needed to drive for a top team. Drivers like Nico Hulkenberg are the ones who deserve competitive cars. Maybe this fool will get lucky & start 2014 on the same 'high' that Sergio Perez started 2013 moving to a team that nobody expected to fall off the cliff...namely McLaren. All the best a$$0le.
      stevenh
      • 1 Year Ago
      They wanted a lapdog that would obey and not challenge Vettel. If the team was serious they would have chosen a much better driver, Ricciardo is a very average driver and he should be paying Red Bull for the ride because in a flash his points standing will be much higher due to the car. Would have great if they had Kimi because he would give Vettel a challenge and perhaps dominate him
      ChrisD
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well thats good, they wouldnt want two winning drivers on the team like Vettel and Webber. this way they have a winning/lead driver and a losing/junior driver. Good-bye manufactures title.
      mktnb
      • 1 Year Ago
      Nice (team) choice. Weber started F1 with Minardi (now STR) as well -- leverage that development team.
      mxsleeper
      • 1 Year Ago
      So he's a pretty good racer too? I liked him in American Pie.
      JIM J
      • 1 Year Ago
      RB has the Championship all but sealed this year - again. And too the Constructor's Championship - again. That's where the money is. Although I would have liked to see Kimi or Alonso fill Webber's slot, Ricciardo saves them a huge amount of money that either former champion. And remember too, a huge amount has been spent developing next years V6/cars. How much money does Ricciardo bring to the table? They get Ricciardo cheap and still have a Championship car/driver combo in Vettel. If he doesn't work out, there will be others clamoring for his seat and RB will have the pick of the litter.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]