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Ricciardo reportedly set to sign for Red Bull

Aug 18, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

F1 Young Driver Tests - Silverstone: Day Two Getty Images

Reports from the German media last night claimed that Daniel Ricciardo has won the race to replace Mark Webber at Red Bull next season, with an announcement due in Belgium next weekend.

Webber confirmed at the British Grand Prix that he would be leaving Red Bull at the end of the season and walking away from Formula One in favor of a move to Porsche’s newly-revived LMP1 programme, which will see the Australian driver race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans next season. However, this did spark a race to fill his vacant seat, with Red Bull originally shortlisting Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne and Kimi Raikkonen for the seat before ruling Vergne out of the running.

The thinking behind the decision for Red Bull has always been relatively simple: Raikkonen is the quicker driver but may upset the internal relationships at the team (i.e. Sebastian Vettel); Ricciardo would not, but is not as able as Raikkonen. Also, snubbing Ricciardo would undermine the use of Scuderia Toro Rosso as a feeder team.

According to German publication Sport Bild, the team has refused to deny that Ricciardo is on the verge of signing for the team whilst making more vocal comments over the likelihood of Fernando Alonso or Kimi Raikkonen making the move. Team advisor Helmut Marko has also marked the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps as being the date after which more information will become apparent.

Red Bull are known for wanting to confirm their driver line-up earlier rather than later, making an early announcement feasible.

This news would also trigger the formation of next season’s driver market, allowing Antonio Felix da Costa to take up the second seat at Red Bull alongside Vergne, although questions still hang over Felipe Massa’s head as rumors circulate suggesting that Kimi Raikkonen could be looking for a way out of Lotus.

  1. bikingscr016 - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    If true, Seb breathes a sigh of relief because you know he didn’t want to have to compete with Kimi.

    • apexassassin - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      Lol. Riiiiiiiiight.

  2. apexassassin - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Dieter and Red Bull have always maintained they wanted to keep an Aussie in the car for promotional reasons, so this has always been the most logical option for them despite what many of us wanted to see – Kimi at RBR.

    We’ll see though, nothing is announced… they could shock everyone and sign Massa, lol.

  3. bikingscr016 - Aug 18, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Sorry, they’re not signing Massa.

    • lewymp4 - Aug 18, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      If Massa doesn’t retain his seat at Ferrari, and I believe that he won’t. This could be good opportunity for Hulkenberg to wind up on a top team like Ferrari.

  4. spec1r - Aug 18, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    I thought the whole idea was to sign on the fastest drivers you can get for your team to help ensure maximum manufacture points instead of tending your top driver’s feelings.

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