The replacement of Mark Webber as Red Bull’s new driver has finally been named. Fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo will be representing Red Bull in 2014 and beyond. According to several media reports, Ricciardo has entered a minimally three-year deal. On Red Bull-owned Austrian television Servus TV, Dr Helmut Marko said, “Continuity is important to us."
He pointed out that Ricciardo was the youngest candidate and also had the most potential. Other drivers considered for the seat include Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso. A “very logical choice” is how team boss Christian Horner describes Ricciardo. Designer Adrian Newey said that Red Bull opted not to get a more experienced, more known driver.
It also didn’t choose a much younger driver that they can bring to a “very high level.” He likened the decision to Williams' deliberations at the end of 1992, when the new champion Nigel Mansell left. Newey said that they could have selected Riccardo Patrese or take a chance on test driver Damon Hill. He further said that bringing in “young blood” is good.
Meanwhile, Red Bull's decision may be understood to be a nod to German Vettel's rising influence at the team as he prepares to achieve a fourth straight world championship this year. Already, Ricciardo has been referred to as a “nobody” by the German newspapers Welt and Bild. It was also reported that Vettel’s opinion was asked but that it was a team decision.