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Ricciardo to Red Bull? Two perspectives from team boss and team mate
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Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Aug 2013   |  11:48 am GMT  |  169 comments

Since late June when Mark Webber announced his decision to retire, one of the most intriguing stories in F1 has been the question, who will replace him? The list of applicants is long, and allegedly includes Fernando Alonso, but the list of candidates is short: Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen.

Some recent quotes from Ricciardo’s team mate Jean Eric Vergne and from his Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost shed some light on the considerations and deliberations going on behind the scenes and why Vergne was cut from the original short list of three to replace Webber.

“Red Bull is the world champion team and it needs a driver who is going to score points at every race, to win the title,” said Vergne in L’Equipe. “If you look at the results this year, I’ve scored more points than Ricciardo, but he’s finished all the races, I haven’t.. I have a label on my back. Even if it’s false, in the paddock Ricciardo is seen as consistent and I’m not.

“The choice is complicated; Horner isn’t the only one making the decision. Adrian Newey has a say, as does Dietrich Mateschitz and Helmut Marko. I understand the risks they take, hiring a young driver like Daniel or me. And seeing a driver who doesn’t finish half his races unsettles them.”

Vergne said that most of his retirements, Australia excepted, were not his fault and added, “If you look at the races where I don’t have a problem, I blew my team mate away! He doesn’t exist!”

Vergne has been told by Marko that despite not making the short list for Webber’s seat, his seat at Toro Rosso is secure for 2014. Jaime Alguersuari could point out that he was told something similar at the end of 2011, only to find Vergne sitting in his car instead at the start of 2012.

Apart from his poor finishing record, Vergne’s main problem appears to be pure speed in qualifying – in 30 races together he has been outqualified by Ricciardo 22 times and often by significant margins. Since the start of 2012, Vergne has only twice got into Q3, to Ricciardo’s eight times (including the last three Grands Prix).

Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost spoke to F1.com last week about the deliberations over the second Red Bull seat and said, “Analysis has shown that Daniel is going strong so far – especially in qualifying – that he has raised his game continuously and there is still half the season go where he can gain even more experience.

“He must never forget one thing: he would be moving to Red Bull Racing – the three-time world championship team – which means that the bar is pretty high. To race alongside Sebastian (Vettel) you better have what it takes if you are not planning to drown. And I think that Daniel – should Red Bull point at him – has it.”

As for Vergne’s prospects, Tost said, “Nothing has been decided yet, even if Jean-Eric was never really in the shortlist of Red Bull Racing. As far as I know. Daniel has 13 races more under his belt – and that does make a difference.” (Ricciardo did half a season in 2011 with HRT)

Tost sounded as though he’s been giving Ricciardo plenty of encouragement, “I told him that he’s got six months now – if Red Bull Racing picks you – to prepare for 2014 and never forgetting along that way that in 2014 you will be the team mate of a three-time champion. Prepare mentally…”

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169 Comments
  1. BenM says:

    Vergne has a pretty selective memory if he thinks he’s blown Ricciardo away when he hasn’t had a problem.

    1. gudien says:

      JEV’s memory aside does it really matter whom is selected to replace Mark Webber? Sebastian Vettel will remain the #1 driver for Red Bull and make it exceedingly difficult for a new teammate to make his mark at the team.

      Interesting to read Adrian Newey has input in this decision.

      1. Simmo says:

        Newey has to design the car around the drivers. Although it will mainly be for Vettel, he will want somebody who suits Vettel’s car best.

      2. chris green says:

        newey needs driver’s that give accurate technical feedback about the car plus driver’s who are capable of feeling differences in set-up.

        eg. – a driver like ronnie peterson was blisteringly fast but wasn’t too flash on the development side.

      3. aveli says:

        designing a car around a driver is a myth.

      4. marko says:

        Drivers make or break the developement for a car – ask Ross Brawn why he got Shuey back – Rosberg might be fast but he is technically illiterate.

        Ricciardo will be basically a test driver in the 2nd seat at RB, just like Webber has been for the past 2 years, and he will love every minute of it.

      5. shortsighted says:

        I think the fast improving Mercedes with their 2 of the best drivers is the worry of Red Bull. So it is not unusual that they are looking to have 2 equally competent drivers who can not only win the Drivers’ Championship but outscore the opponents, including especially Mercedes, possibly the closest Manufacturing Championship contender in 2014. Kimi is a better bet but whether he can be enticed into joining the team and face a possibly faster as well as very consistent Vettel remains to be seen.

      6. Elie says:

        Are you saying Kimi is neither fast or consistent ??. He has the record 27 consecutive points finishes with a dozen odd podiums and 2 wins in a Lotus – not a Newey design.. Ahhhemm!!!!

      7. Sebee says:

        Did you consider this?

        http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns26073.html

        It’s an interesting problem.

      8. Sujith says:

        With Adrian Newey also involved in the decision making, I could see Kimi’s chances for getting the seat increasing. Adrian has closely worked wtih Kimi in McLaren and yes when Adrian came up with a jewel of a Mclaren with the Mp4-20 Kimi was simply awesome in qualifying as well as the races where tyre management was again top priority. I watched some of the 2005 races again. James, you were commentating for ITV at that time and I am sure you’ve noticed how good he was in Quali when the McLaren was on Rails. So everything adds up in that respect. However, it is to be noted if Kimi still has that speed within him. 2005 was a long time ago. But with Kimi, nobody knows. He has to be convinced first, whatever RedBull says does not matter.

      9. Sujith says:

        And James, there has been a lot of rumors about Kimi going to Ferrari next year. Can you shed some light into that if you have some info?

        To be noted, if I was an F1 driver I would move to a manufacturer team for 2014 with the new rules coming in. Well see what Lewis has done..

      10. James Allen says:

        It was in a Finnish tabloid but my colleague out there who is the most eminent Finnish journo, well connected, says that he does not believe this to be correct

        I agree about manufacturer teams. Red Bull is the works Renault team so they will have had the same advance benefits in terms of packaging the drivetrain as Mercedes and Ferrari

      11. Sujith says:

        Thank you for the info James, as always. Read the article too.

  2. Random 79 says:

    ‘Nothing has been decided yet, even if Jean-Eric was never really in the shortlist of Red Bull Racing’

    A little friendly advice to Vergne: Get out of the meat grinder while you can before it spits you out like the others.

    I’m not going to say I’m a huge fan of JEV, but he’s hardly the worst driver on the grid and I imagine there’d be a few midfield teams having a look at him that might offer a slightly more secure seat and if I’m wrong about that then honestly it’s probably over for him anyway.

    1. Uwe says:

      “Get out of the meat grinder while you can before it spits you out like the others.”

      Oh, you think JEV should leave F1? Because F1 is one big meat grinder, not only Red Bull or STR.

      1. Random 79 says:

        No, just STR.

        I’d like to see him end up at maybe FI, Sauber, Williams, but I don’t like his chances: So far I think Liuzzi is the only driver to find another team after leaving STR and even then there still has to be a seat available.

        But you’re right: Some drivers leave on their own terms (at least publicly) but sooner or later F1 spits everyone out.

    2. Arno says:

      I think it s fair to say that if it s over for Vergne then it should be over for the overrated Ricciardo, beside still behind his team mate in the points despite 2 mechanical failure from Vergne….Who said F1 is solely based on results…

      Beside if Red Bull have an opportunity to hire a world champion, surely Dieter Matztechits would appriciate the new stature it would give to the team….

      1. Random 79 says:

        I wouldn’t argue with that (except to defend Ricciardo’s claim to the RBR seat) but my basic point is that at STR if you’re not moving forward then you’re toast, and it seems to me that Vergne is toast…but I hope I’m wrong.

  3. Thomas says:

    Actually JEV, Daniel retired from Australia with technical problems and Monaco because Grosjean… I don’t know how you equate that to finishing all of the races. People don’t say Vergne isn’t consistent, people say he’s not fast over one lap. The stats would tend to agree.

    1. Adrian says:

      RIC also had an exhaust failure in Malaysia.
      On another note, I haven’t seen many overtakes by JEV, but have seen RIC overtake Mercs, McLarens, Ferraris and Lotus on a dry track. Anyone who says RIC has nothing ‘special’ is ignorant. With fair treatment at RBR (unlikely), I think he could make VET very anxious.

      1. Arno says:

        the ignorance is not to understand that with the regulation in place(drs, kers, pirelli tyres..)it s very easy to overtake in specific situations during the race…no offence

  4. verstappen says:

    Red Bull’s strategy is about qualifying, so I can imagine they prefer Ricciardo. Poor Vergne, this was it then.

    1. gudien says:

      Thanks ‘Jos the Boss’ for the good observation regarding their strategy being about qualifying. Looking ahead to 2014 how will Red Bull’s strategy accommodate the new engines and rules, and which of the two men, Ricciardo or Raikkonen, will best fit that strategy?

      I must assume there will be great uncertainty for all the teams at the beginning of next season with the changes to the racing. Wouldn’t a team manager look to eliminate one uncertainty by putting an experienced driver in the second car?

  5. Steven L says:

    Ricci and Vergne have together proved that neither is worthy, one can qualify, one can race.

    The clue is in the statement, “needs a driver who is going to score points at every race, to win the title” This is clearly an anagram of “Kimi Raikkonen is Mr Very Consistent”

  6. Elie says:

    As an Aussie I should be over the moon for Ricciardo to get the seat at RBR but honestly I don’t see what the fuss is all about. Whilst I cannot agree with Vergne who’s obviously bitter- Im quite astonished by his comments actually- talk about an arrogant young bloke!.

    Daniel has yet to achieve his potential. He may certainly be another Mark Webber in the making but that could be a few years away yet. Is that the right solution for RBR in 2014?- Im not sure but if Raikkonen is not going to sign – then Daniel probably is the best placed.

    1. Me says:

      “As an Aussie I should be over the moon for Ricciardo to get the seat at RBR but honestly I don’t see what the fuss is all about. Whilst I cannot agree with Vergne who’s obviously bitter- Im quite astonished by his comments actually- talk about an arrogant young bloke!.”

      Biased much!

      1. Elie says:

        Why ????- because Im Australian and I think a Finnish driver is better or because Jean Eric is openly critical of his team mate. I’ve said many times before neither TR driver is good enough for the Red Bull seat.- just saying JEV’s comments are spiteful- which part of that did you Not understand?

      2. Doobs says:

        JEV isn’t being bitter, spiteful or arrogant. He’s pitching for a ride that will potentially be good enough to win the world championship.

      3. Elie says:

        Doobs – he’s not in the running for the RBR seat do you understand that ? & You don’t think his comment is arrogant?- what’s wrong with you people
        ” I blew my team mate away! He doesn’t exist!”
        Honestly you people need to grow some common sense or perhaps you don’t understand English very well.

      4. Random 79 says:

        Nothing wrong with a bit of honest patriotic bias. The Brits love Hamilton, the Germans love Vettel, the Spanish love Alonso, etc…

        Obviously I’m speaking very, very broadly there, but the point is that if you have a countryman in any sport you tend to like him and want him to do well, and if that countryman has a team-mate well…you tend to like them a little less and want them to do a little less well.

        Hence why a lot of Aussies can’t stand Vettel.

        It’s not right, it is biased, but it’s also human.

        p.s. If you think Vergne isn’t at least a little bitter you’re fooling yourself, but frankly I was more surprised by Tost’s comment ‘Jean-Eric was never really in the shortlist’. That’s a hell of a thing to come straight from the team principal.

      5. KRB says:

        Indeed … he might’ve just been relaying what came from the RBR heads, but yeah, you’d think as a TP you’d keep that sort of info far, far, far from any of your drivers’ ears.

      6. Ding wamage says:

        As a Finn, I have to say I really like Grosjean now. He’s fun, he’s unpredictable, he’s on his own planet a lot of the time, and he doesn’t care that his career in racing is on the line at almost every race! I think he’s the real badass in the Lotus team.

        But yes, you’re right in principle, and Vergne should be pissed off because he’s been treated unfairly. I never understood why he was not given a ride during the YDT. He’s a better racer than Ricciardo. Then again, maybe RB sees more marketing potential in Ricciardo. If that is the case, maybe they should say it.

      7. Fudge says:

        How exactly is that biased? He has just said he doesn’t see the fuss about his countryman (Ricciardo) and that Vergne’s comments are rather arrogant, which they are!

    2. KRB says:

      Yeah, dunno how Vergne can say the “he didn’t exist!” comment … in Hungary they both finished a lap down, and JEV was only ahead b/c of Ricciardo’s silly two-stop strategy.

      I remember when JEV was in the RBR Young Driver test a few years back … there was quite a lot of buzz about him then, but I’ve never really seen anything that made me sit up and notice him. I don’t think he has the speed, certainly less than Ricciardo.

  7. Andrew M says:

    “…to prepare for 2014 and never forgetting along that way that in 2014 you will be the team mate of a four-time champion. Prepare mentally…”

    Fix’d.

  8. K says:

    Ricciardo hasn’t shown anything that would make me think he is special or hugely talented. Same with Verne. Seriously, what have they shown that would make anyone think they deserve to be in a race winning team? No other team would even think of hiring them unless they bring a nice bag of cash.

    I saw Buemi (now 3rd driver RBR) doing more impressive stuff during his Torro Rosso days so he should get the drive before these 2. Or Kamui, he did some great stuff in his Sauber days. And above all of these Kimi should get it clearly.

    1. Random 79 says:

      You’re right: Neither of them have won a race at Monza yet…but come to think of it isn’t there a race in Monza next month?

      Generally speaking when a race seat goes vacant it’s the test/reserve driver who has an opportunity to step up, but so far as I know Buemi wasn’t ever considered.

      Buemi was effectively given the flick by being “promoted” as a RBR test driver, but he is frankly still the biggest success story to come from Toro Rosso since they promoted Vettel back in 2008/2009. Sad really.

      1. Fudge says:

        James, do you have any insight into why Buemi is not a viable candidate for the second Red Bull seat?

      2. Random 79 says:

        Accoding to Franz he (like the others they’ve ditched) is not a ‘race winner’.

        In other words, he’s not a Vettel, but since right now Horner and Newey already have a Vettel they don’t need another Vettel until their current Vettel thinks it might be time to become a Ferrari Vettel, in which case Ricciardo may become a Vettel otherwise Horner and Newey will have to have a quick look on Amazon or E-Bay or some such site to see if they can mail order a pre-loved Vettel.

        Hopefully that answers your question :)

      3. Neil says:

        Test / Reserve drivers don’t get the nod now – the testing ban means they done have enough running time.

        Nowadays – unlike the 90′s & early 00′s – test / reserve drivers are where you go when you didn’t quite make it.

        Today’s era – up and coming drivers need to be in a junior team to get mileage.

        Neil.

      4. Random 79 says:

        Precisely.

        Take Ricciardo & Buemi as an example:

        Ricciardo: Dodgy team -> Junior Team -> (Hopefully) Top Tier Team

        Buemi: Junior Team -> Tester -> Dead End

        Of course the other option is:

        Pay Driver -> Paid Driver…or broke :)

      5. dxs says:

        It annoys me when people refer to vettels first win, as though it shows he has natural talent above most others.. his team mate who was considered an average f1 driver at best, bourdais, qualified in the 2nd row at that race. The torro rosso was decent at some races when vettel was driving.. same with force india back in those days, they were fighting for wins at some of the lower downforce circuits etc..

        webber almost took the championship in 2010 as well.. after that the team fell in love with vettel – had a bias for him, and killed webbers confidence and belief that the team supported him.. where as vettel flourished with the team support.

        my point is all this talk about drivers being vastly better is a fallacy.. i think if the public and teams generally feel that a driver is better this boost their confidence, and they are free to be riskier.. when was the last time hamilton or alonso won a championship.. they are still considered great though, even if they crash..

      6. Random 79 says:

        Not sure if you took my comment too seriously or not but just to be clear it was meant to be taken tongue in cheek.

        Everything you say is true, and I’d add that to really succeed in F1 even the best drivers still need a great car.

  9. dj says:

    James, what do you think will happen to Vergne?

    1. Random 79 says:

      Suggestions anyone?

      I’d like to see him with his own cooking show ‘Cooking With JEV’

      Guests would include Scott Speed, Sébastien Bourdais, Sébastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari.

      1. petit says:

        JEV is French, so surely he’s a better cooker than driver. What a cliché. I bet that all aussies love pick-up trucks ?

        JEV is has far as i know as good as RIC. He experienced more technical failures than RIC, but scored more points last year and this year. In qualifying yes he is demolished… so what ?

        It’s RBR internal politic, marketing and vettel choice that are taken into accounts not RIC performances.

      2. Dan says:

        we dont have “pick up trucks” thats an American term.

      3. Random 79 says:

        First, believe it or not, the fact that JEV is French never even occurred to me, but having said that JEV as a chef was the first thing that sprung to mind…so probably yeah subconsciously I was thinking it but I meant no offense.

        But all Aussies loving pick-up trucks? No. Not even close. That is actually almost bordering on an insult. Some Aussies like utes, but pick-up trucks are for Americans.

        Second, JEV is a good driver and I reckon he does deserve to be in F1 and there’s no question he has more ability than certain others on the grid, but I have the feeling that he’ll be given the flick by TR sooner or later, so I think unless he finds another team pronto he’ll be gone, which will be a shame.

        That last sentence about RBR priorities? 100% correct.

        p.s. Thank goodness for spell checking: My first crack at ‘subconsciously ‘ at 5am was ‘subconsciensietially’ :)

      4. Random 79 says:

        …and I’ve broken the italics again…sorry :(

      5. Mark In Austalia says:

        Pick up trucks?

        We aren’t yanks!!! But we love a Holden Ute!!!

        Kimi should get the seat in any event. If he doesn’t than Dan should get the nod.

        I don’t know how much internal politic comes into it… but marketing and Seb’s choice definitely does.

        It will be interesting to see what transpires over the coming weeks and months.

        I’d love to see another Aussie in a Red Bull. I think Dan deserves it. But either way, whoever Red Bull go for, be it Kimi, Dan or JEV, I don’t think any of them will challenge Seb realistically.

      6. BenM says:

        Utes. Aussies like utes. We don’t have pickup trucks.

  10. Sebee says:

    Has anyone ever looked at marketability of a driver name? No offence to Jamie, but I’ve always had a hard time with his name, and even now couldn’t spell it without scrolling up. Perhaps that was a hurdle?

    Notice how the names of fast drivers have a ring to them and roll of the tongue. Shorter names also tend to dot F1 WDC history more too, right? Unless they sould like a military weapon of some sort. As in “Send out the Schumacher squadron to eliminate the target.” Or “Launch the Raikkonens now!”
    Otherwise…Prost, Senna, Vettel, Button, Alonso…short and sweet. Easy to say anywhere in the world.

    Anything to a name in making a driver make it in F1? Is this the reason unusual world name drivers do not make it in F1? Sato is short and has a good ring to it, and as a result he’s the longest serving Japanese driver, right?

    1. Sebee says:

      SOUND like a military weapon system! Thanks voice recognition. Sometimes you’re as good as those Xerox copiers that would change random numbers on copies.

    2. Random 79 says:

      If only we had a driver named Sebee…unbeatable :)

      1. Sebee says:

        It’s funny, because there were no Sebastians, then a whole bunch, now most successful driver on the grid is…
        :-)

      2. Jeremy J says:

        For a few seasons ‘STR’ stood for Sebastian Toro Rosso in my head.

      3. trevor says:

        “Pickup Trucks” We call em ute’s mate. Get it right

    3. Andrew M says:

      We need goferet to perform analysis on this topic as soon as possible.

      1. Sebee says:

        Just look here.

        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Formula_One_World_Drivers'_Champions

        Bottom line – a lot of 6 letter or less names on this list. Most top WDCs are 6 letters. Ain’t that a bit strange? So if you want success in F1, come with a 6 letter name.

      2. Puffing says:

        May be most names are made of six letters, then statiscally…

      3. Sebee says:

        Not in Russia or India. In China 4 letters is probably statisticaly first. Think G8 Puffing, and notice 6 letters sounding fast is preferred in F1. Schumacher being a huge exception not having a first name thats short either. After all, majority refer to the longer names as Mika or Kimi. So of you are good and have a long name, bring a short first name. Otherwise you end up Fisi.

      4. KRB says:

        Hmm, but if you go by syllables, from a very quick look, it looks as though 3 syllables is quite popular … Farina, Fangio, Ascari, Andretti, Schumacher, Hakkinen, Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton. That’s 9 DWCs.

        I guess 2 syllables has Hawthorn, Brabham, Surtees, Stewart, Lauda, Sheckter, Piquet, Rosberg, Senna, Mansell, Villeneuve, Button, Vettel … that’s 13.

        One syllable has Hill (3x – Phil, Graham, Damon), Clark, Hulme, Rindt, Hunt, Jones, Prost … 9 again.

        Then the outlier … Fittipaldi with 4 syllables. Maldonado’s screwed.

        Maybe that’s why Ricciardo asked that F1 commentators see the ‘i’ in his name as silent. :-)

      5. Sebee says:

        KRB,

        You just went 2nd Degree Black Belt on me!

    4. abashrawi says:

      Actually my last name is Albashrawi so his name is spot on for me :)

      1. Sebee says:

        What did the world do to Schumacher? Yup…Schumi – 6 letters! :-)

      2. Sebee says:

        BTW…I wonder about Scott Speed. Good racing name, falls in 6 letters or less category, as fast a name as you would want, plus an American driver. Why didn’t he make it in F1? Was it skill, or was it that he was unable to create a following fir his Speed brand in US? He looked like last good potential for F1 to have a US driver. Could they have given him better hardware for a season?

    5. don knowles says:

      What went wrong with Scott Speed?

      1. Sebee says:

        Funny…I just thought about him too above.

        I think timing was his enemy.

        I think there was not enough push yo get him into better hardware. He ended up at STR at the wrong time.

        Also, he bit the hand that fed him at the end, didn’t he? Perhaps out of frustration, but still. Just can’t do that.

      2. Sebee says:

        BTW, he’s only 30. He could make a comeback still. Probably best US driver option on the table. Problem is, no money behind him. Red Bull money was it.

    6. Matthew Cheshire says:

      I’m thinking Bruno won’t see it that way.

      1. Sebee says:

        This name recycling is funny. And only in F1 I think, at least on this scale. A whole new discussion can be had on this. But obviously the feeling must be that the name and F1 are so closely linked “refreshing” that link and past investment is something parties with say are interested in doing. But of recent ones, only Hill left his mark. Well…perhaps Piquet too.

      2. Matthew Cheshire says:

        Piquet junior left a mark on the concrete.

        But seriously, there is a lot to come with drivers as marketable brands in themselves. Schumacher got there in Germany at least. Look at how Michael Jordan was marketed 20 years ago. And Bolt today. Now look at the dodgy Rexona commercials with Kimi. Spot the difference?

        Does anyone have numbers on driver earnings for endorsements? Does Lewis beat Vettel on that one?
        It seems like Red Bull are only out to sell Red Bull and are content to let Vettel’s chequered popularity persist. Is he only marketable in Germany?

      3. Sebee says:

        Bravo Matthew. You saw a gap, and you squeezed the front wing in, and made it stick. I left you the room fair and square.

        …mark on the concrete…ha! I think with this joke we can put crashgate behind us. For real.

        I see Vettel Infinity commercials all the time. Infinity doesn’t really say performance to me like an M, AMG or S, but they are trying.

        I agree that better managed drivers get better marketing for themselves. But on the other hand, how would you react to a driver who’s trying to get your attention. Think Danica Patrick – I’m just sick of her “branding” push. It can backfire. Like all things – balance is key.

    7. Azza says:

      Sebee I think it’s time you started your own F1 blog!!
      Hehe ;-)

      1. Sebee says:

        SebeeonF1? :-)

        I just don’t have the F1 connections, and my conspiracy theories would surely keep me off he media pass list.

    8. Glennb says:

      And how well does Fangio or Agostini just roll off the lips. Coolest names ever!
      Sebee has nailed it here me thinks ;)

      1. Sebee says:

        Fangio is quite satisfying to say. Again…6 letters.

      2. justafan says:

        Regazzoni, Reuteman, Fittipaldi, Andretti sound good. Even Lauda and Hunt. The golden seventies.

    9. Puffing says:

      @ Sebee.
      To fall upon, not Jamie but Jaime. Jamie is not a name in Spanish vernacular. : )
      To add complication, Jaime is synonimous of Jacobo, Thiago, Yago, Iago, Santiago (como la ciudad de Compostela).
      In dealing with lenguages, everyone says, mine is s better, you know. But I’ve got your point. The shorter and more eufonic the better in this babel.

      1. Sebee says:

        Puffing,

        I’ve been schooled. But I still can’t spell Alguascari to save my life, even if you put my head in a vice Joe Pesci Casino style! See…I can spell Joe Pesci, it’s short and sweet! ;-)

        No jokes, I gave it my best shot above without scrolling into James’ text.

  11. Juzzy82 says:

    Perhaps another reason that RBR want Ricciardo over Vergne, which is highlighted by these comments, is that Ricciardo at least shows some respect towards others.

    1. Bryce says:

      Agreed. He could get the same message across in a much more polite manner.

      1. Tyemz says:

        “Blown my team mate away when I’ve finished my races” is not exactly impolite is it? While one can’t say he’s blown his team mate away, at least his team mate has not blown him away anyway and JEV is making this point not to secure a drive with RB (it’s already too late) but also to point out to other teams who might be interested in him that qualy only tells half the story. Look at Hungary for example where DR qualified in the top ten but finished below his team mate.

      2. Bryce says:

        Yes, it is impolite. He would also have to be about half a second faster per lap faster than someone else to even think about using such a description.

      3. Jato says:

        Did you even watch that race or look at the results?

        DR qualified in the top ten (over-qualifying the car) yet they decided to put him a two stopper which was suicidal given their long run pace on Friday. Lotus, you can understand as their car is easy on the tires than pretty much all the grid. So they put DR on a lame duck strategy where he was almost a pit-stop in front of JEV before he lost 12 seconds in 4 laps trying to keep him on a two stop strategy as the tires were going off.

        Another example, a fault which Lotus/FI also made in Silverstone. They botched DR’s first pitstop, kept him out too long on tires again and then didn’t bring him in when Webber/Rosberg came in other he probably would have finished 5th instead of 7th.

        Seems like a lot of fans do that, look at the points and results without looking at the context of the race.

        DR is the faster driver, imagine if he was in a top car and qualifies it 1st. Where would JEV be given his record? 5th-10th?

      4. Tyemz says:

        Yes I watched the raced but I didn’t see much of RIC because he was being blown away by VER lol. Going by your logic though, what makes us so sure VET has blown WEB away this season when we know that the only time WEB has had a decent car this season was in Sepang?
        And let’s not forget the massive advantage we have called hindsight which the strategy team didn’t have at the time or the fact that team STR can never outdo team STR strategy-wise.

      5. Random 79 says:

        And always with a smile :)

    2. RogerD says:

      I thought that, too. JEV doesn’t come across as very professional. Making comments with a bit of attitude is fine if you have done your time and have some rock solid results to show for you efforts. He’s all hat and no cattle at the moment, I’m afraid.

      By comparison, I think RIC has handled the media circus circling him in recent times with a very level head. I’ve been genuinely impressed, TBH.

      For mine, outwardly, there hasn’t been all that much difference between the race performances of VER & RIC this year. When you race back in the pack there’s a heap of luck required to do well over a full race distance – the points difference between the two could just as easily been the other way around.

      However in qualifying there’s no doubt RIC has had the edge. In fact you could say that he’s dragged an average car up into far better grid positions than it deserved. Much like LEW & ROS did with the silver beasties earlier in the year.

      Having said all that I think it’s too early for RIC to get a top flight drive.

      Then again maybe if you give RIC a good car then he’ll take that next step and be a genuine contender in a season or two. VET was nowhere in 2008 driving the STR2B. He was ‘all of a sudden’ on consistent top ten pace with the STR3. Talent will take you some of the way, but you need the right equipment.

      My heart says RBR should go with RAI so we can see some fireworks. My heart says let the youngun’ (RIC) have a pedal.

      1. RogerD says:

        Doh!

        … my head says RAI, heart says RIC…

      2. Fudge says:

        No offence but I find this increasing trend of using three letter acronyms instead of driver’s names really annoying.

  12. Rich B says:

    JEV had 23 races in Formula Renault 3.5 series and was on pole just 4 times, does this mean qually has always been his weak spot?

  13. Harshad says:

    James Is it something to do with Sponsors or is it something to do with their (RBR) business prospects that they have shortlisted an ‘Australian’ to replace an “Australian”.
    I might be wrong though, but judging from what your article it looks like Vergne could have been better!

    1. Bryce says:

      Doubt it would have anything to do with sponsors or Red Bull sales either as Australia is a very small market (23 million) globally, despite being a rich country.

      1. Matthew Cheshire says:

        Quite. The Red Bull posters I have see here in Australia have the number 1 car on them. They can’t even be bothered altering the image to use Webber’s popularity – or just don’t care.

      2. Random 79 says:

        No, we just like to pretend that it’s Webber in the #1 car. Delusions of grandeur or grand delusion :)

      3. Random 79 says:

        We’re up to a whopping 23 mil now? My god we’re breeding like rabbits.

        So – by my somewhat dubious calculations – in about 250 years we might just about have enough of a population to almost start thinking about filling in the middle bits ;)

      4. Glennb says:

        @random79. No mate, we’re not breeding like rabbits. About 21 million come by boat and THEY breed like rabbits.
        @harshad. It’s written in the sporting regulations that an aussie must be replaced by an aussie. Well, it doesnt say that exactly. It says that teams shall have:
        integrity,
        intensity &
        intelligence.
        Intimating that the team shall have an Aussie on board.

    2. All revved-up says:

      Shhhhsh! Don’t tell the Aussies that Webber has left RB. Behind a race helmet, F1 driver in RB overalls, speaking Aussie – RB hopes the Aussie fans won’t notice!

      I think it’ll be in Ricciardo’s contract that he doesn’t remove his helmet. Until Red Bull decides to go into the toothpaste business of course. Now that’s a business model with a shining future.

      1. Random 79 says:

        There’s not enough toothpaste in the world for Dan’s smile :)

      2. KRB says:

        Haha, they’ll call ‘im the StOIg. ;-)

    3. RogerD says:

      Australia barely rates a mention in any business globally except in mining, which is hardly a natural fit for F1 marketing.

      It is seen as a great place to visit (sunny & friendly) and so seems to be a popular place to start the season.

  14. blackmamba says:

    Vernge sounds so bitter and jealous, but a driver needs to have fundamental speed in the first place as race craft can always be developed. He simply doesn’t have the speed.

    1. Me says:

      “Vernge sounds so bitter and jealous.”

      Really? from where I sit they seem perfectly justified.

      1. Azza says:

        Read his comments again then! JEV is bitter and twisted and he knows he’s slower then Ricci.
        However I hope he keeps a seat in F1 as believe he’s potentially a very good driver.

      2. Doobs says:

        He has self belief and he’s arguing for consideration for a drive that may make him world champ. Can’t blame a kid for trying. What would you do?

      3. Azza says:

        I agree with you, but his comments still comes across bitter. I think he could have handled himself better and shown more respect in his comments. Anyway I hope the kid stays around, I’ve been impressed with his speed in the wet.

      4. Random 79 says:

        Maybe you should hop up and go sit next to Vergne ;)

      5. Elie says:

        This guy is being deliberately falsely provocative- he has done this elsewhere. Not a genuine poster

  15. Stewart says:

    If I was red bull I would be doing all a can to get alonso in my team, consistent every season, riakonen ( sorry about spelling) is going ok the now because he is not bored off1 but just look at his last season at Ferrari he could not be bothered and the same will happen if he goes to red bull and vettel beats him all the time

    1. Sebee says:

      Notice how long name is misspelled and 6 letter short names are correct. Goes with my post above? :-)

      1. Stewart says:

        Very true

      2. abashrawi says:

        Yeah, and that seems to affect his popularity :)

      3. Sebee says:

        Who? That 4 letter word guy? I speak of Kimi of course, since that is what he is known as. Everyone mispronounces his last name I am told by a Finn.

        Here is a recent Watson quote to motivate Kimi.

        “But if you look at what I would call the great drivers in Formula 1, winning a single World Championship doesn’t make you a great driver, it means you’re just a driver. The drivers that have won multiple World Championships, in particular those that have won multiple World Championships in different cars, mark out the truly great from the great from the winners and the trash behind. I’m happy with what I achieved, but I know I should have done better. But I can’t change it and I don’t ever dwell on it.”

        Ouch Kimi!

  16. testgate rules says:

    it looks like ricciardo is set for the red bull seat. Without even a podium on his resume!!!!
    i hope kimi signs with rbr, because the australian won’t be cometition for vettel in my view.

    1. JC says:

      So? Kimi didn’t get a podium before moving to McLaren. Hamilton was parachuted in without any experience whatsoever.

    2. Matthew Cheshire says:

      In 2008 Vettel had the win for Torro Rosso but no other podiums. That victory was taken with the right conditions on the day,

      It may take another decade for those stars to align again.

      Don’t forget Minardi was another word for last place for nine years.

  17. Anop says:

    It was only in Monaco and Canada that Jean-Eric did far better than Daniel. Jean-Eric finished 8th in Monaco and 6th in Canada but Daniel retired in Monaco and was 15th in Canada.

    In addition, Daniel was 8th in Silverstone and Jean-Eric retired. So effectively its only one race – Canada where Jean-Eric “blew” Daniel away. Don’t think one race makes a pattern Jean-Eric.

    In the current season I guess only one driver is blowing his team-mate away and he drives a red car.

    1. Antti says:

      I believe the biggest points difference between team mates is between the Lotus drivers, and last I checked, their car is black and gold. :)

    2. Random 79 says:

      Bianchi?

    3. Doohan says:

      The hulk is in a Ferrari?

      1. justafan says:

        Putting Hulk into a red car would be risky business for Ferrari. He might beat Alonso who would jump ship then taking Santander with him to RBR and Ferrari would be without a major sponsor.

  18. Peter Miles says:

    Full marks to K at No.5. He was obviously never in the running but Kobyashi would have been a great choice! Fast, sensible and I would guess cheap.

    But, as I’ve said before, for Torro Rosso to serve any purpose they have to take Ricciado. And I think he’ll do well too.

  19. Tim B says:

    Vergne sounds a bit insecure (unsurprisingly, having been passed over) and also a touch immature in his comments. Possibly that tendency was a factor in the RB decision making… Hopefully for his sake he can get past it and keep improving.

    I’m a big Kimi fan, but I’d like to see Ricciardo get the drive, both because I think we need to see more drivers moving through the F1 ranks, and because it would be good to have another yardstick to measure the RB “young driver” programme – one successful driver out of however many is hardly a ringing endorsement.

  20. Hugy says:

    Would Ricciardo or Vergne even be considered if they didn’t drive a Toro Rosso? I doubt it. Hulkenberg or Di Resta look like much better choices.

    1. Denis 68 says:

      I seriously doubt it aswell.

    2. Don Kee says:

      Di Resta is the most over rated driver on the grid, he has nothing to offer the sport but to fill a driving spot. Personally I think his seat would be better filled by Kobayashi or Alguaswariywehbzdbc.

    3. Glennb says:

      True! I pick Hulk :)

    4. Donald says:

      I agree. If you take politics out of the equation, the only real argument for DR over KR is that he ‘might not be so fast as to unsettle the RBR equilibrium’, which isn’t a very good reason.

      I hope they go for Kimi.

  21. John in San Diego says:

    One of James’ colleagues seemed to favor JEV over Dan on the basis that JEV’s points scoring record is better than Dan’s. Seems to many though that Dan is generally faster. When I saw JEV in Montreal in 2012 (his first season), he seemed a bit wild to me. To be fair though, Dan has more F1 race experience having had the HRT outings in 2011.

    1. JC says:

      I hate that people call DR’s time with HRT “more experience”. It was 11 races with an anbysmal excuse for a team, in a car completely unfamiliar too him, and he was drafted in halfway through the year. It may have excused Vergne for his first one or two races, but not now.

      1. John in San Diego says:

        Seat time is seat time, which ever way you cut it. Every bit of on the job training helps no matter what profession you’re in.

      2. Bryce says:

        True, but both were driving albeit in a different series, one in a good car and the other in a dog of a car.

  22. dirty harry says:

    I don’t see Vergne to be weaker than Ricciardo. I wouldn’t put either in the Red Bull, but politics (and Vettel) will make the decision.

  23. Danny Almonte says:

    Red Bull need a solid number two like Raikkonen: a solid driver who will bring in consistent points and stay out of Vettels way. Daniel Ricciardo seems like the type to avoid the heroic moves and play it safe.

    1. MikeyB says:

      Daniel has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to qualify his Toro Rosso way above its logical place in the field, much as Mark Webber used to do with the Jaguar. He has also shown excellent racecraft on occasion, with well-judged, aggressive passing and he usually brings the car home intact too.

      Don’t let that ear-to-ear toothy grin fool you – Daniel’s the real deal alright and will do a great job in the red Bull if given the chance.

      1. trevor says:

        spot on

    2. Tyemz says:

      No thanks. Kimi is not a number 2 driver by anybody’s definition especially not in RB’s context of a number 2 where funny things happen to you as soon as you get too close to the team’s pet. In my opinion, they need a number 2 who’s only too grateful for getting the drive and doesn’t have any championship winning ambitions. KR just doesn’t fit into that category.

  24. i happen to think that vergne is so ‘off the mark’ with his comments that he certainly doesn’t see his own shortcomings.

    i have watched ricciardo for some time now and i am quite amazed by his racecraft and his ability to mix it with superior drivers without making rash mistakes. he is fast and given the right machinery he will do very well. he knows how to pull a pass and he is consistent. he has been let down by car this season but he has gone on to put in some very impressive drives….that is why he is in serious contention for the drive.

    unfortunately i somehow think that RB will give the drive to raikonnen for a short term gain rather that a future benefit.

  25. SteveS says:

    It seems like many of the same people who’ve been insisting for years that a blind chimpanzee could win races in the RB car are suddenly anxious that Raikkonen get the seat over Ricciardo, lest RBR lose valuable constructors points. I have to admit, I question their sincerity.

  26. Daniel Bradley says:

    Daniel Ricciardo has a tendency to qualify well but then slowly go backwards down the field. However, based on what we have seen with Mercedes this season, this is largely due to the quality of the car rather than the quality of the driver.

    I agree with verstappen (comment 4), Red Bull’s strategy is to qualify ahead of the pack then make use of the clear air. Red Bull’s tend to struggle when caught behind cars.

    Due to the new engines, I have a feeling that what Red Bull needs for next season is somebody to be the “number 2″ driver, i.e. someone to race for consistent points rather than race the car for the outright win (and risk an engine blowup).
    Unlike Mark Webber who never quite got his “next year” – assuming the Vettel-Ferrari gossip is in some way true – Ricciardo could end up being the “senior” driver at Red Bull in 2015 or 2016.

    1. Jato says:

      You say that Ricciardo has the tendency to qualify well and it is largely due to the quality of the car…however…how come Vergne hasn’t been doing this then?

      1. Daniel Bradley says:

        No, I meant in spite of the car. Mercedes has been quick in qualifying but not during the race, i.e. issues with the car that are slowly being solved. Ricciardo has managed to pull miracles during qualifying to keep getting the Torro Rosso into Q3, however (I speculate) that during the race issues with the car have made him go backwards.

        It would be interesting to see if he can qualify well and keep position in a Red Bull.

      2. Jato says:

        No worries, just the way it was worded made it sound the opposite. I think DR would be able to keep position purely because at the moment:

        - RBR are kinder on its tires than the TR
        - RBR strategy department are miles ahead of STR

        I think DR going backwards is more that he has overqualified the car amongst the Ferrari’s and Lotuses. He is never going keep them behind other than Silverstone when the TR was running at a good pace both in qualifying and race. Also since the 2012 spec tires, TR have fallen back. Same with Force India.

        Would prefer DR to get the RB seat to see another new driver in a top team car (also because he deserves the chance) but I wouldn’t mind Kimi either. I don’t think JEV deserves the chance, he isn’t as quick.

        The TR matchup reminds me very much of the Heidfield/Webber matchup in 2005. While Heidfield scored more points than Webber, Webber IMO was always the faster driver without the consistency of Heidfield over a season. Problem with Webber he still hasn’t learnt that consistency over a season – which is why he has always been beaten by Vettel amongst other things. Except in this case, I don’t think Vergne is as consistent as Heidfield was.

  27. anthony says:

    If Ricciardo can qualify a Torro rosso in p7 what could he do in a Redbull. By getting into q3 his tyre choice is made for him, so his tyres are already 3 laps old, he pitts and gets caught behind cars on new tyres of their choice. As well as the time to pit there is field spread. which puts him out of position compared to Jev.

  28. Matthew Cheshire says:

    Icecream is the missing ingredient here. It was amusing for all of us to us to see Kimi eating that icecream but it must now be an issue for RB.

    Kimi is motivated now, but what happens if Vettel dominates the team (as is probable). Will Kimi bank the cash and sit at the back of the garage?

    Riccardo does as he is told. Always. He always seems motivated and he works well with the media.

    RB will see Riccardo as an appreciating asset. He is on the upswing in both race performance and his media profile.

    Kimi is at his peak. Good for the next couple of years. But Kimi could be past his best at the same time Vettel leaves. Not ideal.

    Next year’s cars will be a new game to learn. Old dog or new one?
    Riccardo is a gamble for the medium term, but for next year the playing field will be leveled, experience with old cars will mean less than fast learners. And Red Bull will have confidence that Vettel will make the most of the new car anyway.

    Unless RB can get Kimi cheaply for a short contract to show he is committed, then DR should be their first choice. If Kimi is negotiating a huge package, they should really be worried Kimi is just going to take the big payday and get back to the icecream.

  29. Damo says:

    It sounds to me that the majority of people on here think that the Toro Rosso should be finishing on the podium if the drivers are any good. Have you ever thought that JEV is a excellent driver and Dan is just dragging a sub par car up the grid beyond its potential in qually ? Then it slowly falls back through the pack to the spot it should have been all along. I think there will be some red faces if Dan goes there.

    I seem to recall a YD Test at Abu Darbi a few years ago where Dan went a second faster than Sebs qually time abielt with more rubber on the track and info used from the race the day before, he raised some eyebrows that day for sure.

    And its not like Webber and Seb where there is a 12 yr difference between them, you cannot tell me that Seb will have the same raw speed when he is 37 as he does now look at Michael and Rosberg. These 2 are the similar age, their raw speed should be comparable.

    Shall be very funny if who ever goes there inherits the second car syndrome at RB of slow shift speeds and kers issues at qually and races as both Dan and Kimi are much smaller than Mark and packaging will not be a factor anymore hahaha.

    DK

    1. yes damo, you have raised some every good points. DR can also mix it during the race as well, just so long as long as the car has the get up and go on that particular weekend. his dicing with alonso, some time ago,was proof of that.

      i do strongly believe that DR has the potential to be a WDC given the right car and the right support.

  30. Thomas says:

    I’m very surprised that Vergne fails to recognize that scoring points in a Toro Rosso is often a random event. Ricciardo has had several very strong weekends finishing well ahead of Vergne but the car just wasn’t quite fast enough to get into the points.

    In a Red Bull points are basically guaranteed. Clinging to his ‘scoring points’ mantra is rather odd. Arguably in a Red Bull the driver who gets the most points will be the one who can put it on the front row.

  31. stu says:

    Ricciardo’s record in the junior catagories is much more impressive than Vettels. hopefully they put Dan in the car and he shows Seb how its done

  32. Ryan Eckford says:

    I think Red Bull have got to trust Adrian Newey in making this decision between Ricciardo and Raikkonen because Newey has worked with Raikkonen before, and would know how quick and good he is, and would be able to compare him with Ricciardo, and with Vettel, with the help of telementry.

  33. James Clayton says:

    If DR goes to Red Bull, who’s most likely to replace him in Torro Rosso?

  34. Matthew says:

    I can’t help but feel sorry for the drivers and engineers at Toro Rosso. If you aren’t a Vettel, you’re dumped to the side. And even then, you’ll almost certainly never have a front-running car. No way Red Bull would allow Toro Rosso to challenge them at the front. They’re destined to forever be midfielders. Such a shame.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Toro Rosso did beat RBR in the championship in 2008, but even if you’re right and it never ends up being a front-runner (which I tend to agree) being a midfielder is still a step up from the old Minardi days :)

    2. GWD says:

      I think people also forget that STR, like a bunch of others, are fighting for points not potentially taken by 2 RBR, 2 Ferrari, 2 Lotus and 2 Merc. That’s usually 3 point between (in approximate current pecking order) Mclaren, FI, STR, Williams, Sauber. Sure, there are performance issues on any given day in the front running teams, be they driver or technical, but if the front runners get it right, there’s not much to attain between 10 midfield entries. If Mclaren and/or FI get it right on the day also, there’s nothing left but midfield finishing positions that quite frankly don’t mean a hell of a lot when you take into account all the other aspects of that midfield finish – strategy, blue flags, more frequent and diverse technical issues. There has to be other determining aspects of a driver than that of their finishing position as a guage of quality for the future. Feedbeack, working with the team, racecraft on track, etc, are generally those aspects. The exclusion of Vergne early on in the decision suggests he doesn’t have the same components yet they feel Ricciardo has, for whatever reason. They must feel that Vergne isn’t that far away if they want to retain him for another year. I just hope they don’t Alguesuari him, or he himself does or says something to send him into the persona-non-grata state Jaime ended up in.

  35. C Lin says:

    I think next year Hamilton & Rosberg will be a very strong pairing (even this year too) so Red Bull needs to get Raikkonen to partner Vettel in order to match the Mercedes duo.

  36. Jonathan says:

    What has Ricciardo ever done to justify joining RBR? Taken an unfamiliar RBR car which Vettel had just won a championship in, round the same track as Vettel and nearly half a second faster than Vettel managed in the race or quali. (The track was warmer) This is partly what led to his getting where he is now. The Torro Rosso shouldn’t be in Q3, but Daniel gets it there. Also he takes orders which Vettel, Webber and Kimi all seem to have problems with.

  37. Werewolf says:

    My preference is for Raikkonen to stay at Lotus, assuming they can have another good car next year, rather than partner Vettel. Two great drivers in different teams guarantees they can race!

    Ricciardo seems to fit the bill perfectly for what Red Bull actually need. He appears safe, consistent, non-confrontational and quick enough to score regular decent points. Hulkenberg is undoubtedly faster but he is not a Red Bull young driver and the company may not want to be seen as too Germanic worldwide.

  38. Harvey says:

    A tiny little way off-track, James
    Our neighbour of a certain age could not believe Dan Ricciardo is not this singing legend from 1950s liverpool:

    http://www.7digital.com/artist/frankie-vaughan/release/the-very-best-of-frankie-vaughan

    astounding resemblance…

    1. Random 79 says:

      Could be Dan in 10-20 years…

  39. Jey says:

    James,

    What are the chances of Ricciardo taking Webber’s seat and Kimi and Alonso swapping seats?

    1. Random 79 says:

      Pretty good and virtually nil respectively

      1. Random 79 says:

        Nah I still can’t see it happening, but it’s probably still a good thing that I used the qualifier ‘virtually’ ;)

  40. Dan says:

    im sure dan will do his best :)

    1. Random 79 says:

      Nothing like patting yourself on the back ;)

  41. what we, as followers/observers see and read, would be miniscule in comparison to the data available to the teams of RB and STR. with this in mind then the decision to ‘consider’ ricciardo would be based on their observed criteria for final selection.

  42. tw says:

    What I don’t understand: Is this a case of waiting to see if RB picks Kimi or Rici? (As the press would have us believe.) Or is it rather a case of waiting to see if RB and Kimi can come to an agreement, and if no then Rici?

    I have to assume the latter, but may be wrong.

  43. Hiten says:

    RIC to RBR is official!

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