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Webber reveals identity of the driver who will replace him at Red Bull
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Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Aug 2013   |  12:47 pm GMT  |  197 comments

Mark Webber has revealed that the decision has already been taken to replace him at Red Bull Racing with Daniel Ricciardo.

Speaking to James Allen in the build up to Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix on Australian Network 10, 10 Webber said,

“The decision is made. We all know who it is. I’m happy with that decision. It’s good for him and it’s good for Australia.”

Ricciardo for his part appears not to be aware of progress and is waiting for Red Bull to tell him whether he has the seat and present him with a contract. He is already contracted to Red Bull as a Toro Rosso driver, so the contractual process would not be lengthy.

Ricciardo insists that he has not yet signed a contract and is not allowing himself to dream about his next step as a Red Bull Racing driver,

“Honestly mate, not yet. Until it’s a done deal and I’ve been given the nod and it’s all settled I’m not going to get excited,” he said on Saturday evening. “Who knows? Kimi could well still be in contention along with a few other guys. If it gets done then I’ll get excited for a little bit but then I’ll have a pretty big task ahead for the following season.”

After the race Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner said, “There’s plenty of speculation about, but nothing has been signed yet. Mark obviously isn’t privy to all the discussions with drivers. When there’s something to announce, we’ll announce it.

“Both Toro Rosso drivers are on Red Bull Racing contracts,” he added. “They are on loan to Toro Rosso. So at any point they are available for us to call upon.”

The weekend has seen lots of behind the scenes discussions between drivers, agents and teams and the situation appears to be clarifying a little; with Ricciardo set for the Red Bull drive, it appears that Antonio Felix da Costa is in pole position to replace him at Toro Rosso.

Kimi Raikkonen is said to be “close” to finalising his plans, pending resolution of financial discussions with Lotus. Team boss Eric Boullier told this site on Saturday that he’s putting finishing touches to next year; the new engine deal with Renault, the investment package from Infinity and the Raikkonen contract. It’s still possible that something could happen with Ferrari, but it is starting to look as though they may again stick with Felipe Massa.

This leaves Nico Hulkenberg again waiting on the sidelines, hoping something might fall into place.

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197 Comments
  1. dufus says:

    Go the Aussies !
    Mark has done us proud.
    Now, just as Mark announced his retirement Daniel has been brought into the frame and means we will battle again with the British, the Fins, the Germans, the Spaniards and all the rest.
    You bloody beauty !!!

    1. Luke Clements says:

      We punch above our weight don’t we? Brabham, Jones, Webber, Gardner, Doohan, Stoner, Bayliss…not bad representation in the top lines of Motorsport for such a lightly populated country with crappy roads and slow speed limits.

      1. mark says:

        Yes of course webber was so successful ?? Had a red bull car for 4 years and won how many titles? ? Or even runner up ? Mark was a great guy but not good enough to win tittle. Bit like scotlands david coultard.

      2. JohnBullnotRedBull says:

        Crappy roads and slow speed limits? – you should try living in the UK.

      3. Ravi says:

        Wow amazing logic that roads and speed limits are foundations for greatness in producing top class drivers. Ridiculous.

        Mark has been a waste of a premium seat for all these 4 years and you call that punching above the weight. Clearly this is the usual Australian arrogance seen in all sports.

      4. yinka olu-oguntokun says:

        crappy roads? try driving in my native nigeria

      5. richie says:

        crappy roads? you should try driving underwater

      6. Luke Clements says:

        It was a general comment about Australian representation in topline Motorsport.

        9 GP wins and part of a soon to be possibly 4 WCC, not bad for someone who is too tall and too heavy and arrived in F1 with no money and no backing. Absolutely, not good enough to win a WDC, and he’d be the first to admit it. But a waste of a seat is a bit much. He’d probably also be first to admit he wasted his prime years at Williams.

        To Ravi, that was a joke about roads and speed limits.

        To Yinka, you’ve put me in my place there. Can’t argue with that one!

  2. F1 Badger says:

    James do you think MW had any influence in the decision?

      1. Clark says:

        Can he be trusted? He is not exactly flavor of the month at Red Bull is he?!

      2. JCA says:

        James, as ESPNF1 says, Mark keeps throwing middle fingers at the team and Horner. They are business partners, as co-owners of a race team, do you think that relationship is being damaged, or has been damaged beyond repair?

      3. James Allen says:

        No. He’s having a but of fun as he heads for the exit door. But he’s still very much embedded in Red Bull as a company

      4. Timo says:

        Simple way to sort Red Bull’s driver situation — put Ricciardo in Webber seat for the rest of the season, and see how he fares against Seb. If he does well — he can continue in 2014, if not he would’ve had his chances — so goodbye. Either way, it will free up a Torro Rosso seat for another youngster to step up.

        James, do you think Red Bull’s contractual arrangements with their drivers will preclude this?

      5. James Allen says:

        Red Bull’s priority is to win Constructors championship, so they wouldn’t want to risk that

        That said there was some speculation in Spa about this. I can’t see it myself

    1. Robert says:

      If anything, I can imagine half the team thinking that “if Mark wants this, we want anything else”…

      N.B. – I am very happy for the decision personally – in my mind, the only two viable candidates were DR or The Hulk. One’s the top of the junior team, the other is the best midfield driver waiting for a promotion…either of whom would play well with Vettel as a price for taking that seat.

    2. And with Webber making such announcements that obviously niggle the RBR bosses, could we see Ricciardo replace Webber for the final race or two in the season? A sort of “pay back” to Webber for being such a difficult team member – deny him the emotional farewell in Brazil!

    3. Luke Clements says:

      As always, I think MW has the ear of the team owner and is being cheeky, probably to mess with HM’s mind as much as anyone. I’m sure HM hates being upstaged like that, but what does MW care. Hope DR can give it good and hard to SV next year.

  3. dxs says:

    saw it.. gotta love webber..

    webber complaining about clutch issues off the line, they must have heard his statement on the tele

  4. Nice one !! trust Mark to upstage Mr Horner !!

  5. Stefan says:

    Well done James. Nice scoop!
    Im glad that Webber revealed it to you.
    Came here to hear your thoughts!

  6. Peter says:

    Ferrari sticking with Massa would be a joke, really.

    1. TheLollipopMan says:

      Ferrari’s sentimentality is killing their championship campaigns. They need a good No.2 driver to consistently bring podiums in to take points away from the opposition. If it wasn’t for his near-fatal accident in 2009, Ferrari would have dumped Massa several seasons ago. Hulk is fast but would fight Alonso. Bianchi’s still too green. They need someone who’s fast and reliable, experienced enough to help develop the car, and compliant to team orders – Kobayashi would be perfect.

      1. Optimaximal says:

        And also already contracted to Ferrari, making a switch probably as much of a formality as DR moving to Red Bull.

  7. Luke Smith says:

    If it is Ricciardo I’ll be happy.

    How are his starts??

    1. Bradley says:

      About to get a lot worse.

      1. McRocket says:

        LOLOLOL.

        Yes, it seems staggeringly coincidental that Webber’s starts are SO much worse then Vettel’s…almost always.

        Either the former REALLY stinks at starts or Red Bull don’t want another ‘Multi 21′.

      2. ciao says:

        and Horner returned serve by putting the clutch “expert” on the podium. He’s certainly good at what he does … turning people off Red Bull for life.

      3. Bryce says:

        Maybe not, they wouldn’t want him bogging down off the line if he out qualifies finger boy as I expect him to regularly do when given parity.

        It was not that long ago that Mark was extremely competitive (still pretty good) and he will be 38? this week. Daniel has both the speed and temperament to go head to head with them all. The Bulls have been able to take their pick from nearly all the drivers for a few years now.

    2. SNB says:

      If Marko get his grubby hands on the programming module he’ll never get off a line – period !

      And if he does he will get the plug pulled on his KERs.

      Oh well at least Dan got 12 pts this year

      1. Optimaximal says:

        Why would-on-earth HM cause his own driver program to self-destruct like that?

        Surely for him, the best outcome would be the team sewing up the championship like McLaren did in 1988, regardless of which drivers took the most wins?

        If RIC sufficiently challenged VET in the same car, then it proves that the program works.

      2. SNB says:

        surely your not that naive.

        How many issues has the Webber car consistently had and Vettel by the same token minimal…

        Lets not also count the orders to give Golden Boy the wing in the Britsh GP when he sooked to Marko

        Mate Marko is the issue.

      3. Optimaximal says:

        Look back over what you are saying and have a good, hard think before you reply.

        No team would deliberately go out of their way to sabotage one car in favour of another – there’s just too much at stake at the sharp end of the grid, especially when one cars failure to perform will mean another team inches closer.

        Yes, there are politics involved that means WEB would never be favoured by HM – he’s a driver who came into the team outside of his driver program and only kept his seat (pretty much by his own admission) because he had the ear of the boss of the company – but there’s no proof or reason to suspect that he would even have the authority to order ‘Mark Webbers car to be taken out’, as you’re pretty much suggesting.

        He wants Vettel to beat Webber because it makes his RB Driver Program look even better. He also wants Mark to finish in second place, because it means more money for the team to make their car better for when Webber retires and he can slot another Red Bull driver into the other car.

  8. AlexD says:

    Ferrari sticking with massa a mistake, they need kimi to push alonso. They need more points. Kimi in lotus…bad news. Dr. Marko needs to justify his program, hense daniel and not a driver who is so much better.

    1. It’s been a mistake since 2011! I thought it was good they gave him the seat back in 2010, but then, you have to wonder why they are sooooo loyal to Massa.

      There’s usually a good reason behind everything people from the exterior find illogical mind you.

      1. Bryce says:

        Santander still expanding its business interests in the growing Brazilian economy would be my best guess.

  9. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Ferrari with Massa? No, that cannot happen again, Gutierrez cannot happen again, Maldonado cannot happen again, 40 Vettel’s championship either…

    1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      *neither

      1. William says:

        Maldonado is staying with Williams

  10. Truth or Lies says:

    No surprise then in the end regarding the Red Bull decision and with Raikkonens choice to stay at Lotus.

    Hope it works out ok for Ricciardo, still not convinced he deserves or is ready for this seat, but nonetheless I wish him great success. Maybe Alonso should have really tried to get in there, as today was another ominous result from Red Bull.

    Regarding Massa, if he drove without KERs today then this was a very strong drive, if not, well he still did ok but not sure he can hold on for another season. Lets see how it goes, but again if he had no KERs then it was a very strong drive and he should stay at Ferrari.

    1. Martin says:

      The KERS problem was cured at the first stop when a fix was made to the steering wheel. It wasn’t clear whether he was always lacking KERS before then either.

      Basing the decision on one drive is a bit limited. Massa makes more major errors in races than most top drivers. It is pretty rare that a driver spins during a race due to driver error these days. Massa still has these moments. Massa is still fast over one lap when he is comfortable and confident, but he hasn’t really got to grips with the Pirelli tyres and regularly loses quite a lot of time to Alonso.

      Performance wise there are other options. Santander banking interests in Brazil, continuity, development feedback, car packaging (both Alonso and Massa are quite small helping the aerodynamics) and Massa’s fairly apolitical nature are all considerations. I recall comments that Massa had to take a large pay cut to get this one-year contract – it could be that for a Ferrari driver he is now quite cheap.

    2. Martin says:

      Just read elsewhere that Massa’s steering wheel was blank for two laps – so the lack of KERS may only have been those two laps.

      Massa blamed avoiding Grosjean at the start for losing four places and leaving him seventh.

  11. Peter says:

    If Kimi can`t go to a top team not much will change. Red Bull will have an other Webber in their second seat, a likeable character, quite good, but a safe choice for Sebastian. Alonso will have a team mate in a support role and Lotus will play catch up in terms of development. Sometimes F1 would need some shaking-up and Kimi would deserve a top-seat in F1. Disappointed.

  12. fox says:

    It was known for a week or so. Thanks to EJ. RedBull is staffed.
    What is interesting, is that Kimi would probably leave Lotus. It is always a case driver underperforms (due to various reasons) when signing another team. Today Kimi retired. Yesterday and weeks before his team mate outclassified him.

  13. KRB says:

    Good news for Ricciardo, although he could easily be in the same situation next year as Perez this year … expecting a great car at his new team, but then finding one that’s off the pace. Of course, Newey is a genius, so the chassis should be top-class. If RBR fall back next year, it will be all down to the powerplant.

    Nice point for Ricciardo today, from 17th to 10th.

    I think we also have to retire the “not an RBR track” line, about Spa.

    Since 2009, here are the podiums at BEL:

    Red Bull 6
    McLaren 3
    Ferrari 2
    Lot/Rnlt 2
    Mercedes 1
    F. India 1

    If not for the bad start by Webber, it would’ve been another podium. Their pace relative to others was even faster than expected from Friday running.

  14. dimitris says:

    Could it be that Webber wants to press the issue? Dr. Marko, who also for Ricciardo, said practically the same thing but retracted his statement. It appears that Christian Horner has taken the upper hand in the matter, so I still think the jury is still out.
    It appears, though, that Kimi will remain with Lotus if they get a closer relationship with Renault-this appears to be one of the terms he has set for Lotus,- and, if Alonso or Jenson are not up for the Red Bull seat, then Ricciardo will get the nod. Ferrari looked quite good at SPA, but still unable to catch the Bulls. If the same result is repeated at Monza, we may see some reaction from Alonso. He looked quite displeased with the result at SPA, he was hoping that he would finish ahead of Vettel but the latter was just phenomenal.

    1. Why do you write “SPA” all in upper case yet write “Monza” in the correct mixed case?

      1. dimitris says:

        I was under the impression that S, P and A were for initials, but I checked, it is Spa-Francophones, you are right.

      2. dubreggae says:

        Spa-Francophones? check again.

  15. TGS says:

    Hope it’s true. Great race from Ricciardo this weekend, 19th to 10th.

    1. Greg (Aus) says:

      Started behind JEV and passed him, and then Perez to take the point in the final stages. Blew him away eh JEV? Uh huh…

  16. pushthebutton says:

    Red Bull Raving? I knew they liked to party, didn’t know they’d changed the name to reflect that!

  17. Grant says:

    Shame on Horner for unnecessarily keeping Kimi’s hopes alive.

    1. dimitris says:

      If the decision has indeed been made, then it is quite unethical from Red Bull’s part to keep the matter open. It would appear that their aim is to distract and upset other teams and drivers by spreading rumours.

    2. ManOnWheels says:

      I’ve read that Kimi had already revealed that the Red Bull talks have been cancelled. So it’s not that Red Bull are keeping him in limbo.

    3. BlackBull says:

      It’s alright, everyone behind the closed doors has known this for a while, including Kimi. Likewise everyone (?) knows where Kimi will drive next year. It’s all just smoke and mirrors right now and it’s only “unfair” to the public who want to know. No harm done to Kimi.

      1. quest says:

        Yeah. It is very likely Kimi has already signed somewhere. Otherwise his manager would never have revealed that talks with Red Bull have ended weakening his barganing power with other teams.

  18. Sujith says:

    That is just great!! :-/

  19. Louis says:

    James, i don’t know but if it turns out as you mentioned above, i think this is the most boring / underwhelming conclusion after all the hypes

    i want to see some new combination of intra-team rivalry – Vettel & Ricciardo, there’s just no contest and it’s Vettel & Webber all over again, maybe even worse.

    1. Bryce says:

      I think that you will be surprised just how quick he is. Go and have a look back at his performances when he has driven the mother car in the past, very close to and quicker than Vettel.

      1. Bartholomew says:

        Close, but not quicker.

      2. ozherb says:

        Question for James,

        Last year I heard from a source within the Red Bull camp that Ricciardo is the quickest in their F1 simulator.

        Have you heard the same, or can you do a little digging to try and confirm this? If so, perhaps you could add it into the story you write when the announcement is actually made official :-)

        I know a simulator isn’t the real thing, but it’s the closest you’ll get to it.

        If it’s true, maybe Vettel gets a bit of respect for not trying to block the deal.

        Thanks James

      3. James Allen says:

        Great question!

        I wouldn’t be surprised- he’s in there all the time as far as I know

        Will find out

  20. tara says:

    nice scoop james!
    Was great to see, subtle as a sledgehammer as usual. I will miss his interviews we always have something to talk about with them.

    i honestly don’t believe kimi will move. both big teams demand too much PR and as that can be annoying and distracting.

    for me the jurys out on massa. i thought he deserved it this year but im not to sure about 14

  21. Elie says:

    Not surprised given that Kimi and his management had not heard from the RBR for some time. Is this all part of Red Bull strategy to keep opponents in the dark. Why leave it to a departing driver to leak the news.

    Not having two experienced winners in either Ferrari or Red Bull will be a weakness I think for 2014. Long term it keeps both teams young driver options alive and probably a better option in 2015/6.

  22. Sam says:

    Hahahahaha, I am really enjoying that Mark is leaving everything out on the field before he retires. I’m sure RedBull are chuffed!

  23. Harshad says:

    Very much as expected….
    1)Kimi at Lotus
    2)Ricciardo at Red Bull

    The only unexpected thing would Massa continuing at Ferrari..surely there are better drivers than him currently for that seat!

  24. DC Corey says:

    James:

    Surely Ferrari can’t keep trotting Massa out there, can they? Spa today was a terrific example of how many points are being lost by the second Ferrari.

    Could Hulkemberg be an option?

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      It seems not if what’s above is true which is a pity.

  25. Stringers says:

    Red Bull Raving – about right James!

    1. BigHaydo says:

      That’s what most of their customers do after downinga few cans on the way to the club, right?

  26. ramsa says:

    what is the idea of delaying the announcement

    1. Martin says:

      You distract other teams from the job of racing. By Horner saying the options are wider than Kimi and Dan, you also get Button, Rosberg, Alonso, Hulkenberg, Sutil and di Resta all in play in the suffle of the top seats. It can distract teams as well as drivers. There are significant technical considerations for the teams such as driver packaging if one of the taller drivers moved to a different team.

  27. Glennb says:

    Coming from Mark you can take that as gospel however I really don’t see it as appropriate that Mark has said this before the team officially made the announcement. I don’t suppose he can get into too much trouble for it though. Seems you got the scoop on this one eh James ;)
    Having said that, congrats to Dan and may the force be with you. He’s gunna need it ;)

  28. Sebee says:

    Thanks for clearing things up Mark. ;-)

    Hey, is Sato too old to come back in 2015 with McLaren? Is there Japanese talent in the pipeline in case Honda asks for Japanese driver at McLaren? You know..Button 1 year extension, Perez’s Slim backing may not happen…plenty of reasons to need a Japanese driver soon.

    1. Greg (Aus) says:

      Kamui at McLaren Honda!

      1. Kamui has been affiliated to Toyota all of his career except this year driving for Ferrari in WEC.

        Kimiya Sato is more likely, if he ever reaches the level to race a McLaren F1 car.

      2. Sebee says:

        Thanks for that. He does seem to make sense. I think whichever team wants Honda engines would do well to lock up “young Sato”, no relation. :-)

        Some second team surely has to be interested in Honda engines for 2015. Again, which one? It’s tough ask to switch formula in 2014, then engines again in 2015.

    2. Louis says:

      There’s still Kamui Kobayashi, wonder if he’s in frame for a drive somewhere, but it probably won’t be at McLaren and the earliest time for a Honda customer team would be 2016, by that time, i think Kobayashi would have left F1 for too long (3 years).

      1. Sebee says:

        Thanks guys. How could I forget Kamui. I’m sure Honda will line up a customer for 2015 as well. Why wait? 2nd Honda team has to be on the cards for 2015. Which one?

      2. ManOnWheels says:

        None. All parties have said that there is just one Honda team in 2015. No announcement made for 2016 though. But if you count one and one together, there can just be one team to be the second Honda team starting with 2016: Lotus.
        That’s because Renault will not like to support 4 teams longer than necessary, Williams and Force India have just signed a long term deal with Mercedes and McLaren is changing to Honda in 2015, Marussia and Sauber will have a Ferrari contract for sure – and it won’t be for just one season.
        Which means 2015 Renault ist the only manufacturer to have more than 3 teams. Since Caterham is with Renault/Alpine, this will carry on in Formula 1. Red Bull – no doubt they are sold to Renault as works team and since they want to share as much pasrt as possible with the sister team, Toro Rosso and Renault is sure like the amen in a church. Leaves Lotus – from a marketing perspective “Lotus Honda” is pure Gold, just like “McLaren Honda”.

        This is my prediction:
        2014
        Renault will have Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Caterham and Lotus.
        Ferrari will have the works team, Sauber and Marussia.
        Mercedes will have the works team, McLaren, Williams and Force India

        2015
        Renault will have Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Caterham and Lotus.
        Ferrari will have the works team, Sauber and Marussia.
        Mercedes will have the works team, Williams and Force India
        Honda will have McLaren

        2016
        Renault will have Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Caterham.
        Ferrari will have the works team, Sauber and Marussia.
        Mercedes will have the works team, Williams and Force India
        Honda will have McLaren and Lotus.

      3. Sebee says:

        Thanks for that “math” ManOnWheels.

        So you really think that Lotus, the ex-Renault team is most likely to depart from the Renault engine supply, even as discussions are taking place apparently between Renault and Lotus to highlight Renault more since RBR highlights Infiniti? And Renault apparently want Kimi to stay at Lotus according to some reports.

        Why not Caterham going to Honda?

      4. Martin says:

        As ManOnWheels said, Caterham has a production car deal with Renault. Tony Fernandez will have a good idea about strategic partnerships from his airline and other businesses, so I expect this will be part of the deal.

    3. Rob Newman says:

      I thought Button has a Japanese girl friend. Would that be not enough? :)

      1. Sebee says:

        Of course it helps.

        Is her dad a Honda exec per chance? :-)

    4. F1 Badger says:

      I hope so. Taku should be we have left F1!

  29. JB says:

    its great that Ricciardo is given the best seat in F1

  30. zombie says:

    I’ve been one of Massa’s biggest supporters, but Ferrari are nuts if they decide to stick with Massa. They need a strong wingman for Alonso, and Massa is way past his best. Sutil is the most mature and most consistent among those available, followed by Hulkenberg and Bianchi.

    1. Irish con says:

      Sutil gets involved in too much contact for my liking.

      1. ManOnWheels says:

        That’s less likely if you’re starting from the front rows of the grid, where one could expect Ferrari or Lotus.

    2. KRB says:

      Yeah, Massa should be done. Hulkenberg should get that seat.

  31. BK201 says:

    I imagine the ink on the no.2 driver clause in Ricciardo’s contract, has long since dried. Shame.

    Looking forward to seeing da Costa in F1. He comes with a bit of reputation and hype but I’ve never been convinced that he is a top-level talent waiting to get out.

    We’ll see, I suppose. Will be interesting to see it all of this play out.

  32. Peter says:

    Quite the deliberate ‘stuff up’ on Mark’s part, hope it really is a done deal, love for another Aussie to go and hassle Web at RBR.

  33. goodpaul says:

    So Mark let the cat our the bag accidentally on purpose! I think Mark is going to have as much fun at red bulls expenses as possible.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      ‘James, if Ferrari don’t go for Hulkenberg is he a realistic option to partner Kimi at Lotus next year ? What do you think will happen to Romain?

      1. James Allen says:

        They will keep Grosjean

        He’s getting it together now and he brings Total money

  34. Mike Tallent says:

    That’s a shame, if the red bulls dominate next season it would be nice to at least have an inter-team battle but that’s not going to happen. Raikkonen moving would have also caused a nice shuffle down the grid. this also opens the door for Mercedes to dominate the constructors with two top rate drivers and ‘possibly’ the best engines. 2014 might not be as good a season after all…

    1. MikeyB says:

      Personally, I’d love to see Mercedes have a turn at domination for a while. A confident Lewis Hamilton with a strong car under him, in pursuit of more WDCs, alongside Rosberg who has already shown this year that he can rise to a challenge, would make for excellent racing. Bring it on!

      1. Martin says:

        Do you want domination or varying winners race to race?

        It will be interesting to see how Mercedes goes next year with the new aerodynmaic package. The team dedicated the last few races of last year to fully understanding the Coanda effect and that brought a massive gain to bring them close to Red Bull on aerodynamics – quality and quantity of downforce being different things and both important.

        Next year is a change to a new set of rules requiring new concepts. Geoff Willis is leading the development team. Willis has worked under Newey at Williams and Red Bull, and was the technical director for BAR. The high point on his record is the 2004 BAR-Honda.

        The record of ‘Team Brackley’ since BAR’s founding has been mixed. Someone in the aero team can come up with an F-duct style edge in any of the teams, but in general recent history suggests that Mercedes is not the team to be in to have consistently fast cars year after year.

        The 2009 Brawn was unusal in a few ways. Brawn was a dedicated technical director and was able to use his excellent management skills to best effect. He has many more distractions now. The car, dispite the late engine change to Mercedes, was really a high evolved car as work started on it so early. The double diffuser gave it a further performance advantage. I feel that an analogy to 2009 is not applicable.

        None of this prevents the 2014 Mercedes being very good, but equally, the drivers and Mercedes’ battery technology are the main areas in the package that you can expect Mercedes to be strong. Winter testing will be especially interesting.

  35. Rob Newman says:

    Good work by JA but what Webber did was not nice. Of course he is selfish and not a team player but I don’t think it is any of his business to disclose to the media who will replace him.

    I don’t think Red Bull should keep him till end of the year. What he did was clearly wrong. If it is going to be Ricciardo, then Red Bull should bring him in this year and let Torro Rosso bring in the new driver.

    1. Simple says:

      Helmut, is that you?

    2. PB says:

      To be fair, with Red Bull nothing’s been a clear ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in the recent years, has it? Multi 21, Vettel driving into Webber in Turkey, the consistent run of ‘bad luck’ & poor starts for Web, etc. – there are countless examples which can be justified either way depending upon who you support. At this point, Red Bull are probably counting down races for two reasons:
      1. Another double world championship
      2. Getting Webber out of the way and clearing the way for backing Vettel ‘openly’!

    3. BenM says:

      Webber is simply turning the tables on Redbull management and having a bit of fun at their expense.

      He knows which way the wind blows. Why else do you think the only person who knew he was going to retire beforehand was DM? Webber saw what happened to DC when he told the team he was going to retire. Marko couldn’t help himself. So Webber didn’t give them the opportunity and announced on his own terms.

    4. Jake says:

      “what Webber did was not nice” how do you know that Mark was not asked to leak this by the team. It makes sense from a publicity view point. Red Bull make the news now and again when the official announcement comes, double the exposure for the same story.

    5. Bryce says:

      I think that RB are disrespecting Daniel by not announcing it and playing games with the other teams. The contract may not be signed, but the deal has been done.

      Webber calls a spade a spade, and has had enough of the Marko Red Bull—t in delaying the announcement.

  36. Dux says:

    NO chance that they will keep Massa that’s got to be 100% false.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      That was I have been thinking. If they re-sign Massa it will be one of the most laughable decisions in f1. The Ferrari board should consider a vote of no confidence in both Montezemelo and DomenIcali!

  37. Sue says:

    Webber continues to be such a great team player. The usual hypocrisy from fans, can you imagine the vitriol if Vettel had made this announcement. What a great guy indeed.

    1. Bryce says:

      Your last five words described Mark perfectly.

      1. Bartholomew says:

        In a sarcastic context, yes.

  38. gary says:

    DR isn’t quick enough just like MW isn’t quick enough. Simples really…..

  39. bracksoo says:

    Horner says both Toro rosso drivers are available at any time. Will Horner swap out Webber for Ricciardo before seasons end?

  40. Pete Watson says:

    James – do you think there is any logic to the idea that they’ve signed Ricciardo, and because the Toro Rosso drivers are technically on loan, they will call him up to the Red Bull seat before the end of this season (maybe once the WCC is closer to being secured) so that he can get up to speed within Red Bull over the end of the season?

    And then Mark knowing he’s getting booted out early has made him announce the news to the world to give Red Bull the two fingers?!

    1. James Allen says:

      I do not think that Ricciardo has signed a specific contract to race for RBR next year yet, no

      But it looks like the decision has been made

      1. Pete Watson says:

        My gut feeling was that they we using Webber’s words and the other PR to try and play hard ball with Raikkonen to get him to sign. But then when you mentioned above that the Torro Rosso drivers are just on loan it did make me think!

        If Ricciardo does sign soon, could you see Red Bull bringing him in before the end of the season to try and get a head start on 2014?

    2. I had the same thoughts. I have never really rated Webber – made too many mistakes in previous teams, fast but temperamental. But you have got to love his political incorrectness when it comes to towing (or not) team lines. Definitely going to miss that. I agree that it would make sense to slot Ricciardo into the seat for the last couple of GPs (once constructor’s title is safe) and give a little payback to Webber by denying him the big Brazilian send off.

  41. Ian says:

    James, do you recall how Vettel performed at Torro Rosso prior to him getting the Red Bull drive?

      1. Nick says:

        Yeah … won a race too!

    1. TJ says:

      He performed well but also had a superior car to the current Torro Rosso’s so it’s hard to make any real comparisons in regard to points/finish positions of Ricciardo/JEV. The TR that Vettel drove for most of 2008 was designed by Adrian Newey so you can be assured just from knowing that that it would have been a fairly good car.

      1. Bartholomew says:

        It was based on the Red Bull RB4, which in in itself wasn’t particularly good- 7th in the Constructors standings. So yeah, not hugely better than the 2011 or 2013 cars.

    2. He won the 2008 Italian GP and had some other strong finishes. Not bad!

    3. MikeyB says:

      A flukey situation it may have been, but he got his first win there, which is a pretty good start and a strong indication of his potential!

    4. Ben says:

      he one race in the wet. Was it before or after signing with RBR I can’t remember. So was good.

      1. Rockie says:

        Before being signed by redbull.

      2. Bartholomew says:

        He was announced in July. The win came in September.

    5. Mark80 says:

      Didnt Vettel in the TR crash into the back of Mark in the RB once while in formation behind the safety car?

      1. dxs says:

        yes, in fuji.. hamilton leading, webber pulling massive seconds out of hamilton because it was wet.. was looking to be webbers first win back when the RBR was an inferior car.. vettel hit the back of webber under safety car

      2. Bartholomew says:

        Hamilton had control of that race and was always going to win. Still was a great drive from Vettel and Webber up until that point.

  42. Polis says:

    So, a mediocre driver replacing another one. Would have loved to see what Kimi could do in a Red Bull. Fastest SOB out there.

    1. RogerD says:

      SOB being … Silly Old Bugger???

      That’s a bit harsh (like your other comment).

      1. Polis says:

        I meant no disrespect.

    2. Bartholomew says:

      I love Kimi too and wanted him at RBR. Though I think Vettel and Hamilton are faster, Raikkonen is almost every bit as good.

    3. Lezza says:

      Nine GP wins and you label him mediocre?

  43. Tim B says:

    If it really is a done deal, don’t see the point in delaying the announcement, so maybe there are still some other possibilities.

    Don’t get the Massa situation. I thought Ferrari could have been more supportive back in 2010 when he was trying to regain confidence after the head injury, but keeping him in a Ferrari seat for 2014 looks like a ridiculous and unaffordable luxury. He doesn’t look up to the job (certainly not consistently so), and really it doesn’t matter whether it’s because he’s lost his edge or because the car/tyre development is in a direction that doesn’t suit him – at this stage it’s unlikely to change, and Ferrari need someone in that seat who can score points, push Alonso, and help motivate/push the engineering team.

    1. James Allen says:

      Important to differentiate between a decision made and a done deal ie a contract signed

      Red Bull keep the young guys waiting

      1. 69bhp says:

        even if the decision has been made, I can’t imagine why they would tell MW if they haven’t even told Ricciardo.

        Seems like just s***-stirring by MW.

      2. Bryce says:

        History shows he does not lie.

      3. Tim B says:

        Fair point. I’m unclear though on whether a new contract is needed? Horner seemed to be suggesting not in his interview with EJ on the BBC coverage.

      4. adriana says:

        IMO I think RBR is trying to put pressure on Ricciardo to see how he cope with it >

  44. Rachael says:

    Great drive from Daniel in Belgium, and third fastest lap of the race.

    Obviously, his race was affected by his starting position, but once he cleared Maldanado, he was flying. In his final stint, not only was he catching and passing the cars ahead of him, he was taking time off Massa, Grosjean and both Mercedes.

    JEV also invented a new euphemism for being outdriven by your teammate. It’s called a “slow puncture”.

    1. Scott says:

      In fact, the puncture was that slow, the tyre lasted the entire final stint. JEV didn’t even have to pit to replace it. I guess that shows just how great a driver he is. What was it… around 15 laps on a flat tyre. Magnificent piece of driving. He’s blown Ricciardo away again.

    2. RogerD says:

      Perhaps the hissing sound JEV heard was a deflating ego in his immediate vicinity?

    3. Ben says:

      he lit up purple a few times on a few sections.

  45. Daryl Bell says:

    As a proud Aussie watching F1 I would be absolutely delighted to see Ricciardo in the Red Bull next year. Seems a lot of people don’t rate him however I certainly am not one of those and it appears that a lot of influential and knowledgeable people in F1 think he is OK as well. Given equal machinery to Vettel I think he might surprise a lot of people, remember his pace from years ago when he first did the young driver test and absolutely blitzed it and then again this year right at the top. Would he be allowed to race Seb on equal footing? Only time will tell but if so I consider he would push him to the limit. Vettel is a master driver so it would be no disgrace to run second to him most times with the odd time ahead. A year or so getting to know the new people, machinery and system and then watch him go. Best of all it gives me a reason to stay up late on a Sunday night to watch F1. Stopped watching MotoGP simply because Stoner quit, don’t wish to lose my F1 fix as well.

  46. Stephen Taylor says:

    So where do you think Nico will end up? Nowhere.

  47. Raymond U says:

    James, in your opinion, does Mark Webber *think* that this is the case, or do you think he *knows*?

    1. Bryce says:

      He says it like it is, everybody should know that by now.

  48. Jeff says:

    I find it amazing how many people think Ricciardo is a mistake. I guess those same people thought Vettel was a mistake at the time. I think Daniel will give Vettel a good run once he has settled in. His one lap pace is undoubted and he has been the best example this year of anybody putting a car further up the grid than it belongs.

    1. James Allen says:

      Vettel had won a race in a Toro Rosso and been very strong all the second half of that season.

      Plus he had looked very good in a BMW Sauber on debut, don’t forget

      1. TJ says:

        Its hard to compare when Vettel was driving an Adrian Newey designed Torro Rosso in 08. No Doubt it was a better car comparatively than the current one.

        If you see the times between Vettel and Ricciardo from the Silverstone test than there is no doubt in my mind that he will be very competitive if competing in the same car.

      2. Sue says:

        Even with a Newey designed car, didn’t Vettel score more points than both RBR drivers in 2008? Pretty easy decision in that case!

      3. BigHaydo says:

        The 2008 STR also benefitted from an engine upgrade from Ferrari, a trick that Renault missed and had to be given dispensation to upgrade in the off-season. Another reason why STR beat RBR that year, although Webber’s quali pace sometimes put him higher on the grid

      4. Bartholomew says:

        @BigHaydo – Engines haven’t been the dominant factor in F1 since the freeze in 2006. Simply, Vettel outdrove the two RBR drivers, and a lot of others on the 2008 grid, further proven by the fact that he beat Webber in 2009, and has only improved since.

      5. Truth or Lies says:

        +1

      6. BenM says:

        James I find it incredible that you keep trotting this stuff out given your experience in F1, as if it’s a reflection on Ricciardo not being of the right stuff. The STR of Vettel’s year was a much more competitive package than the STRs that have come to light since, given the change in regulations subsequently.

        You off all people know that without the equipment it is simply impossible to repeat Vettel’s feat. And no STR since has looked capable.

      7. James Allen says:

        Yes. I agree

        You have got me wrong

        Ricciardo is worth a try and as you say Vettel’s Toro Rosso was much more competitive my point was that Vettel had done a bit before RBR took him

      8. BigHaydo says:

        He was also out qualified and out raced by Bourdais on occasion, and the Frenchman barely lasted another 12mths in the sport!

      9. Bartholomew says:

        @BenM – The STR3 Vettel drove was based on (and only raced well after/behind) the RB4 of 2008, which was a lower midfeld car, that was 7th in the WCC.

        It was the best STR, but considering what Vettel did with it, it is clear that he has been the best driver STR have had to date.

        @BigHaydo – In 10 races that Bourdais and Vettel finished, Vettel beat him in all 10, scoring 35 points to 4, beating Bourdais’ best race r esult 7 times, and outqualified him 14-4. Bourdais went on to match Buemi on race pace, but get sacked anyway. SB was just destroyed by 21 year old Vettel, hands down.

      10. adriana says:

        Vettel even was doing better times than Kubicsa in practice times

      11. Martin says:

        Some care is needed with comparing the third drivers as they were using unrestricted engines while the lead drivers had an engine quota to look after. Different priorities in terms of testing parts and race set up too. Vettel was impressive, but practice times don’t pay points or grid positions.

  49. adriana says:

    IMO, Webber from now, you can do more damage to RBR and Vettel aspirations to fourth straight WCC WDC help; RBR you must render the rest of the season and let Buemi to finish, reveal confidential information is only the beginning of the problems, he is becoming a loose cannon

  50. Mike says:

    Red bull just picked Riccardo over the fastest driver in f1- and I don’t mean Hamilton. Joke.

    1. Bartholomew says:

      Kimi isn’t as fast as Vet or Ham IMO, but is the fairest and best wheel to wheel. Shame they didn’t go for him.

  51. Nick says:

    Any chance we could see Hulk’g move to Ferrari or any other decent car?

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      . i know I csnt believe LDM is thinking of keeping Masea. I believe keeping Massa would be farcical but it appears LDM does not see things the same as most fans see which is that Felipe past his sell by date.

      1. BigHaydo says:

        If I had to choose between two drivers that are relatively anonymous all year, but seem to do a good job at the Brazil GP, I’d probably stick with the devil I know…

  52. Old Dry Joint says:

    Saw the interview… MW’s body language was, “oops, but who cares”… he’s become a bit pragmatic in his last year.. a bit like Allan Jones when he first retired because of the F1 BS..

    Go Dan.. Least you won’t be partying at a Robbie Williams concert when there’s work to do..

    1. BigHaydo says:

      If Dan was at a concert, I’d have to say that his taste in music is much better!

  53. rob haynes says:

    I think some observers are being a little too quick to dismiss Daniel as not up to par. His performance at Spa should shut them up, if they check his stats for the race. I believe he will vindicate the faith that R B obviously has in him. As for Mark Webber, how can any reasonable person regard him as just a journeyman driver?

    1. Martin says:

      I could argue that Jules Bianchi is the fastest driver in F1 and there’d be pretty much equal evidence as all the claims against Mark or for Kimi. Newey will know how Kimi drives from the data and what Dan does. I understand he has a pretty significant input into the process.

  54. Nigel says:

    All feels a bit unsatisfying primarily due to Red Bull’s ownership of Torro Rosso as a junior team, after all who of the other top teams would hire Ricciardo as a replacement? Not saying he isn’t talented but is he ahead of Hulk, DiR or Sutil never mind Raikonen.

    The sooner Torro Rosso changes ownership the better INMHO,

    Nigel

  55. Boris says:

    JA – great scoop. I was watching the 10 broadcast and your interview as it played out. I think MW knows, and like you mentioned earlier – decision made and deal done are very different things. All this talk of Dietrich being away on holidays and being unavailable to sign before Spa also makes sense now.

    I do wonder if the big announcement will entail DR getting the seat early now – after reading what Horner said about Junior drivers being available whenever they want. Thoughts?

    1. James Allen says:

      There were some questions on that.

      However RBR need to score lots of points to win constructors’ championship, which is where the money is in F1. So it would be a risk.

      But on the other hand it would give Ricciardo a chance to bed in. He has done a small test (Silverstone) to get a sense of the car. But it would still be a risk

      Also I don’t think Mateschitz would sanction Webber checking out before a send off at the end of the season. They are quite close and DM is big on loyalty

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        James on the Ferrari situation you say it is. likely that Massa will be retained . What reasons can you give for the fact they may not go for Hulkenberg?

      2. adriana says:

        DM maybe big on loyalty , but it is Webber to the team ?

      3. BigHaydo says:

        …or the team to him?

      4. Darren Robinson says:

        James,

        I think there is a good chance of Daniel jumping in the RBR car with 2 or 3 races to go.

        It would be a small risk, Ricciardo would only need to finish in the top 5 most of the remaining races to tie up the constructors title.

        As well as that Porsche have asked for webber early in November for testing.

        Mabe Webber would be happy to go, as hes not in contention for the title.

      5. beb says:

        so Mark may have some inside knowledge & influence? if not hope his outburst does not damage DR. chances at RBR

  56. Dave Mingay says:

    Intermittent KERS, dodgy data logging at starts, a Team built around the Golden Child – Red Bull holds all the cards too at contract time.

    Dan just needs to show his speed, not sign any long term contract and then trust market forces.

  57. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Now Horner is denying this and contradicting Webber, that RICCIARDO is not confirmed for 2014.

    He’s said they have more options now… and that Kimi is not for a longer future, maybe because he is not a young driver.

    I insist RICCIARDO is not doing well enough for Red Bull, and that HULKENBERG is a better option.

    Go HULK !

    1. BigHaydo says:

      What’s Hulkenberg done lately?

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        Fight for points in a really bad car.

      2. TJ says:

        Sounds like the same thing Ricciardo is doing.

      3. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        But HULK did a very good 2012 season.

  58. Anthony Young says:

    It ain’t over til the fat lady sings. So the question is – why hasn’t the fat lady sung yet? Answer, cos it ain’t over!

    And why should it be over? If they don’t plan on announcing anything for a while, why close off any possibilities at this point? Far better to keep the option of Kimi and put Webber up to making this ‘oopsy’ to put a bit of extra pressure on him to sign for less money than he’s asking.

    Nice scoop for you either way though!

  59. Steve says:

    Massa in a ferrari again please keep him then no chance of them becoming constructers champions he should have been booted 3 years ago but Ferrari never fail to surprise me with there stupid decisions :) ive been a fan of F1 for 40 years now and Ferrari ALWAYS make stupid decisions plus lots of drama, so PLEASE keep him LMAO

  60. Stephen Taylor says:

    Or give it to Fisi for a laugh.

  61. forzaminardi says:

    Massa staying at Ferarri is beyond a joke.

  62. Ravi says:

    MW, the usual attention seeker, how many times has he been out of line with the bosses. At the end of it all you are just a mere number two driver who will be forgotten not only be Redbull but by DM as well. So pimp yourself while you can

  63. Tyler says:

    For all the hype and speculation, if it indeed turns out to be as you suggest (Ricciardo to RB, da Costa to TR, Kimi stays, Massa stays) it will all be quite anti-climatic and a bit of a let down.

  64. John Gibson says:

    Webber has a very close relationship with Mateschitz if I recall correctly.

    Maybe he is doing Mateschitz’s bidding here (with Mateschitz’s blessing).

  65. Christos Pallis says:

    Not 100% on this exact topic but I could see Jenson Button leaving McLaren after this year. When you look at who is willing and good enough to sit alongside Vettel at RBR or Fernando at Ferrari then next to Kimi, Button is the obvious choice to bring home the bacon.

    James do you think Button might leave McLaren?

  66. Jet says:

    196 Comments… (What do you think?)

    …. I think this story has been played to death and can now be removed from JA, placed in the Recycle bin, deleted permanately and perhaps format your drive?

    Let’s put the ‘New’ back in ‘News’

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