Analysis: Who stood out in Silverstone young driver test?
Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Jul 2013   |  11:45 am GMT  |  206 comments

Now the dust has settled on the Young Driver Test at Silverstone, we can analyse who performed well and look at some of the drivers for whom this was a vital audition, like Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull. We can also look at some of the tyre test runs carried out by the experienced race drivers to see what the new generation Pirellis will be like for the rest of the season.

With the help and input of JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan, former chief operations engineer at Williams, we will look in detail at Kevin Magnussen’s run in the McLaren; Daniel Ricciardo’s run in the Red Bull and Susie Wolff’s run in the Williams in particular.

It is important to note that it is hard to draw too many comparisons from this test, as there are too many variables. With young drivers testing cars with various development parts on them, while experienced drivers were forced to tyre test only with no technical trickery, so you cannot compare them.

What you can look at, and what the teams will be looking at, is the consistency of the runs and the way the traces of lap time graphs are shaped. The rough rule of thumb is that a nice consistent line, gently descending, shows good consistency and minimum tyre degradation.

Explanatory note – To read these charts, the vertical axis is the lap time, the higher up the slower the lap time, the lower down the faster. The horizontal axis is the number of laps carried out. The early runs are on the left, the later ones on the right. A good long run is one where the lap times show a consistent grouping with a downward trend from left to right.

Magnussen – impressive consistency
Perhaps the standout performance of the test was young Kevin Magnussen in the McLaren on Day 1. The 21 year old has had limited experience in F1, but put in a performance that he and the engineers will be delighted with.

He was sent out with a lot of fuel in the car, but his runs (shown in blue below in Fig 1 below) show highly impressive consistency. If you compare the time delta between the high fuel runs, (shown on the left, the lap times are higher, reflecting the extra weight of the fuel in the car) with the lower fuel runs, on the right, you can see that the difference is what it should be – so he has been able to take the maximum from both the higher and the lower fuel load and has been able to string together laps very consistently in both conditions, with a nice downward trend on both long and short runs.

“If I was on the technical team at McLaren I would be very impressed and very happy with this run,” says Gillan. “It’s a very impressive run for a young man who has limited F1 experience.”

Fig 1

Daniel Ricciardo’s audition for Red Bull

All eyes were on Daniel Ricciardo on Day 2, as he went out and drove his audition for his big career break; a possible promotion to the Red Bull seat, due to be vacated by Mark Webber. Ricciardo is a known quantity to Red Bull, of course, because they have access to all the data from their junior team, Toro Rosso, for whom Ricciardo has raced for a season and a half. He also drove for Red Bull during the Young Driver tests before he made his Grand Prix debut in 2011 with HRT.

But this was an important occasion for the Australian as he battles with Kimi Raikkonen for the drive. Raikkonen is a known quantity, a very fast and consistent race driver who has competed for the world championship for the last two seasons and is on a record run of consecutive points finishes.

On paper Red Bull would be wanting to put the best available driver in Webber’s seat, which on the face of it is Raikkonen. So Ricciardo had to show on Thursday that he has the consistency at a high level and shows potential to be something special for the future, with Vettel only contracted for two more seasons to the team and his intentions unclear beyond that.

He needed to show Red Bull management that taking him is not the risk it appears to be in comparison with the known quantity (albeit far more expensive in wages) that is Raikkonen.

As you can see in Fig 2 below, Ricciardo did a good job in terms of consistency. His Toro Rosso runs (in Red) appear to have been done with lower fuel than the Red Bull runs, (the lap times are lower) probably around 50kg in the Toro Rosso. He was sent out with high fuel only in the Red Bull (hence the slower lap times shown on the vertical axis) but the downward trend in his last run is really nice, with the lap times coming down in line with the fuel burning off. The run shows little tyre degradation so he is managing the tyre as well. Compare this with Maldonado’s final run in Fig 1 in the Williams (shown in green) which shows significant degradation at the end of the run.

Fig 2

Ricciardo’s final run then is very strong and that will be the card he left on the table with Red Bull engineers from this week’s test. They will be reasonably impressed. Only they know how much fuel was in the car, so how outright fast he was. That is not possible for us to say here. If he was on the same fuel as Vettel the next day (Fig 3 below) then he looks slightly slower, but it’s not possible for us to say definitively.

Added to that is his strong qualifying performance in the last few Grands Prix for Toro Rosso, where he has been solidly among the front runners.

He’s giving it his best shot.

Susie Wolff – a competent job

Susie Wolff set a fastest lap 0.4s slower than Daniel Juncadella, the Euro F3 champion, but felt that her five lap run on the faster medium tyres had come too early in the day for her to push to the maximum. She completed almost 90 laps in total and the performance run came on lap 34.

She covered a lot of laps (89 is a more than a race distance and a half), but she didn’t string runs together like Magnussen or Ricciardo. So we cannot look at patterns. She improved in the morning (her runs are shown in dark blue in Fig 3), but there are no long runs to draw conclusions from. She didn’t go off the track and did a solid job, which allows her to speak more knowledgeably about the sport as as development driver in PR appearances and media commitments. She will no doubt push for more opportunities to drive the car and it will be interesting if she gets the chance, with increased testing next season, to see if she attacks it with more confidence next time.

Fig 3

“It was important for me to show I have the performance, it was important to show, given the limited laps I had, I can be on the pace,” Wolff told BBC Sport Online.

“I was only 0.4 secs off the F3 European champion, the guy who’s rated as an up-and-coming young star. For me that was important. If that has more meaning for other people because I am female, then I will use that to my advantage but I’m not going to play the card ‘I’m a girl so give me the car I’m fast enough’.”

Other performances
Carlos Sainz Jr was given plenty of opportunity to run and to showcase his speed on his first ever outing in an F1 with two days in both the Toro Rosso and Red Bull cars. The 18 year old did a 1m 33.061s on the fifth lap of a five lap run on medium tyres in the Toro Rosso on Thursday and a 1m 33.546 on the first lap of a six lap run in the Red Bull with hard tyres on the Friday. His father was delighted with his performance and Red Bull engineers will know how much fuel he had in the car on those runs. He seems to have done quite well.

New generation Pirellis – a more stable race tyre

The runs of Di Resta (Fig 1), Vettel and Sutil (Fig 3) show that the new generation Pirelli tyres, with 2012 constructions married to 2013 compounds are not only safer (no failures in hotter conditions at Silverstone than for the GP) but also more consistent with less degradation. The rest of the season should therefore see the teams doing fewer pitstops than in the early part of the season (Barcelona would be a 2/3 stop race, for example, rather than the four stopper it was) and the drivers will be able to push harder for longer.

There do not appear to have been any surprises on the tyres and therefore there doesn’t appear to be any reason to suspect a major change in the pecking order. The teams that look after their tyres better will continue to do so (look at the impressive final run of Sutil, for example (Fig 3).

But it is going to be hard for any team or driver to catch Vettel and Red Bull for the remainder of the season, as these tyres certainly will not constrict them and they will be able to get the most from the car at every round from now on. It comes down to whether any other team wants to allocate the money and valuable wind tunnel time away from their 2014 development work to have a crack at them this season.

Red Bull have a healthy margin and can thus manage the situation from here.

Featured Innovation
technical innovation from tata COMMUNICATIONS
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!


by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

We decided to tourist guide for london try to rationalize the layout of this wonderful city and you will find it all!

Right now I have 3 London specific books, 1 for the Cotswolds, and 1 for travel in

tourist guide for london general.


Fantastic goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just too excellent. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it smart. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is really a terrific website.


When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment.

Is there any way you can remove me from that service?



I hardoy leave remarks, however i did some searching and wound up here Analysis: Who stood out in Silverstone young driver test?James Allen oon F1 – The official James Allen website on F1.

And I actually do have some questions for you if it’s allright.

Could it be simply me or does it look like some

of the remarks look like written by brain dead individuals?

😛 And, if you are posting at additional places, I’d like to keewp up with everything fresh you have tto post.

Could you make a list of the complete urls of your shared sites like your

Facebook page, twitter feed, oor linkdin profile?


Clearly Riccardo is not great – at the 40 GP mark, the Greats had already won several races (even without the best car) – Riccardo in contrast has not finished top 6 even ONCE – that means under the old points system he would be yet to score a single point after 40GP – what the hell has happened to F1 where such mediocrity is rewarded by serious talk of getting the best car in F1? It’s completely upside down – and for me is the final straw in F1’s relentless demise over the past 20 years. It’s over – RIP F1 – I will remember you how you once were.


Something fishy is going on – Ricciardo has the WORST record of the 4 recent STR drivers;

Alguesari (age 23): 46 GP – 31 points

Buemi (age 24): 55 GP, 29 points

Vergne (age 23): 30 GP, 29 points

Riccardo (age 24): 41 GP, 21 points

His rookie team mate scored more points in 2012 and is again ahead of him in 2013.

Yet Riccardo is the only one being seriously talked about for the Red Bull seat? WTF?!!

Must be a bribe behind the scenes from his backers (probably corporate money from western australia)


I used to go to the official F1 site, or the Beeb for information on F1, but now I just come here, this is the best site!!


Great analysis, always love to read your articles James. Quite a lot of speculation on the RBR seat, hoping it goes to Daniel as it makes a good business case for RBR. Kimi is getting towards the end of his career so does not make much sense in going down this road. I remember the Abu Dhabi test where Daniel drove Vettel’s car and beat his fastest time by half a second. Albeit on a track that was not green but still very good.


Interesting info from Pirelli’s website on the YDT.

Ricciardo’s fastest time in the STR came on used mediums. Sainz’s was on new softs.

Ricciardo’s fastest time in the RB was on new hards. Vettel’s was on new mediums.

Obviously don’t know the relative fuel loads, but Dan comes out of that looking pretty handy.


hey where is that guy ravi now lol he should read this lol. alot of people n this site were bagging dan. shows how much they dont know about f1


Is there anywhere we can get the times for all the laps each driver completed?

Interesting that Ricciardo set his quickest time in the RBR on Hard tyres, where as Vettel set his on the Medium tyre. Is there 3 tenths worth between the Medium and Hard tyres?

If they were running the same setups I’d say that Ricciardo had the edge over Vettel as far as short-run pace and consistency goes.


JA. First of all i’d like like to pay tribute to thos website. The best when it comes to F1. This article was about the young drivers test and not about who is going to get the available seat in RBR next year, but discussions here is all about that. My question is about something else. How do you see Kevin Magnussen’ s chance of getting a seat in F1 next year? He seems to have the pace and talent, but he probably has a problem with lacking sponsorship. And as a Dane that is very frustrating seeing very talented drivers not making it to F1 because of money. Is all down to money now a days?


If he carries on like this next year – when there are 4x2day tests, he will be in F1.

Good timing on his part – as test opportunities come along



Is there likely to be some reservation about Magnussen after his fathers brief account in F1? He was hailed as greater than Senna (if you believed Jackie Stewart) yet heard stories that he smoked and generally didn’t apply himself enough.

Also, what of the times of James Calado? I rate him highly, even if his GP2 season isn’t going as well as he might have hoped.


One needs to give Frijns a race seat. Most talented Dutch single seater driver at the moment by far (new talent is coming though, Max Verstappen and Nick de Vries). But it’s quite obvious he’s very talented.. just look at statistics alone. Problem is he has no money. But hopefully Sauber will give him a slot next year, as I don’t see both Hulkenberg and Gutierrez driving for Sauber next year and they’ll probably have some Russian taking one of the seats.

As far as Kimi / Red Bull goes.. my prediction is Kimi stays with Lotus, Ricciardo to RB, then da Costa and Sainz Jr. at TR (Verge out for 2014).


James, with your connections to Ferrari, can you please say if there is anything to read in Kobayashi’s promotional work with the team. From my perspective, they’ve got two proven official test drivers, they still have association with Fisichella yet they decide to run Kobayashi in Moscow. It’s a bit strange… Unless they know something that general public does not, which is not impossible considering he raced with Ferrari engines over the last three years in Sauber – so plenty of data.


They have various people under contract

I don’t see KOB getting Massa’s seat if that’s what you mean


I have to agree with this. Hulkenburg or massa for the 2nd Ferrari in 2014.


Seems like everyone (including me) wants Kimi in RB. I want him there now because he is fast and deserved the fastest car and the best team.

Christian horner has many more items to weigh up. Such as the potential of Ricciardo improving, possibly a more harmonious drivers relationship and budget.

Kimi also needs to wait and see which team has the best chance for winning the 2014 champion. Remember, he was offered a good price at Williams but he chose Lotus-Renault because that team has the budget and ability to win.

I personally do not expect Red Bull to dominate next year but they might be close to it. Renault actually have a very good chance as history have shown that they always makes the best F1 engines and scored more championship than any other manufacturers in recent times. Plus, that team is the same team that is responsible for all of Alonso’s WDC and two of Schumacher’s WDC. So don’t underestimate Lotus!


I went to Silverstone to watch the test, and I had my Camera setup at the twisty bit before the pit straight.

Its pretty trick to catch an f1 car well on camera, so pointed it the apex, and most cars hit every time, so I didn’t have to move the camera. If they missed the apex though, I didn’t get the shot.

One driver who consistently missed the apex was Daniel, he locked up, or just overshot the apex everytime, and not just by a little. I’m guessing the Redbull doesn’t stop as well as his Toro Rosso.


I went to Silverstone and thought I should think about things,sic

If (he consistently missed the apex all the time, locked up or overshot your words,)

How do you explain the consistency in his times then or his time being 0.078 sec slower than the fastest time for entire test.


Just saying what I saw, or took photos of. I got lots of good pics, but to move the camera to catch him in the end. I like Daniel , just say what I shot, so chill please.


Well his times certainly don’t reflect this. You must have been watching Vergne.


Yet his times seemed still pretty decent, imagine when he gets use to the Red Bull and hits it every time 😉


James, surely Daniel has to get the Red Bull seat, just to get him out of that Toro Rosso hat!


The irony is that 5 years ago, if there had been a “showdown” for a top seat between Kimi and Vettel, the overwhelming majority would have said that Vettel was an unproven talent and Kimi should get the drive, but now, because Vettel has made the most of his opportunites in a top car over several years, Vettel is now a top contender and is massively more “successful” than Kimi has been.

Despite the fact that Kimi is a “known qty” in regards to always being pretty quick regardless, you can’t really compare the two drivers without them driving the same car, ie Ricci has dragged the TR car above Lotus cars several times and its impossible to know what Kimi could have done in the same equipment. Might have done better, might have done worse.

My point is that Ricci could well be a multiple WC in a few years time if given the RB drive and he is young enough to be a long term team leader in the years ahead…


I dont think Ricciardo should be selling himself on the fact that he’s cheaper than Raikkonen. RBR are’nt exactly a budget team, which means regardless of the price they want the best racer.

I think it could be any of them who get the drive, but I think if I was Kimi I would be tempted to stay at Lotus.

With their recent sponsorship deals who knows how well they could improve for 2014.


good analysis all round but could the comparison between maldonado’s runs and those of ricciardo fair considering ricciardo was in a car he wasn’t used to while maldonado in his car? could ricciardo a performance due to the fact that his confidence increased each lap and he breaked or turned the car later and later?

i’d love kimi in the red bull but ricciardo wouldn’t disappoint australian side.


I agree, excellent analysis. But James, could you make the charts clickable?


Well, I would simply want KIMI in a redbull – He had his first sponsor as REDBULL in F1 and I hope that he might end it there. Moreever I believe REDBULL has been with him for quite sometime.

Some people were talking about 16-18 Million Euros/ year for KIMI but just look at the amount of money or revenue he can bring back to REDBULL and the team and y the end of the year I do feel that the amount spent on KIMI would be benefical for both the team in terms of points – WCC/WDC and revenue as well.

KIMI is my choice at REDBULL, if I was Dietrich, no questions asked


Good article.

Wouldnt it be great if Red Bull threw a curve ball and hired neither…Still out of the 2 I think you have to get Ricciardo.

Kimi is just too old now and whilst he is the faster driver Ricciardo has future potential and that is worth alot.

Wolf wont get in F1 now because she is too old. If she was in her 20s and doing those decent (but not exceptional) laptimes she might have had a shot.

Its sad because shes obviously a good driver but hopefully she can make it easier for another female to get there shot.

(And food for thought think of the publicity and fans the team that takes the dip will get)


Give RIC another year at STR to prove his ability with turbo / hybrid cars – up the pressure / expectations and see what happens. After another year (or two) it will be obvious if he’s going to be the genuine contender that RBR want.

Flick JEV in favour of another junior, if for no other reason than it seems JEV is less preferred at the moment – he didn’t get the chance to pedal the RB9 last week for a reason. If STR is RBR’s talent search engine then it should be used as such – Next!

Give RAI a one-year RBR contract with a one-year option (both sides). Who knows how he’ll react in the RBR environment / demands? I don’t think his skills or desire are an issue. How ‘comfortable’ he is critical.

VET’s longer-term intentions would be perhaps better understood after another year.

Doing the above gives RBR a great shot at winning the WCC / WDC next year in what will be a bit of a raffle given the scope of the rule changes.

Beyond that, buying themselves a bit of time by kinda fudging 2014 as above may be enough to give RBR a clearer view of the driver strategy for 2016 onwards.

VET/RBR is an extraordinary coupling. Once it is broken we should see who brought most to the partnership by their results after breaking up. Or perhaps the partnership itself is the key and neither will enjoy the same success once they go their separate ways.


The tyres are more consistent now whcih is good but I am afraid that with the conservative choices Pirelli have made for the next few races we might be back to 1 stop races? Can this be altered at all?

Tornillo Amarillo

Good to see a MAGNUM in F1! He could be a great gun for McLaren.

BRAVO for Pirelli, we breathe.

Red Bull IMHO:

1. if money is the point, Kimi will be there in 2014

2. if PR job or whatever is a deal-breaker for Kimi and he decides to stay at Lotus, then Ricciardo will be there in 2014 evidently

3. and SAINZ to Toro Rosso asap

Vettel: Mercedes can catch him… Maybe Ferrari too, and Lotus, but with team orders.

Tornillo Amarillo

I explain myself: Mercedes do poles, stay ahead with the new Pirellis, and “team orders” or agreement made between HAMILTON and ROSBERG after SPA…


Daniel was close to Vettel and Webber’s lap times in his first YDTs before he got his first race seat. He has been consistently exceptional over a lap. All the fanboy mugs that never get impressed by drivers in bad cars will keep being the mugs that they are and call Kimi a big step up. Both Kimi (post Montoya years) and Daniel are measured drivers, probably the most alike in the whole F1 field. Most of the drivers are exceptional but Daniel has had that something 0.5% extra in speed across 3 different cars and the big variations in tyres over the 3 years. Daniel’s issue has been questions over his race craft and mongrel. He has been dealing with those issues this year. In his defence he has been at his most accommodating when the RBR guys are at close hand and that is when he has been shunted down after achieving high qualifying positions. What would you do with Marko around? Even when Vettel plainly caused an incident with Daniel he gets torched and no support from Marko. He has no plan B, no budget, just Marko and the Australian GP who cut their 2014 GP advertising images over from Webber to Ricciardo a month before Mark’s annoucnement. This year Daniel has been tougher, he still has to deal with the counter strategy they run for Vergne generally being a better one for the Torro Rosso than his allowed strategy on less tyres but he has been getting over this better than in 2012. Vergne is better on intermediates for speed in both qualifying and race, but if you take that out (which has given Vergne his main claims to be on terms with Daniel, then Daniel is consistently better in qualifying and they are close on race pace with only the engineers probably knowing on the latter. Vergne also appears to be a future top driver so I doubt he will get dropped by TR next year even if (and likely moreso due the development issues when they dumped Buemi and Algeurseri together) if Daniel goes up. He also has more chance at picking up EU sponsors with the big cash to get him a seat outside the RB framework than Daniel who would likely be toast with the small amounts he could muster from Australia.

Adrian Newey Jnr

James – What is your take on the decision to take Vergne over Daniel? The points is very close and Vergne has a lot less F1 experience? Has he done something to upset the team management?


Interesting to note that Ricciardo’s “quick” runs were more consistently quick than Vettels. Ricciardo seemed fairly consistent around the 93.5 seconds mark, where as Vettel’s times bounced around a bit.

Ricciardo also appeared to be more consistent in the longer runs than Vettel, with Vettel being faster.

James, I have 2 questions for those that have access to more information than we do:

1) Was there much evidence of track evolution over the 3 days – ie. times dropping as a result of the track rubbering in, etc?

2) How do you explain Ricciardo going faster the longer he stayed out (in both the STR and RBR)? Could this mean that with the new Pirelli tyres we return to the situation with Bridgestone, where the benefit of fuel burn outweighed the disadvantage of tyre-wear?

Thank you.


Interesting to note that Ricciardo’s “quick” runs were more consistently quick than Vettels. Ricciardo seemed fairly consistent around the 93.5 seconds mark, where as Vettel’s times bounced around a bit.

Ricciardo also appeared to be more consistent in the longer runs than Vettel, with Vettel being faster.

James, I have 2 questions for those that have access to more information than we do:

1) Was there much evidence of track evolution over the 3 days – ie. times dropping as a result of the track rubbering in, etc? Could this mean that with the new Pirelli tyres we return to the situation with Bridgestone, where the benefit of fuel burn outweighed the disadvantage of tyre-wear?

Thank you.

2) How do you explain Ricciardo going faster the longer he stayed out (in both the STR and RBR)?


He was burning up fuel. A lighter car goes faster, as it has less mass to accelerate and brake, etc.

rob in victoriabc

Two questions:

Will Sauber really put the 17yr old in the car next year? And, how does Goodwood still get away with using bales of hay as barriers?


Hey Justin, congratulations. There are 165 comments responding to this article, and you are the only one who has actually commented on the charts, which one would think is the point of the story.

Everybody is jumping to conclusions based on Vettel’s one quick time. Yet, the charts show, this time was a one-off, set on lower fuel load.

If you read the story at the top of the page, it’s the long runs that the engineers look at.

As Justin pointed out, all Dan’s runs are more consistent than Seb’s. If you study the charts, Dan’s performance stacks up really well. Only Dan’s last run is slower than Seb’s, but clearly that was a heavy fuel run.


I still think the star was Calado; I don’t understand why he’s not getting the mention in the press.


i am still not convinced that raikonnen is as good as everyone says. he would be in a team that has been built run and managed for vettel alone. does anyoine seriously think that he would get total equality?

people also seem to think that this ‘iceman’ image is cool. he is verging on the ‘aged’ in F1 terms and the fresh approach that ricciardo would bring to the red bull marketing would be far more successful IMO. i really do feel that at this time, given the future scenario that ricciardo is more than ever ready to make the move. his driving times at the YDT more than ever show his relative consistency over the longer runs.


If that was the case, Vettel would be pulling a salary that at least matches Alonso. He is no where near. He is making the best of the situation he is in. For Red Bull he is more than replaceable and he knows it, but he is not stupid.


@kiml4wdc….and your point is exactly what? i just don’t see what you’re driving at.


All this PR song a dance has actually, in my opinion, only strengthened the rumors that RB have already signed Kimi ages ago.

First of all, less than a month after Mark Webber’s announcement, RB have already restricted their candidates to only Kimi and Ricciardo – very fast and limited from them, especially if we take at face value Horner’s statement that he was not aware of Mark announcement beforehand.

And the two candidates then: the other is deserving but unpredictable – he could always leave the sport – and the other a big question mark. I have to confess that I have neither knowledge nor opinion of Daniel Ricciardo’s driving ability, but if the only achievements to support him getting the seat are his times in YDTs *after 40 GPs*, I’m not exactly convinced. A week or two ago there was no even consensus who was the better driver between him and JEV. In fact, the only thing that seems to have made Ricciardo worthy of the RB seat in the eyes of public is RB themselves with their PR actions and comments.

The only logical way I can make sense of this situation is that they have already signed Kimi, allowed Mark to announce his retirement out of respect to him and continued to promote the Toro Rosso drivers (or the remaining Toro Rosso driver?) as potential RB drivers because what else can they do?

If that isn’t true, then I’m really baffled at their choices. If Daniel Ricciardo were their first choice they would not be after a driver like Kimi. And if Kimi is their first choice what they will do if Kimi declines? If Ricciardo is really their other choice why are they evaluating him, shouldn’t they already be quite sure seeing that there is no much other options left open?

I really can’t believe that they would limit their choices to only two options within a time frame especially when there is no obligation – unless they know the answer already.

Lastly, I’m not going to list Kimi’s pros because they are obvious, but instead I have to say this about his cons:

– Age: Mark was older than him and they still signed him last year

(And about long term plan – you don’t need it so badly if you are the top of the top. What you need instead is *to stay on top*)

– Salary: Yes, he is undoubtedly more expensive than Ricciardo, but Mark probably didn’t come cheap either, and they still signed him last year.

– Popularity: Lol! (Sea of Finnish flags in China? I’m pretty sure Dietrich Mateschitz is salivating over the possibilities on Asian markets already.)

The only con I can think about, is that no-one in their right mind would ever consider Kimi as a “second driver”. But next year there will be rule changes and an engine change and they will need something more than a second driver – so it might not be a coincidence at all that Mark Webber is retiring before it starts…


great comment, thanx


That is exactly your problem then in regards to Ricciardo, you have no knowledge of how he has been going and therefore are basing your opinion of him purely on the YDT. Everyone knows Kimi is a class act, his speed, consistency, former WDC but ultimately there are other factors involved as to which you have alluded to.

When you look at DR, he IMO has transcended the TR just not on a consistent basis yet and that has moved him in the frame along with strong race performances. He trounced Luizzi once he got up to speed in the HRT and has easily held the qualifying edge to Vergne. Only reliability and poor STR strategy has stopped DR being ahead of JEV in the points. How many other midfield drivers have managed to qualify their car in the top ten where it doesn’t belong? An example would be Button’s reaction in China when he heard DR being in the list for Q3 top ten ‘Ricciardo? Wow…’

– Di Resta? he has a really good season so far but doesn’t seem like much of a team player or media friendly bloke

– Hulkenburg? as good as he is, he didn’t really blow Rubens away

– Vergne? even if he is ahead in points (IMO he drove brilliant in Canada but was lucky in Monaco to be in the points with so many top drivers falling out), he qualifies a lot further back than DR and this will be important in front of the grid

RB can do anything they like in terms of drivers, they know Hulkenburg is out of contract and other drivers they easily have the resources to get. Who wouldn’t want to be in a RB? IMO they have narrowed the selection down to the right drivers, just a matter of all the other pros/cons that come with them.


Thanks James for an excellent article on a very interesting event, the Young Driver Test.

Reading the tea leaves on who is replacing Webber is getting to be a bit much and your comment; “On paper Red Bull would be wanting to put the best available driver in Webber’s seat” says it all….’on paper’.


I don’t know what to make of Susie wolf – I’d rather she goes run GP2 races. When was the last time she raced single seaters – 2007? I don’t like the way she’s gotten the drive, but if she’s good enough, fine. We just don’t know that. There’s been a lot made about the younger drivers racing skills the last few years – I’d be seriously concerned with Susie’s given she hasn’t raced open wheel in a long time.


Did she pass or fail the test ?


That’s hard to say. She was into the pits so much we didn’t get a chanced to see consistent driving over a long stint. Did Williams bring her in so much to rest her? Did she do long enough stints to qualify for a super license?


So the only succesful driver (Vettel) produced by Toro Rosso was actually groomed by BMW ?


vettel was on loan to bmw from red bull.


Not remotely close to correct. Vettel had been in the Red Bull Junior Team since 1998. You are correct that BMW gave him his break when Kubica was called up to replace Villeneuve, but even then he still wore Red Bull branding on his helmet.


Exactly! The whole young driver programme needs validating argument is complete nonsense really.


good points.


Which is the more representative Juncadella time, 34.0 on Wednesday or 34.6 on Thursday?


Clearly Daniel Ricciardo did a first class job and his Torro Rosso performances have been excellent. However I have to agree with Irish Con : Red Bull would be mad not run with Kimi who would be a banker if Vettel leaves for Ferrari.

As for Wolff : she wouldn’t get a drive from this performance and reading the code behind James’ comment, she didn’t have enough confidence to push the car.

After so much time in the Williams simulator that’s a damning verdict.

I suppose she will be able to see out her career doing PR and talking to impressionable journalists from the tabloids. I can’t see professional F1 journalists being the least bit impressed.

Of course her husband could always buy her a drive at Marussia or Caterham : maybe she might even do better than karthikeyan managed running round at the back of the field ?

Daniel Spiller

Course you could argue for someone who has barely driven a single seater racecar for nearly ten years that she did a pretty fine job. 10 years of driving pretty much exclusively DTM cars (excusing last years shakedown) and i’d say being 0.6 secs behind a current F3 champion driver in a completely alien vehicle was pretty impressive. Yes, not lightening fast, but COMPETENT.


She had had plenty of time in the Williams simulator this year so she should not have found it too difficult.

Williams announced today that she will do no more running with them.

If any more proof were needed that this was no more than a publicity stunt,that’s it.

She might now qualify for a Super Licence but I’m not sure where that will take her.


Judging on your faith in the simulator you are obviously not very up on F1. Some current drivers use the simulator because they have to but not to attune themselves with the performance of the car on the track. For a rookie Ms Wolff did enough to finish midpack. I’m not seeing any negative comments about those she beat in testing and that was almost half of the field.


I agree with you up to a point but, as far as singling Wolffe out for negative comments :

James only talked in depth about Ricciardo and Wolffe.

Daniel’s performance is deservedly in the news because he’s in the frame for one of the best seats in F1, Wolffe most certainly isn’t.

The only reason she is receiving more coverage than the other mediocre performers is her gender. In this respect she’s no more deserving of the coverage than than she is of a seat.

As I have said, I would love to see a Woman in F1 on merit but Wolffe isn’t good enough.

As far as age is concerned, Steve, If any driver is continuing to score points and podiums at 37, 40 or even 45 and isn’t crashing, he is unlikely to come under pressure to give up his seat.

In F1, only results matter.


Kimi is too old to be a Vettel replacement – he’ll be 37 in 2016, the earliest year Seb might leave. And RB could buy a lot of car performance with the 10-15 million Euro they’d save by taking Ricciardo over Raikkonen.


Externally this YDT is very inconclusive, but as you say James Red Bull must know the fuel loads and have more data. Still if the fuel loads aren’t massively different then Red Bull have more thinking to do. The only thing that is abundantly conclusive is that Sainz Jnr is a definite talent and we might see JEV loose his seat next year !.

If Red Bull want the fastest driver in that no2 seat then sorry it’s not Ricciardo and I would think there are at least 2 other better options other than Kimi. But if it comes to money then Kimi is not the guy either – however the points he would earn would be probably twice what any driver what bring to RBR. Tough call..

Perhaps Red Bull may want to wait later this year to make the call ?.


Very good analysis of the consistency James.

I found it impressive that Kevin managed to get the fastest time around Silverstone in a car which is not the fastest and appears to have handeling problems with the race drivers in it.

Andrew Halliday

Hi James,

I was at the Silverstone test on Wednesday and Thursday and enjoyed seeing Ricciardo driving the Red Bull.

If Red Bull were to give him the drive, do you think he would be doing a ‘Felipe Massa’ and effectively having the opportunity to drive a field leading car with the caveat of not being allowed to fight for the championship or would he have the chance to emulate Vettel and work his way up from a Red Bull junior to a Red Bull driving world championship contender?


Article is really interesting but there’s some incorrect facts:

1. Sainz did hid laptime with the Toro Rosso with SOFT (yellow) tires (1.33.0)

2. Daniel Juncadella best lap time was 1.34.0 (medium tires) on day 1 and not 1.34.6 that Susie compares with.



What is the perception in the paddock about what Kimi actually wants to do next year?

It seems a common assumption that Kimi would jump at the opportunity to move to Red Bull, but I wonder if he might be happier staying at Lotus.

Driving for Red Bull would mean going back to the high profile / high pressure environment that he hated at Ferrari and Vettel would surely do everything to make life as difficult as possible for him. He doesn’t need the money and he seems to be in the perfect team for him at Lotus. Why would be want the hassle of moving if he’s enjoying his racing now?


Is he really enjoying his racing as much as a lot of fans make out? Kimi wants to win races, not rack up points. How many times haven’t we heard him talk about how disappointed he was with the result and that 2nd place wasn’t good enough, or moan at his engineer for essentially talking to much and feeding him information he doesn’t need.


These are the very reasons Kimi’s so popular with fans of all ages.


possibility to win his 2nd WDC?


there is no doubt about it, the focus is on the championship asap!

Scuderia McLaren

Or to help his BFF win his 5th consecutive Formula One WDC. Kimi is known for his generosity of spirit and depth of character.

On a side note, it’s a mental blow out to think we are even discussing Vettel equaling Prost and Fangio title counts. It feels like yesterday he had a very outside chance at a title challenge in Abu Dhabi in 2010.

Now he essebtially has title 4 wrapped up and is ensuring the car and his team mate are ready to support title 5!


Excellent comment!


Good to see the WDC decided before the summer break. *Not*


This is a little off topic but surely Jenson Buttons seat at Mclaren must be under question. He was very poor last year and is getting away with average performances this year because of a poor car. Surely Mclaren should be looking at Kimi to be there team leader or do they have a pro British stance. I also think if Hamilton had the right attitude he would be leading the world championship. He often is the fastest driver but doesn’t seem to have the mental toughness of vettel or alonso. I’d love alonso to win especially after last year but can’t see anyone other than vettel winning again this year.

Tornillo Amarillo

I agree Hamilton would be leading the Championship, with the best car. That’s why Vettel are leading it.

Vettel, Alonso, Kimi, Hamilton, they are the best, and this year you have to add Rosberg. No one else, no Webber.

Jenson was taking advantage of Hamilton setups before, and now is lost. McLaren too, but they will be back.


That’s a very strange comment.

As your name is pj I take it your still wearing them and have just woken up from a dream about a 2012 season where Jenson drove poorly?

Please go and review what actualy happened before you post..dreams eh?! 🙂

Scuderia McLaren

Button has brought the McLaren team more pts over their time as team mates between 2010-2012. This is not the whole story in analysing Ham and But, however it isnt an insignificant fact either.

Hamilton is faster, significantly so, but the above points fact highlights how Hamilton has failed to convert significantly faster speed and qualifying positions into cold hard pts for championships. Not withstanding his retirements of course, which Button has a fair share too in the three years.

Either Hamilton significantly under performed on his speed advantage or Button compensated well and raced far better than his native speed allows.


Hamilton is the fastest, for and F1 driver that’s all that matters and that’s why the lad attracts a very high premium. 2012 was his first year as a complete driver like Alonso, this year is his second (these things come with experience); watching those two cleanly dicing on track is a beautiful thing indeed.

If Lewis 2012 McLaren team had been Ferrari or Red Bull, he’d have easily won the championship long before the end of 2012. Instead, he had to deal with the stumbling, stuttering buffoonery of the McLaren pit wall that easily cost him between 120 and 150 points. Its funny how, because its Lewis, really silly things have to be said and bad sums done (even about 2012).


button’s aim was to show how he compared with hamilton and hamilton’s aim was to win championships. while hamilton was busy trying to get his engineers and mechanics to wind world championships, button was busy trying to get his mechanics and engineers to make his car faster than hamilton’s.


If I was Jenson, I’d be really worried about Kevin Magnussen. In fact, I’d be having nightmares and sweaty palms all day long.

As for Lewis, his car is not good enough to be leading the standings. It has nothing to do with his mind, that’s just the rubbish certain types who know nothing about F1 want to put out about him.


i like your comment. the problem is many people have formed an opinion and are desperately looking for evidence to support their wishful opinions. secondly negativity about hamilton draws attention so it has become the staple ingredient in most articles. he drew attention to himself with his driving pre kers and drs which was not inline with the formed opinion. it’s always easier to lie about things others can’t see.

many believe they can make better choices for hamilton than he does but fail to use the comparison of their results with hamilton’s as evidence. strange.


I agree with you. Jenson is in a wobble, and I’ve always suspected his durability, despite his longevity.


“He was very poor last year”…really?

Points scored during the 2012 season:

Lewis Hamilton : 190

Jenson Button : 188

REALLY…do you want to get your foot out of your mouth and try that again? There is no way to say that “if Hamilton had the right attitude he would be leading the world championship…blah blah blah” but then have to admit that Jenson basically tied him in points last year, and actually beat him by three points during their three years together.

Why on earth would his seat at McLaren be under question, exactly?


While I agree with you in that Button’s seat should remain secure (he’s still a great driver). Lewis did have an INCREDIBLY unlucky year last year and his points tally in no way indicate how well he drove.

It was clear last year that Lewis outperformed Button, but that should by no means follow through to Button losing his seat at McLaren.


How many times did Lewis car break down when he was in a comfortable lead of GP or was messed up by operational errors/ penalties (fuel) not only last year but the last three years- sure it happened to Jenson but no where near as much. If you take the times they both finished a GP – the numbers are very different.

To all you great statisticians out there look beyond the numbers- there are many things that happen beyond being a great driver that makes you top of the leader board. The perfect eg is this year for Mclaren.!!


@Aaron- everyone knows that except 2012 Red Bull have had the fastest car since 2010. & 2012 the MP4-27!had two pit stop dramas that cost them the lead of the race and 2 more that were very bad, it had two mechanical failures – Abu Dhabi, Singapore where he was a certain winner..Mclaren ran him too low on petrol at 1 quali(Spain I think) where he was faster than the Bulls.

If you take only half those situations into consideration ( and points from the guys infront) he would have fought for the championship. That’s why he left Mclaren!! Lotus never had a car that broke down and although slow- they never had pit stops dramas. Whilst Im a huge Kimi fan- there’s no denying the facts- and anyone who follow F1 closely knows- Mclaren lost 2012- not Lewis- he drive exceptionally well. .


Hmm Vettel has had more retirements from leading the race and car troubles in 2010, but he still came through and won the WDC, Sadly cant say the same with Hamilton, having the best car for arguably 2/3 or atleast 1/2 of the season last year and then finishing 91 points behind the WDC says a lot, look at Kimi he won only once compared to 4 times for Hamilton and yet finished ahead of him. Hamilton may be quick over a single lap but he lacks consistancy and focus when compared to Vettel, Alonso and Kimi


Another good one Elie


I really think that if Hamilton had comfortably beaten Button, that he would get much more praise from Hamilton supporters, thus giving Lewis more shine for beating him. But because he got more points over their time together, he is dismissed as just lucky and every bit of bad luck for Lewis isn’t far away from the discussion, together with all MWs faults.


Mclaren had the best car last year yet finished 90 points behind vettel and alonso. Button finished the season well but he was out of the championship before the season was half over he had a few dreadful races where he finished 16, 14, 10 etc he blamed the set up and the tyres yet Hamilton was close to winning these races. Hamilton had a poor end of the season besides one win. They both underachieved given the car they were driving. I like Jenson but I don’t think he’s consistent like alonso or vettel he’s more like mark webber he has one great performance and follows it with a poor and average performance. I stand by what I say by Hamilton he is the fastest but isn’t mentally strong enough when something is going wrong he feels the need to show his frustrations over twitter, in an interview or over team radio. Both Hamilton were lucky with the world championships they won, button will not win another for sure, Hamilton needs to be more professional if he is to win another.


They had a fast car, but didn’t understand the tyres after Melbourne (where a combination of warm temps and a hard-braking street circuit helped them get heat into them). For JB, that was something he couldn’t overcome, as he doesn’t aggressively rotate the car. Hamilton does, which helped him with temps. When JB changed to a higher-downforce setup, he toasted the tyres for 5 races, until he reset to a neutral setup. The second they figured out the tyres, they dominated the last part of the season, with both drivers trading wins. This wasn’t a driver problem, or a design problem. This year, it is simply a design problem…but one that (as I have written) I fully support (testing a high-nose chassis and pull-rod suspension) before 2014’s rules come in).

Button will never win another championship, but he didn’t think he was going to win one even 5 years ago.


I think that the problem of McLaren wasn’t the drivers as you try to say here, even having a very fast car all the last decade they won just one WDC, this is a car not reliable and last year they had many problems with the pit stops, this team is declining gradually and we can see it now.


I think you did’t follow the the 2012 season, the 2 points difference doesn’t represent the 2012 season performance of Button, hamilton could have +100 points over button, He had a number of DNFs while leading for victory.


But… at the end of the day he only scored 2 more points.


Kimi’s the best driver, no doubt about it. But the reason for Toro Rosso is for Red Bull to have a team for their development drivers. If they don’t promote Daniel, what happens then? Is he cast aside from Toro Rosso too? If he’s not seen as Red Bull material, then why keep him? No point having a development team if you don’t “promote”from within.

Adrian Newey Jnr

To take good drivers away from other teams.


Also don’t forget that the Red Bull effort is essentially a marketing effort from an energy drinks company with a need to appeal to a growing youth audience. Daniel is a better proposition as a poster boy than the older sterner Kimi, with a lot of value to a large percentage of the Latinate countries, especially now he has had the cow catcher choppers fixed. He’s a great property from every aspect. ‘Son of Aussie Grit’… but maybe not the same tough outspoken character just yet.


I disagree here, first of all Kimi is more popular than DR not just for the “old” people as you suggest. And you said that Daniel has a lot of value in Latin countries, but actually the most popular F1 driver in Latin countries is in fact Kimi.


Kimi would get me supporting RBR…and that’s saying something!!

I am sure I wouldn’t be the only new fan buying t-shirts etc if Kimi went there and, like it or not, Kimi is a bigger name than Daniel (except for if you count the number of letters in their first name!!)


“Daniel is a better proposition as a poster boy than the older sterner Kimi”

Not so sure about that, Kimi is probably the best followed driver in F1.

Personally I think the whole Ricciardo thing is there to give Red Bull an option should Kimi say no. Not that I think he’s said, no, I think most of the deal is already complete and Daniel is used as a catalyst to get the Kimi deal done ASAP. VET is mates with Kimi, and I think Horner wants another very fast driver to enable RBR to win more team championships. Having two of the best three drivers together in the same team would be great to see. Both Kimi and Vettel need it to happen really, neither has ever gone up against a really top driver (JPM was probably on a par with MW in terms of speed/consistency) in like for like machinery before.


good points Paul


you must be some old git like me, but you don’t seem to have a sense of street-cred at the Red Bull target audience altitude.

Kimi is the most street-cred driver in F1 for the primary target audience of Red Bull; it’s not even anywhere near to close.

The entire media averse mythology of Kimi is the ideal material to sell Red Bull as ‘rad’ despite their winning the past three years and thus defining ‘the establishment’ in F1, right now.



Old git or not, I know that there are millions of potential drinkers of that ghastly tasting rocket fuel who know nowt about F1 but lots about pictures of a handsome young chappie with a big conk, who might look something like them. I agree that the Kimster has loads of cred but the number of F1 fans are relatively few; the teaming millions have many more mouths and waiting gullets. Does Red Bull really care about motor racing? Hmm, maybe. A bit. But only as an adjunct to the main game of flogging the sickly swill.


Kimi’s not THAT old…!!


It seems we agree on supporting points; so I don;t understand why you think Ricciardo is superior marketing material than Kimi.

Kimi can bring thos skateboarding, snowboarding, BMXing, XXX sqadrons into the big smoke at Red Bull; Ricciardo… not a chance!

So, I’d appreciate just a few more milestones in your logical progression, which concludes Ricciardo to be the better option, on the marketing basis.


Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m32.894s

Ricci ………………………….1m32.972s +.078

Looks on the face of it like Seb just wanted to better Ricci’s time, regardless of fuel loads. If Kimi was testing Seb might have had a tougher challenge, I would guess.

This whole Ricci -v-Kimi saga that Horner has set up is a silly business IMV, It’s clear they are on two different planets:

planet good, maybe excellent one day soon; and planet one of the very best F1 has produced in twenty years or more.


What bothers me about Mrs Wolff is that there are much better female drivers out there. Yet, oddly enough the only female driver in F1 is married to a senior F1 person. One could almost accuse F1 of having a casting couch. Its not just the “girl” card, its the “married” or “relationship” card, seemingly at play.

On the other hand, is this any less legit than sponsor’s pets getting drives? I mean, Vettel, not the best driver ever, or on the grid, but incredibly backed by Red Bull and as a result, 3xWDC. Or Max Chiltern backed by a rich dad?

So in many ways, while I do have huge reservations about Mrs Wolff, she isn’t really that much different form many of, if not a majority of, current F1 drivers.

What is legit in F1 these days? And if this is bad, what should or can be done about it?


Vettel’s abilities stand up on their own merit, every series he was part of prior to F1 he was competitive in. There was an element of luck in his getting into BMW Sauber for races and then Torro Rosso via Scott Speed’s ability (lack of), but he seized every opportunity he’s been given with both hands. He’s outshone Hamilton in every respect (the other current driver to have one major sponsor since year dot clearing his path to F1).


Every single other professional sport in the world has a separate league for women. Why should motorsport be any different? If it is the case that it is not economically viable to run a women’s series, then there simply isn’t one. Even golf has two different tours. Looking at the graph, her times for the most part are the slowest. It is not a fair playing field for all involved.

As for Chilton, it’s a joke. A new rule should be made and strictly enforced whereby in order for a driver to participate in Formula 1, they MUST actually WIN a championship in one of the following open wheel series. IRL, World Series by Renault, GP2 or European Formula 3. Chilton’s results in lower categories have been at best very mediocre. Your sentiments are correct, he should not be in F1 simply because his father is loaded.


There already is a rule designed to address the problem of slow drivers interfering with the race, that is they need special permission from the race stewards if they can’t produce a reasonable qualifying time within 107% of the fastest time. Maybe the value needs to be adjusted a little but the rule is sound.


Wolff hadn’t done anything in junior series, or DTM. That’s why there’s so much opposition to her getting a drive. Vettel clearly is one of the best drivers ever, as well as on the grid, and did very well in junior series, came in at 19, and performed at the highest level of racing straight away.

Adrian Newey Jnr

I question William’s choice to spend valuable testing time on this PR stunt. Their car is a massive step backwards on last years and they’ve just changed technical directors. Their major sponsor and lead driver is probably getting pissed off by this. Surely the smarter thing to do was spend more time focused on solving these issues? I question the sense in this.


The vast majority of F1 experts back Vettel as part of the top tier of current drivers. Red Bull have employed the best talent available in all categories, why would they skimp on the driver? They must have a much better regard for him than you.

The Autocar team principal vote is generally used to show that Alonso was the best driver last year, you’ll notice Vettel has ended 1, 2, 1, 2 the last four years, comfortably the best over the period. Not proof of his standing in the paddock, but gives a good indication.


Alonso’s stock will be sinking, so far this year.


Correction, Autosport, not Autocar


“I mean, Vettel, not the best driver ever, or on the grid, but incredibly backed by Red Bull and as a result, 3xWDC.”

Thanks for reminding me that considerable numbers of F1 fans know nothing at all about F1.


@SteveS, What in his post was inaccurate? It all made sense and was correct. He never said Vettel wasn’t a fantastic driver, just that there are better out there with less financial backing, which is wholly true.


All right then, you tell me – which driver out there is both (a) better than Vettel and (b) has less financial backing? Give reasons for your answers. You won’t be able to, since neither of these things are true.

The claim made by ACx was that Vettel has 3xWDC as a result of being “incredibly backed by Red Bull”. The reality is that Vettel has received considerably less backing from Red Bull than Alonso has received from Ferrari.


Hi James,

Great analysis..

You mentioned Kimis salary would be much more than Daniels for the Red Bull seat next year. I am curious to know how much he would be paid compared to Daniel?


Would it also makes sense to hire Ricciardo in the knowledge that in 2 years time, not only Vettel but many other top line drivers will be on the market then as well?

Kimi would be an obvious choice to sit alongside Vettel. But surely he would also be considered equal and upset the apple cart a bit? As as recent history has shown you don’t want 2 top line drivers taking points off each other for the drivers championship.

I could imagine Red Bull wanting a soild no.2 with the chance for them to grow into a no.1. That driver would accumulate precious points for the constructors as well. With Ricciardo coming from the Red Bull line up, for me its the most logical thing to do. Plus much cheaper to employ!


If RB wants a long term and eventual Vettel replacement then RB should look for Hulkenber or Rosberg. I don´t think Ricciardo is the right answer.


Don’t think Rosberg would take the chance of a move to Red Bull when next year the Merc is just as likely as Red Bull to be the car to be in.


you’ve probably got it right, on rationale, but if you factor in the personalities of the two top guys at Red Bull, Deitr and Helmut, they both unabashedly like Kimi; ultimately, it will be this that is the deciding factor from the Red Bull side of the decision; They are not afraid to upset the apple cart, even for their uber-star minchkin; I’d even go so far as to wonder if they would like to see it, just to to find out…


Out of all the companies though red bull can probably afford it – they may be the only ones for who cash isn’t a major issue – other than perhaps Mercedes short term



Kimi would want circa €16-18 million, I’d guess,

Daniel is on less than €1m now.

Scuderia McLaren

Less than €1m. How’s does the poor boy live?!



His Lotus salary is nowhere near €16-18m though is it? (I’m guessing sub €5 million?)

As a WDC with such a marketable image they can’t pay him substantially less than Vettel though I guess. If the data from Ricciardo’s pace at the YDT is impressive enough I reckon it’s his to lose…


Business Book GP estimates that Kimi’s salary is 3M, Vettel earns 12M. So, I don’t think Kimi will ask more than 10M. (Which is actually Webber’s salary).


Miles out


I believe Kimi is on a performance based contract (gets money for every championship point). This is reportedly one of the reasons for their huge financial loss last year, Kimi was much more successful than expected.


Than Kimi would earn more than Vettel, am I right?


Does anyone know how many constructors points that’s equivalent to? I guess there may not be an exact answer as the funds are probably distributed according to who came first, second, third etc. in the final constructors rankings rather than by the number of points?


Yes, they are.

Seán Craddock

What’s Kimi on at the moment and what is Vettel thought to be on?

Great analysis James, I thought there was no point looking at the YDT but since it’s been broken down into the important times it’s great. Thanks


I think the RB drivers are on a comparatively small base salary. My understanding is that they receive bonuses based on points scored. Thus Seb wiping the floor with Mark at Malaysia 😉


james, and how much is a point.. lets say, Kimi scores 50 points more than Ricardo, then both salaries would be iqual, so it will make sense to hire the proven better finisher. IMO.

Matthew Conolly

Don’t points *cost* the team money to the FIA these days?


Jesus Christ, what do these guys do with so much money?! I hope they give a large portion do charity…

Seán Craddock

You do know that Ferrari paid Kimi $153,000,000 for three years right?


Mostly to Swiss or Monaco tax collectors. 🙂


If Kimi is willing to take a pay cut to go for a real championship challenge I think he would settle for a 10m euro salary and that should be enough to convince Redbull to sign him I think 18 million is too much considering Seb is on less than that and my bet would be Seb beating Kimi.


I’m not sure this will be decided over the money. This is going to be decided over equal chances in the car compared with Seb. I don’t see RBR giving Kimi the chance to race Seb and risk crashes. They are happy enough with Seb doing the job he did very very well in the past 3 years.

Kimi don’t think will accept playing second in the team, and RBR know Kimi won’t put up with any kind of sh*t like Mark did. He will blow it over the radio faster than you can say your name.


probably right on the salary, but I’d enjoy seeing the intra-team racing, regardless of how Red Bull did in the championship.


Red Bull have deep pockets, but any way you slice it, 16M is a lot of development money in an important year.

What will Kimi do if RBR don’t take him? I think RBR will take Daniel, Kimi will go 1 year extension at Lotus and we’ll play this game again in 2014. Why pay Kimi 16-18m in 2014 when engines are apparently such an unknown quantity? Not like they need Kimi to win WDCs. Guy in the #1 car is doing OK.


ANJ – you just made the claim that money is no object for RBR – and then you turn around and argue that they should be focused on maximizing their WCC standings to try to earn a little more money?


Newey Jnr., RRA? Didn’t your dad tell you RRA is not followed at RBR? 🙂

Adrian Newey Jnr

Driver salaries are outside of the RRA. Therefore how much they pay them doesn’t affect their budget. RB can afford to pay for a man to jump from near-space and pay Adrian Newey more than their drivers. They’re paying Webber $8-10m a year so any extra Kimi would cost is tiny in comparison.

The important thing to them is points as this is what determines the payout from the FOM. If I were Horner, who would guarantee me more points at the end of the year? The man who has finished every race since his return and is a prior WDC? Or a relative rookie?


good point, especially about the potential unknown of engine comparatives for next year.


good point in your 1st sentence


Daniel deserves the drive with RBR.

Why ? Because he is fast and i was like a lot of Aussies attracted to F1 because of an underdog having a go. Mark Webber has provided massive entertainment here over the last few years. Controversies and all. Now, we have a new chance with Dan.

Cmon RBR, give me a new reason to follow not you but a driver from Australia again !

If nothing else it will keep me visiting this great site JA on F1 every day.

(Clearly a shameless fan)


I agree It adds a another level of interest. Dan is a great replacement for Mark. mark has had a good job for RBR over the years as number 2 but started F1

late. But Dan is just as good if not better and more importantly much younger.Proud of both of them


Seriously? You wouldn’t watch Formula 1 if there were no Australians driving.


I do wonder though how many Brits would watch F1 if they had no drivers involved.


I wouldn’t. I’m not above admitting that I follow it for the British drivers.


Well i wouldnt sit up till midnight and make that effort.

Anyway, im still filthy about the way Webber has been treated. I see Dan as hopefully avenging that.

Just being honest.


Ricciardo is no Webber; not yet anyways.

Webber ‘did his time’ in F1, and showed consistent improvement; whether you agree or not, Webber was there for the rise of Red Bull from the failure of Ford/Jaguar; he’s earned a venerated place in the history of F1; too bad he never got the championship; but you never know…


If ricciardo wasn’t driving a car with red bull backing then this wasn’t even be discussed. Daniel is a very good driver but if anyone thinks he is better than kimi then they need to go to the doctors. Red bull always say they want the best 2 drivers for there car. They already have 1 of the best. Kimi is also 1 of the very best and if red bull don’t put him in the 2nd car they will be very stupid. However if kimi doesn’t want the red bull drive then Daniel will be in the red bull and felix da costa in the toro Rosso. What happens to JEV next year tho if kimi is in the red bull and felix da costa in the toro Rosso?


has any one actually noticed Vergne is higher in the points than Ricciardo, yet everyone is saying it’s between Kimi and Daniel, any way Kimi has the seat if he leaves Lotus.


You need to see the situation differently. Kimi will be asked for a lot of media time, multiple media events, promotions, etc, etc. i really do not think they will find a common ground. Kimi will not agree to this and Red Bull will not agree to allow Kimi to focus only on driving and ignore media. They are a marketing company afterall….I just do nit see this happening and it is not about who is faster.


I dont get the PR/media argument. Kimi already does a heap of advertising stuff with Lotus, he’s been done loads of Clear shampoo ads. Conversely I have never seen Vettel or Webber endorse anything.

Kimi has driven for a Red Bull backed team in the WRC – big differences I know but if he did go to Red Bull he wouldnt be doing it as blind as people make out.

The big issue for Red Bull and Horner is how to manage them. Kimi would demand an equall car and how Vettel would handle it. Recall the ‘not bad for a no. 2’ issue – what would Kimi do if Vettel was given a preference? Or visa versa.

Personally, I’d like to see Ricciardo go to Ferrari – a few years in a big team and then move back to Red Bull when Vettel goes presumable to Ferrari?


“Kimi would demand an equall car “

Kimi is used to having better than equal treatment. That’s what he has at Lotus and it’s what he has had for most of his career. Better car than his teammate, team orders on his side, etc. Being treated as Seb’s equal is going to be a big comedown for him.


Wow… that is a workload. Maybe Red Bull need to negotiate into the contract that Kimi get a day-to-a-page filofax so he can keep ALL these apointments.

So general concensus is that he’d forgo a chance to drive in a current multiple world championship winning car so he doesnt have to go to the Geneva motorshow and appear on Leno? And for all those that point to James Hunt hatred of corporate promotion which nearly killed his chance to drive with McLaren, dont forget, Kimi has already done promotional work in the past.


Vettel has a personal deal with Infiniti as their “Performance Director”, an endorsement deal by another name, and was at a couple of recent launches including the Q50 and has done some photo op track tests.


Seb has done a lot of Infiniti work as well as showing up at putative GP tracks like Sochi and new Jersey last year, where he appeared on David Letterman no less.


very succinct




I don’t think they need media time from Kimi – all he needs to do is show up, shut up and drive and this, along with the cool recklessness he oozes, is pure Red Bull. I would think RB with Kimi is a great PR combination. Sure beats Seb as a front man, Seb is not exactly mister personality, he is boring as heck.


And doesn’t Kimi already have Red Bull ties from his Rally days??




But then Mercedes are a marketing company promoting their brand in F1, but still Hamilton has agreed a less hectic media schedule with them, at the end of the day they’re paid to get results on the track and Kimi is the man to do that.


Lotus have made a great PR job out of Kimi’s attitude toward the media / marketing events. No doubt Red Bull have the nouce to do exactly the same.

It is arguable that Red Bull are not getting the exposure they are due as 3 time WDC and WCC’s. The kimi effect would be quite timely for the team.

I would guess Kimi will move on a 1 year rolling deal, similar to Mark’s. Daniel will stay on at STR alongside Felix for another year and Sainz will be signed as the reserve driver for both teams.

Beyond 2015, come the end of Seb’s contract I can see RBR selling up to Infinti, leaving the issue of the young driver programe and Kimi to someone else.


Actually, the Red Bull race drivers do less promotional events than, say, Mclaren. They use the promotional car with DC, Buemi or the junior drivers a lot, for example at Formula Renault events. I think DC was at the Top Gear festival in South Africa the last two years. Vettel as WDC is more visible than Webber (Seb was at the Sochi track earlier this year, plus he does the Infiniti stuff that Kimi presumably wouldn’t).


How do you know that?

It is quite likely that Kimi’s team will be negotiating a minimum of this, and they will have a higher priority for the top racer that Vettel will be willing to partner with.

On Kimi’s side, he’d likely prefer to stay with Lotus IF a. they can come up with reasonable pay, and b. can demonstrate a reasonable trajectory towards having a serious challenger, which I don’t think they have quite done, yet. Lotus will have to take that comparative step up, so that Kimi can compete in every race, starting with Hungary; if they don;t give Kimi a car capable of winning there, I say he’ll be gone. They are serious, and they still have a chance, but the Bull is so strong, yet again.


Vergne shouldn’t have opened his mouth last season claiming he’d do a better job than Webber if he was in that car, it seems he couldn’t even better Ricciardo, to be honest Ricciardo hasn’t impress and was pushing to the limit as it showed with his off the track mistake in the Redbull but it doesn’t matter they will hire Kimi as long as they can agree on wages, if its down to Kimi he would want the strongest team he could find and thats RBR, he was tauted to go to Williams before his return but he knew better when the Lotus offer came in.


I would be very surprised if Kimi goes to RBR.

Anyone who can think for himself could see what happened to MArk at RBR. Vettel clearly is #1 there, and Kimi is not the guy to tolerate that.

At the same time, RBR know that Seb will throw his toys out of the pram and move to Ferrari as soon as things don’t go his way.

RBR don’t need all this hassle. They have a quick driver in Seb, which does the job very well for now. As long as they can keep him happy, he will stay there. At this stage RBR don’t need to get another top driver which is capable of challenging Seb. They only need someone consistent enough to bring points home.

I see Kimi staying at Lotus and RBR getting Daniel.


Headline news! Brundle to RB and Damon to Lotus. Ha ha!

Seriously, if Massa was delivering anything close to Webber’s points collect, race after race, Ferrari would get more €€ at season’s end. In that sense, RB needs to make sure they get a frequent scorer. That’s Kimi. The money (for R&D) is in the points. I think the final choice will be related to what they sniff around the Ferrari camp. Without Felipe in the red one, any decent driver would be a frequuent scorer. That’s the point RB will have to factor in when making the choice.


I totally agree with [MISTER].


Most commenters are discounting the decision-making clout of Vettel, and I think he’s probably against Raikkonen being his team mate.


Optimaximal: for the most part, I agree with you, to the extent that, Horner will be making the initial decision, Vettel will definitely be at the (decision-making) table, if Horner were to go for the best choise (within a one year time horizon), I don’t think that there is any question who the best option is; I think Vettel would attempt to block it, then it would go to the DeitrHelmut, and it would be their final word.

Initially I thought they would never go against their star Munchkin, but now I think that they’ll go with Kimi, for a sizeable and overwhelming ratio of pros to cons, with the decisive factor being a curiosity to see if Vettel CAN be beaten.

If Kimi goes to RB, Vettel will be beaten (but who knows if he’ll win the championship since comparative engine performance will likely be the decisive factor).


You managed to be completely wrong on both counts. Vettel has no decision making clout, and the driver he wants is Kimi. He’s been talking him up for months.


Do you have any proof that Vettel has *any* sway in the machine.

Granted, they [Marko, Mateschitz] wouldn’t want to destabilise his mojo by throwing in another lion, but I don’t think he has any overriding influence on decisions.

After all, they know they (currently) have the best car and have a number of interested parties. Seb is talented, but without the car, he’s as useless as every other talented driver in rubbish machinery.


Red Bull need a back up plan for when Vettel inevitably leaves, I don’t think Kimi is it. No question he would be a good short term fix but Dan is a better long term option. The only question Red Bull has is whether he is ready now or needs another year in the junior team.


Everybody knows Kimi will bring more points to the the team than Ricciardo. But Red Bull need succession plan. Kimi won’t be around forever and nobody knows what Vettel will do after 2015.

Kimi is a great short term solution. Ricciardo might be one of the long term solutions.


If that were their goal why not skip both the Torro Rosso pair and get Bottas? My hunch is he’s a better long term bet than either and the way he handled himself in Montreal suggests he would turn in good points next season if you put him in a decent car.



Beating a faster Pastor – a f1 race winner and former gp2 champ- on a regular basis is enough to prove Bottas is consistently fast.


…and enough to make Pastor think of taking his cash elsewhere?


Why get Bottas? How can you tell he is better than Daniel? At least RBR get the data from Torro Rosso and can draw conclusions. They won’t be able to get the data from Williams to see that.

Just because you like Bottas more than Daniel, doesn’t mean he is better. I’m not really a fan of either, but with Daniel, RBR at least know what the car is capable of and can look at his performances.


Bottas: potential but no verification of his potential; not even close to being as certain as Ricciardo.

As a recognized top team (who knows for next year), they have the luxury to take almost anything they want, when they want it; they’d be able to get Bottas any time they want, i.e. when he has delivered, if ever.


It’s probably more to do with Kimi likely to leave F1 in 2-3 years though as he’ll be the oldest driver when mark leaves (I think?). The gamble is clearly give Kimi 2 years in a red bull or start ricciardon now.


Next year will be tough for Redbull and they need every point they can find, Raikkonen is the man for the job, Ricciardo didn’t stand out in this test anyway, barely faster than Sainz and was slower than Seb who was doing consistency runs on the tyres, with these new regulations and Mercedes throwing everything at it its clear to see its almost a case of now or never for Hamilton, could well be his year next year unless Ferrari and Mclaren put off a surprise, as I see it Redbull won’t be as strong as they have been in the last couple of years.


You can’t compare the times between Sainz & Ricciardo as the team could run Sainz with any fuel load, set-up and development parts but Ricciardo was limited to the Pirelli program of tyre tests. We also can’t compare Ricciardo and Vettel as even though they were running the same set-up, we don’t know the fuel loads. Did you even read the article?


For once, I agree with you.

To say that the expectation on Mercedes for 2014 is huge is an understatement. I am waiting for an anti-climax.


Agree. I can’t really see the case for Ricciardo.


What an awful argument that is. Firstly, it’s already produced Vettel; who hasp to ably vindicated the programme for the next 10 years, alone. Secondly, you always take the best man for the job. If you ran a company and had someone good able to come through or an outsider who happened to be one of the best in the world, who would you go for? Exactly.

With Vettel, Kimi and a reliable car Red Bull will clean up next year. Ricciardo is young and could be brought in when Kimi retires or Vettel leaves. There’s other young talent out there probably better than Ricciardo (eg Bottas and Bianchi) anyway.

Regardless, I still think Ricciardo will only be bright in if Kimi turns down the drive.


Kimi would not listen to Red Bull management and he would be much more of a sh!t stirrer than Webber. Ricciardo will toe the line as well as commit to Red Bull for a longer period of time for far less money.

Bianchi is tremendous but Bottas is nothing special.


Kimi supported Massa in 2008 when he was realistically out of title contention, more than can be said for Webber last year.


It is not an awful argument at all. I cant see Raikonnen going to Red Bull next year for a number of reasons.

1) Kimi wouldnt want to take on all the PR work that would be required of him working at the PR machine which is Red Bull

2) Kimi wont be in F1 very long after this season, he is already one of the oldest drivers on the grid. I dont expect to see Kimi on the grid much past 2015.

3) Like it or not Red Bull DO have to validate their young driver program. Not just to the head honchos of Marko and Mateschitz, but to all the other young drivers out there eyeing a route to F1. If I was in that position I would be very careful about putting all my cards in Red Bull deck. Of all the drivers who Toro Rosso have taken only one has progressed to the senior team, all the others were shown the door. If Ricciardo doesnt get this seat, then it sends a pretty clear message to young drivers that if you want to make it (big) in Formula One, then dont join the Red Bull Junior Team.


Your third point is a very valid one, I hadn’t considered it from the other viewpoint before.

Adrian Newey Jnr

I’ve come to realise that Rb’s young driver program is as much about taking good talent off the table as it is trying to find the next Vettel. By monopolising upcoming good driver talent they are also reducing the potential for their opposition to get a great driver on tyhe up. The fact that drivers like Jamie and Buemi are basically ignored (ie why didn’t Buemi get a drive at this test, after all, he’s their test driver!!!) shows that RB don’t really care about their discarded young drivers.


Buemi has driven more than 2 full GPs, so is ineligible for the YDT. What point would there be making him test the Pirelli’s when VET and RIC would be more relevant?

Top Tags
SEARCH Innovation
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!