Nico Rosberg
2016 Formula 1 World Champion
Red Bull’s dilemma over team mate for Sebastian Vettel
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Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Aug 2013   |  5:13 pm GMT  |  376 comments

Daniel Ricciardo or Kimi Raikkonen? This is the choice the Red Bull management team is mulling over this Summer Break, when looking at who should partners Sebastian Vettel next season.

On the face of it, filling a seat in the most consistently competitive car of the last three years is a nice problem to have.

And while both candidates have much to recommend them, both carry a risk, albeit in different ways.

With Ricciardo the risk is obvious – he’s less experienced and although clearly quick, his consistency at a high level has yet to be proven. According to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, “Daniel is at the beginning of his career, but he has the speed, and the rest you won’t know until you put him in that situation,
but we’ve a reasonable amount of information to make a decision.”

With Raikkonen the risk is more subtle and it’s one which will be playing on the mind of Raikkonen himself. What happens if and when he gets too close to Vettel?

Red Bull has been a well oiled winning machine since 2009; the only time things have got difficult was when Mark Webber got too close to Vettel, as in the incidents of 2010 in Turkey and then at Silverstone with the front wing swap, then more recently in Malaysia.

Raikkonen will want assurances that he would be given an equal opportunity to win before he would commit to any deal.

“Both drivers get the same opportunity,” said Horner.

“It’s down to what they do on the track that determines who is the lead driver or not, and the lead driver at any given time is the one who has the most points.”

This has indeed been the modus operandi of the team during the Webber/Vettel years, but it’s not been without it’s rough spots. When things got tight in 2010 Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz said that he would rather lose the championship than impose team orders.

But fans have developed the impression from some of the things that have happened that there is a conspiracy against, Webber. Some of Helmut Marko’s utterances have not eased this concern.

Raikkonen would present a bigger challenge from the outset and his enormous popularity with fans would increase the risk.

Even if he is possibly a shade slower in qualifying pace, he would be right there on a consistent basis in races, creating the need to make strategy preference calls and many internal headaches.

His challenge would give Vettel a fresh motivation, especially if he wins a fourth title this year. But he would present a greater management challenge too.

Either way, Horner has said that Vettel – who has already said publicly after the Hungarian GP that he would prefer Raikkonen as his team mate next year – will not have a say in the choice of his team mate for next season.

“He hasn’t voiced a preference (internally) either way. He knows Kimi, he knows Daniel,” said Horner

“Both are very quick drivers and would represent a challenge for him, but he has not looked to influence the team in any way as to which way we should be looking.

“We obviously want the two fastest and strongest drivers we can put in the car for next year, and both Daniel and Kimi would represent extremely good options.”

Mercedes looks very strong for the next few years and its well matched and potent driver pairing will give Red Bull food for thought. It is an intriguing dilemma and it will be fascinating to see which way they go.

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376 comments

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1

It says it all in your title James. 'Team Mate' for Vettel. DR it will be............

2
Tornillo Amarillo

For me it looks like Kimi puts the condition to Red Bull and not the other way around. Kimi is who decide.

If it fails, Red Bull will put the conditions to Ricciardo concerning Vettel.

3

+1

I can't see it being Kimi. He would bring the challenge to Vettel, and would refuse to be a number 2 driver. If he was treated like one then the fans would be unhappy (as was said in the article).

4

horner is doing the rounds now. he told the sky team that that vettel doesn't mind who his teammate. why did they not sign hamilton last year then?

i would love to see cut it against a top level driver just to firmly put his name up there as not many are convinced he's a real champion. they think newey won all his championships for him.

5

I think your comment that the Red Bull is a good car is right, and that Vettel is consistently fast, however to put it all down to the car is at best misleading, you only have to look at what Vettel did before joining Red Bull, I don`t just mean his win at Monza. Also Hamilton and Alonso have never won an F1 championship in other than the best car at the time.

6

I like how people say that Vettel isn't a real champion as he has had the best car and has only one the championship with RBR and that means the likes of Hamilton and Alonso are much better. Hasn't Alonso been to 3 teams winning the championship twice with the same team dose that not make him a real champion hasn't Hamilton won his only championship with Mclaren. If the supposed Mark of a true champion is how any teams he has won it with then doesn't it mean the only true champion in recent history Is a MR S Schumacher. At the end of the Day yes Newey design the cars but u have to be able to drive it to win. Vettel is winning because put of all the big teams its the only one that has stayed stable with its design department and drivers all the rest merc, Mclaren, Ferarri and now Lotus have all had massive shake up in departments through out the hole team oh and the apparent really bad wind tunnels that these teams seem to have with the amount of times Ferrari use that as an excuse 😀

7

It's all rubbish really. The plain fact is in these tyre/aerodynamically lead times any top driver needs a good car to win races. Red Bull have provided Vettel often with a very good car most of the time, and he is consistently fast in it. All the top drivers are extremely talented, however I think it is 80% car 20% driver as without the car they are lost. One thing I am quite pleased about now is that teams tend to go for an extra stop and push the car more given the extra tyre life. The races are so much more exciting as a direct result of that, however they do have to be careful they are not caught out by any wily one stoppers such as we may see this weekend.

8

Lewis salary demands me thinks

9

Actually Lewis's salary was a consequence of competition between Mercedes and McLaren and could have gone higher had McLaren fought harder, but in the event Dennis decided there was a limit to how far they were willing to go. One thing's for sure they can no longer rely on Lewis's speed to make them look good. The Mercedes car is not perfect for Lewis as it lacks feel in the brakes, but he has acclimatised to that to some extant. Mercedes need to get the brake feel right to fully extract Lewis's frightening speed.

10

Didn't I read somewhere that the RBR drivers arnt as well paid co pared to Hamilton or Alonso. With RBR preferring to reward drivers more for championships and wins? Which is how the difference is made up in there salaries.

11

That is how it has been - lower retainer with points bonus

12

David actually I don't think so because they have big budget. It was more to do with team harmony as they know given the car Lewis is fast

13

Ok well all I was saying was that MW is a lot cheaper than LH and that's a huge part of why RBR didn't wa t him

14

Had Hamilton gone to Red Bull he would have had a period of acclimatisation just like he has at Mercedes, but once there I think he would have given Vettel a considerable problem, and sparks potentially would have flown so that's why they avoided it. Hamilton with the right car and set up is lethal.

15

Dietrich Mateschitz said that Webber had the drive for this year if he wanted it (they are good friends). He did, so they passed on Hamilton. Neither Horner nor Vettel made that decision, it was between Webber and the owner.

16

Because, Vettel doesn't mind if its Ricciardo or Raikkonen because he feels he can beat them both. Hamilton or Alonso would be another story. There is no way he would want to go up against Hamilton.

17

how does vettel know he could or couldn't beat alonso, hamilton, raikkonen or richiardo? i thought the only way to find out is for them to race against each other. like hamilton knows he can beat alonso because he has and rosberg knows he can beat schumacher with his 7 championships in tow because he has.

18

So you're saying Lewis is better than Kimi?

19

No, certainly not clear. I think Kimi's proved that a number of times both this and last year

20

isn't it obvious?

21

Who exactly is this "many" you speak of? I only know of three people and their forty-odd internet sock puppets.

22

am not sure what you'd do to them if i unvail their identity to you. they probably hide in the puppets because of the fear of the unknown, not knowing what you'd do to them.:-)

23
Rubinho's Keyfob

"Vettel – who has already said publicly after the Hungarian GP that he would prefer Raikkonen as his team mate next year"

To be fair, I believe this preference was in answer to the question "Raikkonen or Alonso?". Has he publically expressed a preference to the question "Raikkonon or Ricciardo?" ?

24

Your right it was in ref to Alonso. With Kimi or Dan he was not fussed personally.

25

Correct, VET said RAI over ALO.

From a purely fan point of view, I'd like to see DR in RBR - let Kimi stay at Lotus - this will make the balance of the forces very spread and almost equal.

26

I thought Vettel said he preferred Kimi over Alonso. I didn't know he was referring to Daniel as well?

27

He was referring to Alonso

28

If they want to challenge for the WCC they need consistent points so for me it has to be Kimi.

I'm surprised no one has publicly asked Newey who he'd prefer. He has worked with Kimi before and getting accurate feedback back from the drivers is so important.

29

Yes. Adrian Newey has in fact created a quick car around Kimi in 2005. That is surely a factor and no-body seems to consider it just because people kinda think now, Kimi is less of a Qualifier. The Lotus was never quick in Quali, if it was and Kimi was the problem then why we are not seeing Grosjean grabbing any poles?

30

I think you are right about Newey. There is more than one driver capable of winning, there is only one Adrian Newey.

Red Bull know he is their biggest and most valuable asset. If it comes to it, that gives him the casting vote.

31

No. First problem is they need to finish both cars. Too many points dropped by both #2 car DNFs and #1 car DNFs. If they get more reliable, huge improvement. No Kimi needed. And in 2014 reliability may be a challenge so why pay 15m for Kimi when Daniel will do for 1 or 2m.

Also, very interesting point by James about popularity of Kimi vs. Seb. It's a whole other level of popularity in English media even compared to Webber. Which could in deed play a role - if Seb is really impacted and cares about that. I have a feeling he doesn't mind being "hated" and finds motivation in it. He knows that like Schumi, once he has 7 stars on his helmet, the "love of fans" will flow. 🙂

32

True. Reb Bull can only compete with 1 car.

The other car either has a bad start, a bad kers - and even more so next year -, a 3 tyres pit stop, team orders or what have you.

You would have to be highly optimistic to think even Kimi could race past all those grimlins and fight Vettel.

33

Has to be Kimi for me. He would keep Vettel on his toes and reduce some of his internal power which has got a tad to big this season. Plus you have to figure Vettel is unlikely to re-sign once he has four world titles and Kimi would be a good replacement and will tidy Red Bull over until their young drivers come of age.

34
Alexander Supertramp

Horner says it all: Ricciardo has the profile, but there is one question remaining, a question that can only be answered by giving him a chance to compete in the RB. The Toro Rosso program loses credibility if you never promote a driver, bar the exception of Vettel. RB can't use Vettel as the performance indicator for TR drivers, the guy went on to become the youngest triple world champion, so that can't be the kind of standard you impose on the likes of Ricciardo, Vergne, Da Costa,.. Right now there is no reason to assume that Ricciardo would perform badly if he was given a good car. Look at Perez at Mclaren, he's not far behind Button. He would be just as close if the car was better, the performance gap is not big.

The only problem for Ricciardo imo is the unknown quantity of 2014. A new era coming up, with teams ready to pick up the guns to fight the (hopefully soon to be ex-) world champions. What if -and this is highly probable- next year isn't quite the cakewalk for RB? Can you rely on young drivers to push the team forward in difficult times? I believe that's the main question regarding Daniel.

On the other hand, Kimi's Rb profile shows one big ressemblance to Webber's: He's quick-especially on Sunday- but probably not as quick as Vettel on Saturday- at least not on a regular basis. My guess is that RB believes that Vettel would have the upper hand. Plus, taking Kimi's transition period into account, there is reason to assume Vettel would lead the way at the halfway mark next year, which would grant him No. 1 status for the remaining of the season.

All speculations aside, I believe Daniel will get the seat even though I really hope I'm wrong.

35

Red bull will go well next year because the rule changes feature a large aerodynamics change an Newey is the best in F1 when it comes to new aerodynamics rules

36

2014 is all about the engine, not aerodynamics.

I'm sure the FIA scrapped aero changes next year because of the fear that the cars would become too slow. Correct me if i'm wrong.

37

So far the drivers have implied SV has been flattered ny a very fast car and has had easy championship wins. It will ne interesting to see if Kimi goes for the deal and what would happen if SV trounced him.

38

But every now and again Kimi gets soundly beaten by Grosjean, I don't think Kimi is what he was in 2007. For me he would have to beat Lewis or Fernando.

39

I don't know but, in qualifying results are 8-2 and in races it is 9-1 in favor of Kimi. This does not sound me as if Gro is beating Kimi 😉

40

Ha - exactly right. I don't where these jokers come up with these dreams!

41

Grosjean is quick though. Even as a rookie against Alonso he was usually within a couple of tenths. And Webber has gone through periods having the upper hand over SV.

They all carry a risk - Ricciardo's ultimate potential unknown - especially race pace. Kimi seemed to lose motivation during his last seasons with Ferrari. Who's to say it couldn't happen again? Alonso I don't see happening - there would be blood on the walls.

42

Alonso absolutely destroyed Grosjean, so I do not think that says anything good about his speed. Actually, the Grosjean-Alonso vs Grosjean-Kimi comparison does not favour Kimi very much... although Grosjean is now more experienced, but still...

43

In quali maybe,but rarely in the race...

44

Even then James 8/2 to Kimi this year and 10 each last year is hardly in Grosjeans favour is it ?

I don't get it James is it because people just want to see a happy guy win for a change.we know he's had moments of brilliance- but that's all it's been.

45

Your query appears to have been addressed by the following:

39. Posted By: SteveS

46

How hard is it to find excuses? Not very hard. I am sure it will be preferential treatment, rustiness of the new driver, favoritism and even sabotage. and this is not just for Kimi. Even if Vettel beats Hamilton and Alonso, some will never be able to accept it. Shameful that some drivers are also part of this hokum.

47

If he beat one of those two in the same car, he would be a legend!

I think that pairing will certainly happen before he retires though.

48

@James

Do not worry vettel will never beat Alonso or lewis.

Vettel himself stated few days ago he does not prefer or wish to have Alonso as a team mate. Which says it all

Vettel clearly know which side of the bread is buttered and which side his not

As far as lewis, well lewis easily demolished vettel in Hungary with Mercedes over the beast RB9

If anything Hungarian GP showed the gulf in class between lewis and vettel

49

Maybe he doesn't want to be in the same team with Alonso after having seen how much of a child he is when his team mates get close or beat him like he did at Mclaren.

Perhaps he prefers Kimi because KImi doesn't take an crap and tells it how it is and they get on.

Lewis is a great driver on his day just the same way that Vettel, Alonso and Kimi are. Until u can stick all 4 drivers in the same car at the same time for 2years u can never say who is better as some one will always find and excuse.

50

hahaha...I never saw this coming from you Krischar..what else is new?

51

He said he prefers Kimi over Alonso because Kimi has always been straight with him, suggesting that he doesn't trust Alonso, or takes him at his word.

Yes, Vettel didn't have a good race in Hungary, but neither did Hamilton in Spain. Alonso and Kimi struggled at Monaco. None of them has been perfect.

52

if vettel beats alonso or hamilton as teammates , no excuse could be accepted. vettel will be confirmed as the best driver of all time. nor matter how many championships he wins.

53

did vettel say he was scared?

54

@Grant, only earlier this year there was a report that Alonso's contract had been extended, with the clause that would release him of his contract, if Ferrari gave the other seat to Vettel. Apparently not so keen on a team up with Vettel, then.

55

It's interesting that Vettel is scared to partner these two, and they are willing to partner him on any day....

56
Valentino from montreal

Michael Schumacher

57

Based on their performances vs Rosberg, Alex Wurz is higher up the pecking order than Schumacher. He's younger too...

58

After what Nico did to him...

59

Bwa..HAHAHA !!!..give it up sunshine !

60

I doubt Red Bull would want Mercedes castoff's. But you never know 🙂

61

...'s brother.

62

Insightful article as always, James. Despite Boullier's 'optimism' at keeping Kimi, one stark figure stands out: at least according to Business Book GP, Kimi's retainer this year is at 3m euro, while Webber is on 10m euro. Steve Robertson is an extremely savvy operator, and I am sure he is arguing that Kimi is worth at least as much as Webber. I doubt RBR could very strongly argue otherwise. So if RBR decides to emulate Mercedes and field two top-six drivers, I can't imagine Kimi would stay at Lotus, no matter how comfortable he feels there, given the chance to at least triple his salary and drive a Newey-designed car.

63

Kimi is more like 18 million

64

Any idea re salary of Lewis?

65

Kimi is on a hell of a lot more than that!!

66

Kimi and Vettel at Redbull- The next super team? i.e. Senna and Prost at McLaren...

67

McLaren was/is the sort of team that lets its drivers race each other, not being focused on one driver at all.

68

Sure. Perhaps DC (David Coulthard) might even agree with you.

70

of course not. i suppose you're right. so Jerez 1997 was just a one time thing and Melborne 1998 was . . . just an agreement between drivers. sure.

71

I've never heard him say otherwise.

72

Senna & Prost were the top drivers at the time. But if you go by the postings in this blog (and elsewhere), Hamilton & Alonso are the top drivers.

Not for nothing, Hamilton & Alonso won 3 championships between them! Compare that to any other driver racing today!

Kimi & Vettel, per popular beliefs, are poor 3rd & 4th, respectively. So their pairing won't be viewed by many as the next super team. And Aveli will back me up on this.

73

i sure do simon!

74

you read it and responded didn't you?

75

As if your backing up has any relevance to anybody...

76
Harrison Vrbanjac

"Not for nothing, Hamilton & Alonso won 3 championships between them! Compare that to any other driver racing today!"

Kimi & Vettel has won 4 championships (and most likely 5 after this season)?

77

Between them, Kimi and Vettel have won 4 world championships; how could you overlook that in your logic.

And by the end of the year, it will likely be 5 world championships.

78

Important part is 'per popular beliefs'. The vast majority of experts talk about the big four, not the big two and small two.

79

I don't understand your logic at all. Especially when Seb and Kimi have 4 WDC's between them. Add to that Sebs current form and Kimi's bulletproof and record making consistency. Besides, you really think Lewis and Alonso is a great combo??? You need a season report from 2007 rather that a crystal ball for that one.

80

A hundred million girls think Justin Bieber is the best singer ever. This must mean, using your logic of amount of supporters determining who is the best, that Justin Bieber is a better singer than Freddie Mercury (Queen) and Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin.

This is not a popularity contest. Vettel and Kimi are 2 of the best of all time. No matter how many fans of other drivers try to diminish their abilities.

81

This is 'no brainer' really, those two can't really genuinely be Senna & Prost when there's Lewis and Alonso out there.

I mean who are you kidding?

82

Nice piece and good to see Horner speak openly about it.

Tough choice really. Raikkonen is the better driver today unquestionably but is equally the more expensive and potentially more disruptive to Vettel-Red Bull combo. Unlikely to do all the PR the team's hierarchy would like to see but I guess that is low on Horner's priorities.

If Red Bull don't go with Riccardo (Vergne seems out of running despite scoring more points) then where does that leave Toro Rosso and Red Bull young drivers' programme? Speed, Buemi, Alguersuari and Vergne have all failed to make the grade.

83

But is there actually any dilemma? I thought the ball is in Kimi's court with Red Bull having publicly stated that they are waiting for his decision.

Seems to me the dilemma is Kimi's: Red Bull, Ferrari, or Lotus?

84

Kimi would rather stab his eyes out than work for Ferrari again.

85

+1, though I don't Ferrari's of offer is true. If Kimi wants to stay at Lotus, RB will give the seat to DR.

86

Yeah, I think both Red Bull and Kimi are using Alonso and Ferrari, respectively, as bargaining chips.

87

Not because I'm an Aussie but I reckon they should go with Dan over Kimi. They dont need 2 great drivers, just 1 great and 1 good driver. This has worked well for them for years. The last thing they need is a Senna / Prost showdown. I dont care how close the 2 guys are off track, on track is another thing entirely. Dan will go into it knowing his role where I couldnt say the same thing for Kimi or any other great driver. Never mind what CH says, Seb is clearly the #1 driver in the team. Its not the driver with the most points, its the driver who gets the most cuddles.

88

"..fans have developed the impression from some of the things that have happened that there is a conspiracy against, Webber."

Fans get this "impression" from the hopelessly biased British F1 press, which has been trashing Vettel ever since he appeared on the scene. A notable example of this bias is the way that same British F1 press suddenly developed total amnesia with respect to Webber's long history of flouting team orders right after Malaysia. Never mind that Webber has written columns for the BBC defending his ignoring team orders, suddenly he was depicted as a loyal and selfless team player, betrayed by that bloody German!

To this day I've never seen a member of the press question Webber about his actions in Brazil, actions unprecedented in the whole history of F1.

89

Funny that Webber also ignored team orders and tried to pass Vettel at Silverstone 2011, then he said that he was racing to the finish, the only difference between then and this year, Webber failed, Vettel got past despite Webber trying very hard to stay in front.

90

Yeah, the British press completely fabricated the team taking the faster front wing off Webber's car and putting it on Vettel's at Silverstone 2010. I certainly don't remember it happening, because it didn't.

91

The British press made a very big deal out of absolutely nothing, which is precisely the point. Teams do this sort of thing with parts routinely, and nothing is ever made of it. Lotus or Ferrari giving the best arts to Kimi or Alonso is so routine that nobody even bothers to mention it, let alone try to gin up a "scandal" about it.

And Webber did not feel the wing in question WAS any faster. As the race proved, he was right in that assessment. So the story is doubly nonsensical.

92

Come on, Andrew, all teams routinely favor whichever driver is leading. At Silverstone in 2010, that was Vettel over Webber.

Mercedes claim that they don't favor one driver over another. That is far more self-evidently untrue than when RB say it, yet I don't see anyone hating on Hamilton on that account. Why the difference?

93

Yes, teams do this kind of thing all the time, when they have a No. 1 and No. 2 driver, a la Alonso and Raikkonen. Red Bull were claiming (and still claim) that there was no such arrangement at Red Bull, and this proved otherwise.

To suggest Webber wasn't bothered about the front wing switch is pretty laughable; direct quotes from him say he was disappointed with the team and that he would never have signed for them if he knew it would be like that.

And using the race result as proof that the wing wasn't any faster is just as flawed; Webber jumped Vettel at the start who then subsequently got a puncture and dropped back into traffic. He was in traffic the whole race.

94

It did, I was there and quizzed Horner about it!!

95

Sarcasm detector broken, James?

96

I live in Spain and was born in South-America and in both places the F1 fans feel the same about Vettel-Webber, so if you are not going to imply now that it is a worldwide plot against Vettel, i would say this feelings have a real reason to be there.

I would love to see RK drive under the same circumstances against Vettel, that would end a lot of questions.

97

I've Rewatching the opening laps of brazil many times and I still have no idea what Vettel fans are complaining about. Clutching at straws.

98

The june 6th addition of Autosport, on page 19 "... the team was furious with Webber for chopping his team-mate at the start...", they certainly believe he did something wrong.

Btw, I agree Vettel is treated as nr.1 in the team, that is how the vast majority of championship winning teams operate, by picking the driver they think has the best chance to win and backing him.

99

Webber himself admitted it to Andrew Benson on the race day. Do we need more evidence?

100

I still don't get what he did though. He told Benson he was racing Seb, yet people seem to think he tried to drive into him.

101

Brazil? Do you mean when he moved over for Seb and was thanked by the team over the radio? He was asked to move over for Seb and he did.... once. After that, all bets were off, all debts paid. How many times did you expect Mark to move over in one race? How many times has Seb moved over for Mark?

"Unprecedented in the whole history of F1"??? Give me a break. Maybe in your 1 or 2 years of F1 fan experience but not in mine. Did you ever hear of a guy named Ayrton Senna? Just wondering is all....

102

Based on your extensive history of watching F1, perhaps you can tell me when you last saw a driver, himself out of contention for the title, try to prevent his teammate from winning the WDC? I'm pretty sure that has never happened in F1, ever.

Senna was fighting his teammate for the title, so he's entitled to some slack. Though he clearly went too far. But that's a completely different situation to what happened with Webber in 2012.

103

Your original comment did not have stringent conditions attached. You were speaking about the "whole history of F1", now you refine it to a driver not in contention for the title in the 2012 season. We may as well go further and say driving a red bull with #2 on the side pods and sporting a 3 day growth. Senna was way way nastier to his team mate than Webber ever was, regardless what was at stake. Awesome driver but a nut case.

Mark gave Seb a hard time for sure that day but punters can never say that Seb had the title handed to him by his team mate. They both raced hard and Seb won the chockies. A little help from Schumi but hey...

104

The vast majority of people that look objectively at the Bulls come up with opinion that VET is heavily favoured.

The aftermath of the Turkey incident left absolutely no doubt.

105

Have you ever seen the crying 'leave Britney alone' fan on youtube?

106

I think you should watch the Brazilian gp again. How are you meant to give a position at a start of race going into first corner, webber had no room to his right and if he had cut of seb he would caused accident anyways. Also during the race ( can't remember which lap) mark moves out of the way for seb and gets a thank you from rocky.

107

It seems the tabloids arent the only ones with short memories.

108

You think the Vettel as #1 line is solely a creation of the British press?!?! You don't think that they (and others) just reflected public opinion that was already there?

109

Yes, and no.

111

Kimi will be a perfect brand ambassador for RedBull.

112

Really? So far he's been pegged as the sort of driver that hates doing PR work (silly hair adverts non-withstanding). If I recall correctly, this was once touted as the primary reason for his move from McLaren to Ferrari...

113

But he's one of the most popular sports stars in the world and undoubtedly bigger than anyone else is one the grid. His support at the Chinese Grand Prix was absolutely incredible!

Having Kimi at RB would definitely sell some cans 😉

114

All Red Bull would need to do to make Kimi happy doing PR is if they were while doing extreme sports like snowboarding, boat racing, snowmobiling, rally racing etc. You know, stuff Red Bull already promotes and stuff Kimi already does in his spare time! It's a perfect fit.

116

Things got a tad difficult in 2009 as well, also in Turkey, when Vettel was told "Mark is faster, mark is faster. Sebastian: save your car, save your car. Mark is faster."

Strange how many people forget that one isn't it, but anyway, considering Mercedes look to have a strong pairing it makes perfect sense for Red Bull to choose Raikkonen, they'll need 2 strong and proven drivers.

117

Strange how people forget that Sebastian won 4 races and came 2nd to Button in 2009, Webber won 1 race

118

Are you saying that Seb sorta defied the orders, by driving right up behind Webber at the end of the race, when they were both told to turn their engines down and bring the cars home? Maybe that was the first Multi 21, or I guess it would've been Multi 1415 that year?

119

I could be wrong but I seem to recall Vettel trying to overtake Webber and Webber being told Vettel is faster before the infamous crash. But then again I could be wrong since these events happen at 6:00am my time for the European races.

120

Paul Leeson is referring to '09 Turkish grand prix. The two were on different strategy and Vettel was clearly the faster one at that stage. So the message was false. Vettel surely didn't like it but followed it anyway. Sorta like '11 Silverstone bar the disobeying part.

121

James,

your last paragraph says it all. Mercedes are on the up. They are like Red Bull in 2009. Their driver pairing is currently the best.

If I was manager of Red Bull, I would probably go with Kimi.

Motivating Seb is a good reason too...

122

Ah, but nobody knows how it'll change next season. Mercedes in on the up with current regulations. It might be totally different next season.

123

“It’s down to what they do on the track that determines who is the lead driver or not, and the lead driver at any given time is the one who has the most points.”

Well, they can't both pick up 25 points in the first race...

124

Yes. Exactly. It is a ridiculous claim from Horner. Webber led the 2010 championship for the most part by quite a margin over Vettel (clearly making him the 'lead' driver) and yet he was not given the wins in Japan and Brazil which would have guaranteed him the championship. Since then, Webber has been expected to play a supporting role to Vettel.

I seem to recall about 10 or so years ago Raikinnen saying he would not want to be Schumacher's team mate at Ferrari, as he never wants to play a number 2 role. If KR still has this attitude and Red Bull operate with Vettel as they do, it would seem that KR will absolutely not be going there.

125

"not given the wins in Japan and Brazil which would have guaranteed him the championship."

"Given" the wins? Really? THIS the evidence that Vettel is "favored ... that he did not "give" wins to Webber which Webbers own driving could not get him?

And when, precisely, has Webber ever played a supporting role to Vettel?

126

Team orders were illegal in 2010, so a straight swap would have incurred a penalty. Japan was before Korea, so they were both comfortably in contention for the championship, Vettel had just as much of a chance to win at that time as Alonso and Hamilton, and was performing better of the two at that time. Webber made a much worse start to 2011, naturally they favoured the driver in form. Last year, they were allowed to race, or they would have been told to hold station in China with Vettel leading on the last lap.

127

but wasn't it schumacher who gave up his seat to massa aster ferrari signed raikkonen.

128

Andrew M, Kimi had Newey designed cars and was 10 yrs younger than Schumacher, but yet couldn't beat Michael during his first stint. Michael's pass on Kimi in Brazil 2006 in a damaged car goes to prove he still had it in him until the day he retired. Luca di Montezemolo could see Schumacher retiring in 2006/07, and wanted to usher in a new generation, especially since the "horse-men" were all either being re-assigned / seeking a sabbatical.

When Massa had the measure of Kimi in 2007,08 and 09, Kimi fans said Ferrari were designing the car around Massa. Sure ! Ferrari would be $25 million/year to Kimi, and design their cars around their no.2 driver.Truth is, Kimi was/is an enigma. Kimi had too many ups and downs in his first stint to correctly predict how he would perform on any given day..

129

schumacher said so himself. he said he gave up his seat to massa because he had worked so well to bring massa up to such a level he'd want to see massa enjoy a successful career so he gave his seat up for him.

130

That's a very generous way of looking at it. Ferrari were starting to cut Michael loose after the Monaco parking incident, and he clearly didn't want to fight Kimi in equal cars.

131

And don't worry, Kimi's RB will be the one that breaks down or have bad starts or pit stops ensuring Vettal will always get more points and therefor be No.One!

PK

132

You really think Red Bull would pay Kimi a huge amount then sabotage him, they have never needed to sabotage Webber, he does it himself.

133

since when did raikkonen suffer a breakdown? driving style contributes to dreakdowns. that's why you tend to see one with regular breakdowns.

134

paul kirk, i didn't miss the point. i just don't think red bull would compromise raikkonen unless it's worth a lot more to them.

135

half way through the race in budapest, rosberg changed his diff settings and get faster laptimes and hamilton's engineer informed hamilton that he could do the same and hamilton said he was happy with the settings he was using and refused to change his settings. a few laps later rosberg's engine blew. with all the information you refer to, it happened in the last race.

as you may know, i am not very good at ifs and maybes. what i do know is raikkonen hasn't blown a single engine since his return.

136

You missed the point! RBR will ensure Kimi doesn't bother Vettal as they did/do with Mark! And incidently, re your second point, a driver can't abuse a car these days as we could in days gone by, seemless shift, fly by wire, rev limiters, engine management etc., in any case they don't race at full speed nowdays, they're too busy saving TYRES!!! and FUEL!!!

PK

137

Of course Vettel says he would prefer Kimi as his team-mate next year.. If he said 'he didn't want him' it would look like he was scared of Kimi.

138

So what you are basically saying is that, no matter WHAT Vettel says, you are going to construe it to mean he is a lying coward? You're telling me absolutely nothing about Vettel (or any other driver) but a lot about yourself.

139

Of course Hendo. Since Vettel has preferred Kimi over Alonso, both of us now know who Vettel is really scared of---Right?

140

Is Alonso out of the running?

141

Alonso is still in running for RBR seat. That's why Ferrari has already signed Kimi for 2014.

142

Never was in the running. That was just journalist BS over the break. Aimed at stirring up things at Ferrari. I loved it 🙂

143

I don't think he was ever in the running. Not for next year anyway

144

Of Course!!! He was probably not even in the running!!

Alonso got the Ferrari seat because of Santander-Ferrari Partnership. As long as that partnership continues Alonso; will stay at Ferrari, Unless of course something similar like 2007 happens again.

145

I hope Red Bull get Kimi, but to be honest, Kimi will be too much of a headache probably. Not because he will outperform Vettel(as much as I like Kimi, I doubt it would happen on a regular basis), but because if Kimi underperforms compared to Vettel, Red Bull will be accused of favoring Vettel. Because of Kimi's immense popularity, Red Bull would inevitably receive a lot of negative media attention even if there is a completely equal treatment. So the question is, is it worth it? I have no doubt that Kimi and Vettel can have an amicable relationship, unlike Vettel and Webber, but we all know that the media and fans would blow it out of proportion, seeing conspiracy even where there is none.

That said, I still would like for that lineup to happen. Kimi and Sebastian are the drivers I like the most.

146

Thoughtful perspective.

Good comment.

But I think you will be surprised at how their scores compare by half way.

147

Question is - is Red Bull a one trick pony or will they allow the second driver to really compete? What the article didn't say is that Vettel does not react well when his team-mate is too quick.....

148

"Vettel does not react well when his team mate is too quick". That is a strange thing to say, It has not happened yet.

149

If Red Bull don't go with Kimi I think they are running scared of upsetting Vettel. A Kimi / Vettel partnership is what everyone would want to see - It would answer all the questions about how good Vettel is - Does Vettel want that question answered????.....

150

No Mark, it won't answer all the questions--Kimi is not the best driver in the world; he was dumped by Ferrari for a reason.

What about more important questions relating to Lewis or/and Alonso in the same car as Vettel's?

For that matter, we won't even know if Vettel is any better than Karthikeyen, unless they are in the same equipment---would we?

Mark, don't you think Vettel should address all those questions as well????.....

151

" he was dumped by Ferrari for a reason."- the reason for that was mostly Santanders millions and a Latin American fan base in Alonso. Also the politics that Ferrari live by- take Alonso position right now-he was forced to bite his lip by Monte- 1. Kimi wouldn't say what Fernando Says & But He would tell Monte to f/off if he had too- that's why they let him go. Besides how many drivers have finished 27 GP's in the points. About a dozen on the podium no less- in a Lotus that was often finishing outside the top 10 before he joined.

"What about more important questions relating to Lewis or/and Alonso in the same car as Vettel’s?"

" we won’t even know if Vettel is any better than Karthikeyen"

Sounds to me like you don't really know. The thing that we all know is that all four of them are top drivers and many factors have to be right for each of them to be at their best- that is all anyone knows.

152

I'd rather see a Kimi-Lewis pairing at Mercedes.

Lewis can handle the competition; the only other top tier driver (Kimi. Lewis, Alonso, and Vettel), who can handle the direct, even competition, is Kimi.

Rosberg's last win over Lewis has likely already hanppened.

Lewis, and Mercedes are ascendant, after their quick one on the illegal testing, for three days.

They are definitely for real.

But the engine issue is the real lottery.

If Red Bull are serious about having the best line up, they'll get Kimi.

I wouldn't expect that you could have Alonso come in and not rock he boat, but Kimi could do that; thake a one year deal, and then see if they need someone at McLaren-Hinda.

153

Great insight on the possible future redbull drivers, the bit that made me laugh was that teaming up with Vettle or being too close to him would be playing on Raikkonen's mind, i mean you really think that!

154

You misread it

Playing on his mind will be what the team would go if he was close to him ie who gets preference

155

Gee James, I wonder who would get preferrence.... Even Kimi could work that out and he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

156

Glennb. Every team principal he has worked with said he is intelligent .So Im not sure where your blunt comments about sharp knives are derived.

He is certainly not the most communicative- but that's different to intelligence isn't it...

157
unF1nnished business

You underestimate him. Even Aldo Costa from Ferrari has said that people don't realise how intelligent he really is.

158

It's a no-brainer if you ask me. Go with Ricciardio and maintain the desired image of being a team of young talent. Vettel will have clear number one status and everyone is happy.

If Daniel fails, red bull still win because they gave him, and their young drivers programme a chance.

I love kimi but does he really want to get involved in the Marko/Vettel love triangle, is the lure of the car's speed enough... What real racer would deny such temptation if offered! It's sadly not such an easy choice for him i think.

159

isn't it possible for richiardo to beat vettel? we will not know until after the event.

160

Isn't also possible for Riccardo to beat Vergne, which he has yet to do in 1 1/2 seasons? To even expect Riccardo to beat Vettel (except for an outlier result) would be a long shot.

161

Vettel only said he preferred Kimi to Alonso when asked - I don't think Ricciardo was anything to do with that statement.

162

It's the age-old dilemma for any top team: one genuine championship contender, or two?

One:

+ Cheaper

+ Preserves team harmony

+ Nominated number 1 driver may feel more motivated

+ Maximises #1 drivers' points in any given race, hence better for driver's championship

+ Drivers may collaborate better e.g. sharing setup tips if they aren't competing with one another

+ Car can be developed to suit the #1 driver, rather than a compromise

Two:

+ Maximises chance of taking constructors' championship

+ Drivers may spur each other on to do better

+ Protects against risk of one driver being injured or poached mid-season

+ Potentially better car development as two top drivers giving feedback

+ Two top drivers reduce points available to rivals

+ Better publicity & sponsorship potential as two top drivers attract more fans

McLaren have a history of hiring two top drivers, which is rare. Ferrari sometimes seem to want to try and have the best of both worlds by using their prestige to hire two top drivers, but then make one of them subordinate to the other.

163

“Both drivers get the same opportunity,” said Horner. - Yeah right.

“It’s down to what they do on the track that determines who is the lead driver or not, and the lead driver at any given time is the one who has the most points.” - That's why they backed Vettel when Webber was a full 16 points ahead of Vettel when Webber brilliantly won the 2012 Silverstone Grand Prix.

Vettel will still be the man leading the team. Raikkonen or not.

164

I agree Richard.

Why would any top line driver want to go through what Mark Webber has been put through at Red Bull?

Kimi's car has taken him to one win and five second places this year. He is the next most likely man to win the championship where he is.

The longer he leaves RB on the hook, the better his bargaining with Lotus.

My view is it won't be Kimi, but I'm not convinced by Dan yet either. He needs a podium to secure the chance.

165

What's he going to bargain with Lotus for? More money they can't afford to pay him anyway?

166

+1

Could the favouritism towards Vettel have been any more in Webber's and the fans faces ?

167

Going off topic, but has anybody seen the FB status where Alonso said he and Hamilton can partner in 2014 at Ferrari? If one thing, please let this be at Merc...

168

Is that really FA's FB page though? If so, an odd comment for him to make. There's no chance of Hamilton leaving Merc next year, or of FA joining Merc.

169

Poisoned Chalice race seat. "Kimi's too slow move him over" or "Kimi's too fast, slow him down" or "I want Daniel's front wing" or "Daniel's just passed me, come on Christian tell him this is my team". Don't know how Mark managed to put up with such nonsense for so many years.

170

LOL

171

Say Kimi goes to Red Bull, my concern would be if Vettel beats him, his reputation will probably shoot up even further and some may regard him as the best ever, yet Massa beat the Finn in 2008 and 2009 (until his crash) and I certainly don’t think Massa is as good as Vettel.

I’m not having a dig at Vettel, I think he’s a fantastic driver, I just feel if he beats Kimi people need to keep things in perspective

172

Kimi is waaaaaay overrated. If Seb beats him, and he will, noone will think anything of it. On the other hand, if Seb were to beat Lewis, that should and would get tongues wagging. I'm not a HAM fan but I do regard him in the top couple of drivers currently on the grid. I respect his ability.

173

Hamilton is too hit and miss. When he's on form and really shows up, he is probably the most natural talent we are going to see for another decade at least. But some days he's just vacant, depressed or not with it.

I am not really a Vettel fan but I will admit he has the one thing champions have which is consistency. He generally shows up in the same mental form and rarely blows it.

Kimi is more like Hamilton - but rather than a sort of depression he seems to lack any interest in the weekend - but when he's on it, he's really on it.

174

The poster I was replying to was suggesting Kimi was overrated and only vettel beating Hamilton as a teammate would be verifiably worthwhile. If you want to claim evidence lets look at Vettels record versus hamiltons then shall we? Compare race wins, pole positions and championships and there you'd have evidence.

Now personally I think Hamilton is a more naturally talented racer than vettel - that's my personal observation (like yours) it is not evidence. If we go solely off race stats as you did Vettel is a far superior driver.

As to evidence of Hamilton being hit and miss (despite being a fan of his over Vettel) I'd present the majority of the 2011 season for one - and also, Hamiltons own words - he himself has said he is ruled by emotions and finds it difficult to always be focused 100% when he has difficulties in his life. Now Lewis will also contradict himself and sometimes say he is always 100% focused - which leads me back to my point that he is hit and miss. He clearly doesn't give it his all in recent years. There are entire race weekends where the tantrum throwing, I don't care, everything is rubbish, miserable Hamilton shows up.

So yes I'm sure of what I wrote. Are you?

175

are you sure about what you have written? from what i have observed, hamilton has always given it his all. mostly let down by his car or less able drivers taking him out. he was the podium for his first nine f1 races, never heard of in the sport and may never be heard of in the future.

it's normal to draw conclusions from evidence.

176

His results suggest at best otherwise, at worst it's too complex to judge.

177

Vettel is simply not as talented as Lewis

179

the secret of winning in the rbr is in qually ...and ricciardo is quicker in that aspect than kimi

the rest he can learn

180

I don't think so. In the instances where Red Bull's have started further back down the grid, they usually end up at the front by the end of the race. Pole position enables domination of a race however there are other cars which are much more reliant on a good qualifying position.

I think Ricciardo will do well in the Red Bull with consistent podium results. It stands to reason. If a potentially great driver is never given a great car, he can never prove how good he is. In 2008 few would ever have thought of Jensen Button as a potential championship winner. In 2009 he was fortunate to find himself in a great car and won the title. Had Brawn GP been as terrible as Honda was the previous season, Button would have been discarded out of F1 as just another journeyman driver.

None of the top teams would have hired Button at the end of 2008 even though he is championship material. Most drivers never have the opportunity to do really well in a lesser car and show their form like Senna 1984 Monaco or Vettel 2008 Monza. The top teams must make calculated gambles on unproven drivers (seasoned or rookie) otherwise future talent can drift by unnoticed.

181

There must be some calculation about quali ability in ricciardos short listing though. If it was based on points and race position (as most teams have always said it is - other than pure financial concerns) then Vergne would have got the nod over Ricciardo.

As it stands Ricciardo is the better qualifier and the whole red bull philosophy is qualify near the front/control the race/vanish into the distance (with a hint that they're screwed if something goes horribly wrong as they are rarely fast enough to pull off front running overtakes).

I can see, in that very specific racing plan, Ricciardo is a good choice. Kimi, like a lot of drivers in their mid 30s is now a better racer but he's lost some of the outright quali speed of his 20s (which is fairly typical in many sports - the aggression dies down but the cunning mounts up).

182

Kimi although a great driver is no more superior than any other top line driver, however he is consistent and in my opinion often over rated. Having said that he may well end up moving on to another form of Motorsport at the fall of a hat anyway!

Dan is yet to be tested however its obvious he has speed, is in for the long run and is young. To me a no brainier on who should be jumping in the RBR seat.

At the end of the day their is no one that has proof Kimi would be quicker than Dan and vice versa.

183
unF1nnished business

He is a top line driver and consistent, yet you think he's overrated? Really. What more would you like from a driver who's putting a car that's avg. 3rd fastest on the grid yet is currently 2nd in WDC. Look at the standings mate and look where he finished last year and who he beat! (after 2 years off)...than tell me if he's overrated.

184

And if the McLaren had been more reliable he would have had more WDC then he has now. I'm sure LH has an appreciation of that.

185

I totall agree Petem. Everything.

186

All I am seeing is people complaining about how overrated Kimi is. Yet he is always up there without much fanfare and drama. So clearly he must actually be underrated.

187

Some folk just have to rag someone. In just a few laps in the USA, the team boss said he didn't need to see any more testing . The guy knows how to drive he said.

188

James, I understand that Alonso is not an option anymore, is that corect?

189

Don't think he ever was

190

Realistically Red Bull is out of the question, but if Alonso really does fall out with Ferrari and wants to move, where would he go? If Kimi takes the Red Bull seat, maybe Lotus?

191

Horner has a dilemma over which diver to choose, while Vettel is looking for motivation and a fresh challenge.

So:

Kimi & Dan -> Red Bull

Vettel -> Marussia

Sorted 🙂

193

I cannot see Vettel and Kimi in the same team. I think we would hear allot more "DO SOMETHING DO SOMETHING" over Vettels radio. Alonso does not respond well to another star driver in the team and I can't see Vetell being able to do it.

194

Eh? KUBICA!!!

195

By his own admission he isnt yet capable of driving the cars around the tighter tracks like Monaco and Singapore.

196

The same people who have been making the (unabashedly libelous) claims about Red Bull sabotaging Webber's car will do the exact same thing if Raikkonen moves to RB and is beaten by Vettel. So in that sense it's really a no-win situation for RB and SV. They're better off going with Ricci.

197

Mark ,starting 1st or 2nd cannot live with Seb yet Mark starting 18th or lower can outrun the entire field to finish in the top five or six. Never could understand that.

198

It's not hard to understand, drivers rise (or fall) to their natural level. For Webber that's around fifth, regardless of whether he starts on the front row or the the fourth row. The number of times Webber has started 18th or lower and finished in the top five or six is extremely small. Outrunning the guys driving for STR or Caterham or FI is not the same as outrunning Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton or Raikkonen.

199

For the long term perspective Kimi I think. Seb may leave the team after couple of year.

200

kimi is 34 this year!

201

So may Kimi depending on the performance of the car, his motivation, and how the team treat him respective to Vettel.

Nothing's certain.

202

Kimi will be 34 this October. Whatever else he is, he's not a "long term" solution to RB's needs.

203

Ricciardo is less experienced; so was Vettel when he joined Red Bull. The difference is Vettel's skills were obvious from the very beginning and that everyone knew he will be a World Champion one day. Same was said about Kimi when he came to F1. But can't say the same for Ricciardo.

Kimi will be better off at Lotus only if they can sort out their financial issues which can give him a stronger car.

Red Bull always treated their drivers fairly. But the fact is, they always knew Vettel is the man who will bring them the Driver's Championship. Will Ricciardo be another Webber? ... not bad for a number 2 driver ...? ... Time will tell.

204

2-3 years ago they would take Kimi, but now they will not. They have too much to loose and Kimi will not play the 2nd driver role, he will right up there winning if the car is going to allow. Vettel will not like it. But fans love Kimi so much more:-)

205

It seems to me that Rosberg is an unlikely deciding factor. Is Ricciardo good enough to beat him? If Red Bull decide that Ricciardo is fast enough, they don't need Raikkonen.

206

What's Rosberg got to do with this??

207

If the Merc matches the RBR next year then the second drivers performance becomes much more important. So if Dan can't broadly match Nico, the WCC becomes much more difficult. Kimi should be able to do it fairly comfortably, imo.

208

Money is what drives a team, and winning the Constructors title 3 years in a roll, has brought with it massive amounts of cash in to the team. Webber has played a very important part in making sure that they won those titles, and of course came close himself one year of the Drivers title.

For the owners of the team, they need to make sure that they are near the top or winning the constructors each year to keep the cash rolling in. If they stop getting the points, then very soon they could find themselves like Williams taking on paid drivers to keep afloat, as the amount Bernie would hand out gets smaller each year with fewer points.

They really do need someone who can get the car to the end of the race and in the points, pretty much every race. You don’t win races unless you finish them. So do they need at this time two speed merchants, who if they push too hard go off and therefore no points for the team, or a single speed merchant and a good number 2 driver to bring home the points?

I would prefer to have two speed merchants, but in today’s market, sponsorship is hard to come by, so the money that Bernie pays out is more important than ever before, hence I think they need a good backup driver to bring home the points. Shame to see, but that is life in the fast lane of F1 racing these days.

209

I think you meant said he preferred DR not KR.

210

Link to that quote? I haven't seen it, only from fans saying: 'Trust me, he doesn't want to team up with Kimi!' I have seen in an Autosport article where it said that he wasn't to fussed about it.

211

I might be wrong but I'm sure he was interviewed during the BBC coverage and said something along the lines of not wanting kimi as a team mate because he wasn't straight with him. It was during the round up at the end of the coverage. I don't have a link I'm afraid, sorry

212

Kokkis I very clearly said I wasn't sure. Nobody is making things up. I use this forum to learn more about F1 not because I know it all already.

213

Thanks JCA.

214

You are TOTALLY wrong! What Vettel said is opposite to your clame. People are too lazy even to google before they make things up!

Vettel told he would prefer Kimi over Alonso because Kimi has always been VERY STRAIGHT with him - on and off track!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/formulaone/article-2381323/Sebastian-Vettel-prefers-Kimi-Raikkonen-Fernando-Alonso.html

216

Great article!

It is indeed a nice dilemna RBR is facing.

I cannot help but wonder if RBR will indeed treat both drivers equally, no matter who will be SV's teammate. Recent history makes me doubt a little...

I very much agree with your conclusion and look forward to find out how this all develops.

217

for horner to say that vettel has no influence on the decision as to who drives the webber car does not ring true. he has already voiced a preference.

horner cannot control vettel, sepang showed just how weak he is when vettel broke the 'multi 21' agreement. vettel simply ignored horner's puerile protestations.

i should think that vettel would most certainly voice an opinion and that horner would take a lot of notice of that. to say otherwise is to try and position horner et al as the ultimate decision makers.

219

If they want the fastest one then they should sign kimi. Or, they could go for "fast enough" and avoid inevitable headaches.

For us, the fans, Kimi would be more exciting. But it seems to me that Daniel is the better choice for RBR.

220

Aah yes, decisions, decisions!

We all are faced with them but nobody ever wants to choose between two suitors.

But from the looks of it, the Red Bull decision is rather simple for it's all up to Kimi >>> If the Iceman says, he's onboard, Ricciardo will have to remain at Torro Rosso.

On the other hand if the Iceman says, he isn't interested then Ricciardo gets the drive.

As I said sometime back, I wouldn't advise Kimi to join Red Bull because Vettel's raw pace may destroy his reputation.

Imagine a situation where Vettel is on pole and Kimi is was back in P5 and we already know beating Vettel from pole is very rear indeed >>> all conditions being equal that is.

As for Webber, sure, there have been a number of dubious incidents happening at his side of the garage but even though Webber were to have a perfect season, it would have been impossible to beat Vettel over the course of the season because Vettel is too consistent.

P.s.

It appears Dietrich would rather lose the championships if Vettel is behind in the standings.

221

Vettel is great qualifier, he would properly out qualify Kimi. But Kimi has always been a great racer, he doesn't need to start from pole to win.

Kimi is already qualifying around 5th with a Lotus, if he has a Red Bull he would be right up there with Vettel.

222

"Vettel is great qualifier, he would properly out qualify Kimi. But Kimi has always been a great racer, he doesn’t need to start from pole to win."

This is where fans make mistakes in analysing the situation if you have the same car when 1 car qualifies on pole and another in 5th they are gonna have same race pace, so how people believe Vettel on pole vs Kimi lower would end up with Kimi beating him is beyond me.

223

Just recalled one area were a Kimi/Vettel partnership may not be good for Vettel and that's if the Red Bull becomes a difficult car to drive.

We saw in the first half of 2012 when the Red Bull was a handful, Webber was outperforming Vettel.

And recalling what Kimi did with the difficult 2009 Ferrari, I would say Kimi would fair better of the two.

So yeah, good Red Bull is in Vettel's favour whereas a poor Red Bull is in Kimi's favour.

224

Fact of the matter is Kimi has not yet committed to Red Bull, thats all there is to it!

225

I think it will be a huge shame if they dont choose Kimi. Definately the most enticing scenario...

226

So James do you definitely regard Alonso as a non-contender? I guess that Vettell knows that he would not be able to beat the greatest driver with equal machinery!

227

He would beat Alonso easily that I am very sure of, he just does not want all the drama and politics Alonso brings!

228

The way Alonso dragged a very inferior car around the circuits last season and came to within a couple of points of winning shows you are clearly wrong. In terms of drama - Vettel is the Drama Queen of them all! Examples being when he was given Webber's wing and the recent incident when he passed him on track when instructed not to do so. And he has the cheek to accuse Alonso of being underhand!

229

Obviously you need to watch the season review and you would understand better.

230

James, surely the Ferrari seat of Massa is also up for grabs? That must be equally as intriguing. That could be a very difficult seat to fill as there are no obvious candidates? Thoughts?

231

why not Di Resta, by far the best performer of the journeymen?

I'm not British; it's just that Di Resta is the best driver... after Grosjean. (Grosjean would be a good choice for Ferrari; I'd not thought of it before).

232

I dont see PDR as a journeyman. One team in three seasons? A spell of success in the DTM? He's a victim of politics and poor image IMO. He would and should have been in F1 much sooner having seen his rise through the formulas. I really don't understand why Hulk is rated so much higher than Di Resta in some quarters. Yes he beat him on points but only because of Di Resta's knackered chassis in the last few races. Their average finishing position was less than a tenth of a place between them. I've never seen Hulk do anything so wonderful to merit the adulation over and above Di Resta apart from a fluke pole and blowing a podium. I have analysed them to death when I should have been analysing equities at work and seriously the only thing I can come away with is that camera likes Hulk better. Hulk shades it but by fractions, nothing more. I'd really like to see them pair up again at a top team (ideally Ferrari) and see it play out.

233

Grosjean is an exciting young racer. He just needs to take the next step. It's a tough step but well worth the rewards. The guy is very quick but lacks a little 'spatial awareness' maybe. This will come.

234

Of the current options? Hulkenberg all day long

235
Tornillo Amarillo

I'm glad you mention HULK.

236

Definitely! He deserves a shot in a top team more than Perez or DR ever will.

237
Schnell! schnell!

And on that note, Hulkenberg must be regarded as a dark, very dark horse for the seat.

238

Well, it looks like Massa's Ferrari seat has been already spoken for. The Finnish website, suomif1.com, reported on August 1st that Kimi has signed the contract with Ferrari and their information is coming from the Italian sources.

The German magazine Sport Bild reported at the same time that Ferrari had made an offer to Kimi and their information is coming from sources close to Kimi. Sport Bild was the first one to publish that Kimi had signed a pre-agreement with Ferrari in the summer of 2005.

All this is quite believable when looking at the news on Lotus' financial problems and Allison's move to Ferrari.

239

Alonso vs Kimi? I'd like to see that.

240

Yeah, Hulk's earned the chance. Scoring with the Sauber has been a tough ask, as tough as with the Williams. But he's done it frequently.

He hasn't bitched and moaned like Di Resta has, even though his car is much worse, and far worse than he expected it to be this year. He was very convincing in the story this week, where he said 2013 was not a write-off yet ... I'm sure he was saying that through gritted teeth, but the team will have appreciated it.

241

I'm hopeful for Ricciardo, joining RB is the only way they will find out how he performs with a premier team/car. Raikkonen has a limited shelf life and at some point Vettel has the potential to move elsewhere. If Ricciardo lives up to expectations RB are future proofing themselves if they choose him. To RB's benefit, they will still have the Ricciardo option next season if they don't choose it this year.

From a fans perspective, I would much rather have the world champs scattered over as many teams as possible. Lotus without Kimi is much less likely to be so close to the front. RB vs Merc for 2014 honours?

242

my opinion is that riciardo would be a safer option, but vettel would walk on him and ricciardo doesnt have the driver status to arrive at red bull and "demand" things. with kimi its another story. in the article its says "Even if he is possibly a shade slower in qualifying pace, he would be right there on a consistent basis in race" i agree and desagree. he is a shade slower, but he doesnt have a car that has the saturday pace for a P1, and if he is given a machine that can do P1 on saturday im sure we will. ocasionally webber has done poles and i dont see kimi being a slower driver than webber. but will nevver know unless kimi is given that chance.

243

"who has already said publicly after the Hungarian GP that he would prefer Raikkonen as his team mate next year"

If this is the same quote I'm thinking of, all he said was that he'd prefer Kimi to Fernando.

Anyway, the choice is pretty clear - Kimi has more going for him than Ricciardo in virtually every aspect as a driver; if Red Bull want the fastest driver line up he's their choice. If they choose Ricciardo, they've taken something else into account, whether it be team harmony, pushing the Red Bull driver programme, Kimi's salary demands, whatever.

244

Taken Danny might, long term, be the better option. Danny can learn from Sebastian and when Seb moves in 2015, they have a young driver from the RB program to take that No.1 position over. In 2 years Danny can learn alot to lead RB into the future when Seb is gone

245

I'd say that's the most balanced and summarised comment posted.

+1

246

Well, I think we'd all like Kimi for the entertainment, wouldn't we?

247

Kimi actually improved a lot on his qualifying. Nobody said Alonso was a shade slower in qualifying when he's the one in the top 5 that havent made it into front row yet when Kimi had.

With the newly revised tire, despite struggling with it he was only 2 tenth slower in Hungary.

I feel like journalist likes to generalize 1 particular event instead of looking into details.

Sebastien Vettel only managed to improve 1 tenth with imperfect lap in hungary but still qualified 2nd. Thus is the strength of his car that allow such margin of error.

I just think that the Jounalist has higher standard when it comes to kimi and lower when it comes to Lewis, vettel and fernando.

249

Helmet Marko utterances? I would have said declarations..

With the news recently of Lotus' financial trouble surely Kimi would just want an equal opportunity clause in his contract and he'd be off? Austria is a lot closer to Finland too..

I have a theory that Red Bull may have requested the meeting with Alonso's manager to begin with.. drum up some media attention arround Ferrari to give themselves some breathing room to make this decision.

250

Yes all true but the Red Bull world headquarters, it's marketing machine, and Matesczitz are all in Austria. If there are PR stunts to be done the meetings may well happen there, as well as any contract signings I would imagine. Anyway, not the clincher I'm sure for Raikkonen, actually getting paid and equal status are probably much higher on his list of priorities, but if Red Bull at least promise to keep the PR stuff within a few hours from home in the off season it may be an attractive point for the Iceman.

251

Interesting note - almost all F1 contract signings are in Switzerland - and there's a handful of lawyers who handle the final deals. Some journalists have announced the big signings simply by hanging out and spotting people arriving in Switzerland!

If Kimi and Horner both take a brief trip there you'll probably know what's happened. Everything else is smoke and mirrors in this spy game like environment!

252

Does not matter where Austria is, the Red Bull is built in Milton Keynes...

Which I suppose might be fractionally closer to Finland than Enstone...

253

Austria is a lot closer to Finland? Compared to what?

The Lotus and RBR factories are pretty close to each other... but PR commitments may be focused elsewhere.

254

I just can't believe that option #1 isn't Kimi. Frankly, it just makes too much sense: Seb's best bud, already has a business history with Red Bull, has the marketing image that personifies Red Bull, is deadly quick, etc.. Regarding the eqality concern, the idea that Red Bull wouldn't allow anyone to compete with Vettel is ludicrous; Webber almost won the 2010 Championship, and he's beaten Vettel a number of times in qualifying and the race. They would have no problem with having Kimi and Vettel battle it out, especially with the threat of an emerging mamnoth driver pairing at Mercedes that they're going to have to compete with in the future for Constructor's Championships. It's not at all sure that Ricciardo is on the level of Rosberg, and they need someone who is at least on his level if they want to get theirs where the money is paid.

So I would take Horner at his word when he says he wants the best driver available to take the other seat. And that driver is Kimi. The cat is already out of the bag in the rumor mill that this is his preference, since when there's enough smoke in the F1 rumor mill, there is fire. Whether or not this is Kimi's preference, or that of Mateschitz or Marko, is certainly up for debate. And it's quite hard to read how any of them are thinking right now.

255
unF1nnished business

Kimi most likely is option #1, however, it's more a matter of whether Kimi wants Red Bull. He's been around F1 long enough to know how important team environment is and right now he's comfortable at Lotus. It's just a matter of whether Lotus can produce the goods.

256

I think it also comes down to whatever proposal / contract RB are putting on the table for Kimi. Thy may want him to sign for 'x' years and Kimi may want 'y' years. There's also the monetary side, promotional side and heaven knows what else. My point is that while RB seem to be a logical choise for Kimi, it might not be that black & white. Dan, on the other hand would most likely take the job for food and lodgings, just to get the opportunity.

If I were Kimi I would be looking at a 1 year deal like Webber always did. Who knows, maybe the RB10? will suck.

257

"Even if he is possibly a shade slower in qualifying pace"

We won't know this till they both have the same car.

Whatever the dilemmas and projected areas of concern, there can be no other logical choice. Both RBR and Kimi have to go on and do it, or they will forever regret their lack of courage..

258

If kimi doesn't go to rbr does it present an opportunity for Daniel to move to lotus?

259

Please let it be Daniel.

260

Coming from a Raikkonen fan, I hope Kimi gets the seat. We will never know how good Vettel REALLY is until we see him compete against another World Champion in equal machinery. That said, I have been following Ricciardo closely since his F3 days and would love to see him given the chance in a top car. Either way 2014 is set to be a very interesting season, not that the outcome of the current one is anywhere near being decided yet!

261

The 'same car' team mate comparison is an understandable one and probably the best one there is however this comparison is still a false one. At this level of race car competition, cars are designed and tailored to specific drivers. In the case of Red Bull, the car is built as an extension of Vettel himself. The other driver (whoever it may be) must adapt and setup the car as best as he can. This means one driver will always have an inherent advantage over the other. Certainly in the top group of teams.

262

and how do you explain the mercedes situation?

that idea that a car is built to suit one driver's style doesn't hold much water. both drivers tell the engineers about their preferred characteristics. the slower driver will always be slower nor matter how well the car is built to suit them.

263

+1 Wade. That point about inherent advantage is thought provoking.

Just one question: How does a team choose which driver the car has be tailored around? I mean, if I bring in huge sponsorship money to Ferrari, will the car be tailored for me and Alonso will have to adapt? ...And, I'm indeed a bad driver.

264

We'll never know how good Kimi is until we see him compete against another World Champion in equal machinery.

Come to think of it, we'll never know how good Alonso is until we see HIM compete against another World Champion in equal machinery.

And there's a long list of "great" past champions who never competed against another WDC winner in the same car. Off the top of my head I can think of Schumacher, Haikkenen, Clark, and Fangio.

265

What WDC in recent times has willingly put themselves up against another in the same team? Only one I can think of is JB to McLaren in 2010.

266

ALO competed with HAM, albeit in his first season

267

This was embarrassing for Alonso at best as a rookie no matter how good, for me beat a DWC people might say the ended up on same points but had Kimi not won Hamilton would have been WC.

268

Alright guys, calm yourselves! It's all gone a bit off topic here, the WDC head to head remark was just the icing on the cake, if you will, something to look forwards to in the interests of good sport. I hold no grudge against Vettel or any other driver on the grid, and was only thinking of how exciting it would be to have a different world champion, this year or next. I've been a huge F1 fan for over 25 of my 30 something years, and it's the competition that interests me, nothing else matters.

I like a good debate on an interesting subject, like several brought up in this thread, but let's not turn this website into a fan-boy/ troll-fest like many other (previously objective) sites have done. Keep up the good work, James.

269

And even as a rookie, against an experienced 2 x WDC, Hamilton pretty quickly wiped the smile off Alonso's face. Some of the interviews that year asking Alonso what he thought of his rookie team mate... looked like he was about ready to storm off to his room and slam the door.

People rubbish Vettel for having a hissy fit if things aren't going his way, and then in the next sentence praise Alonso for all his wizardry and racing purity. Utter crap.

270

Hamilton was not a World Champion at the time though, in fact he was in his rookie season. And Alonso STILL did not beat him. So the point holds: why don't we need to see Alonso up against a WDC in the same equipment to know how good he is?

For the record, I think the argument here is basically stupid. But if people are going to make it they should at least apply it equally to everyone and not just use it against Vettel.

271

And HAmilton drove him to a stalemate, on his first year.

Do you remember the first race, Hamilton passing Alonso.

I want to see a Kimi-Hamilton head-to-head at Mercedes; with Rosberg to Ferrari against Alonso.

272

Has to be Ricciardo. Even if there are concerns over his consistency, it is unlikely I think he would do so poorly as to lose the constructors or not provide enough support for Vettel.

He will be in his fourth season in F1 next year. And in the event the rule changes next year see RBR lose their advantage - then again I think Raikonnen wouldn't do so much better than Ric in those circumstances.

273

I do like Ricciardo....but it has to be Kimi for me. If Vettel is to stay at Red Bull for the foreseeable future, he needs to prove he can beat one of the best in the same equipment. Ricciardo will have his day....eventually.

274

Out of all the comments in here, this has to be the most interesting. Everyone assumes that Vettel will stay with RBR for ever... so what happens if the team refuses a second 'top-tier' driver, to keep Seb happy, and a year later he migrates to new pastures..?

275

Why doesn't Kimi need to "prove" that? When has he ever beaten one of the best in the same equipment?

276

Excuse me, but Kimi won his WDC with Ferrari up against the likes of Felipe Massa.

Hahahahahaha.

There's also all the talk of Vettel never proving himself in a rubbish car. Well as a rookie, he impressed people in his BMW sessions, which no wasn't rubbish but not the best either. Then impressed on occasion in the STR. "Oh but that was just a Red Bull with a Ferrari engine." Because yeah, RBR were just nailing it race after race at that point, so of course anyone could have driven that STR to good results.

Mind you, when did Kimi prove himself through years of coming up through the ranks of F1? He came from Formula Renault, drove for Sauber, was beaten by Heidfeld, then moved over to McLaren, and then Ferrari. Eight years (I think it was) of driving at the top two teams in F1 at the time, and only one WDC to his name? And that WDC should probably have been Hamilton's, but Hamilton was McLaren'd. And now Kimi's at Lotus, where it seems when Grosjean manages to put it all together (not very often so far, unfortunately), they're basically having to move him over to let Kimi through.

So why again is it that Kimi is considered one of the greats, yet Vettel who showed pace with BMW Sauber (and scored his first point there in his first race), won his first race with STR before the main RBR team had even managed one, then went to RBR and gave them their first wins, and went on to take three WDCs and help them win three WCCs... nooooo, it's all about the car/Newey and favouritism. Actuallly, wasn't Newey at McLaren for some of the years Raikkonen was there?

While we're at it, how many top shelf drivers has Alonso gone up against in the same equipment and beaten? The one future-WDC (then complete F1 rookie) he went up against practically had Alonso crying like a baby. Funny, coz all the Alonso fans laugh about Vettel having hissy fits.

277

selective amnesia.

278

Oh ho, look at the anti-Vettel crew coming out.

Thing is, I don't even like Vettel. Most of the time, I think he's a [mod]. Impressive at what he does, but a [mod] nonetheless.

Vettel can't handle pressure? While 2011 might have been a relative walk in the park, I think last year he proved on several occasions he can. The call over the radio about Kimi the other week? So what? He thought he was pushed wide coming around a blind 90deg high speed corner, so he called it in. And then post-race laughed it off and admitted he was wrong. Big deal. If you want to be picky about radio talk, let's revisit Alonso's, "Oh I give up. I give up." How's that for having a cry?

Everyone's quite happy to pick at Vettel over everything they can think up, and ignore anything that goes against their criticism. But for whoever their hero is, apparently the rules are different.

As for one of Vette's titles belonging to Alonso, you either mean 2010, when Alonso flailed about behind Petrov after Ferrari failed on strategy and later pulled alongside him on track for a hissy fit (because he shouldn't have to race for those positions, they should just be given to him), or last year, where he was only in the running because McLaren failed Hamilton miserably (as well as some Red Bull failures/screw ups). If anyone but Vettel, last year's should have been Hamilton's.

279

Instead of getting facts of Kimi off of Wikipedia, maybe you should watch those old races! Maybe Kimi's WDC should have been Hamiltons, but then one one Alonso's WDCs should have been Kimi's and one of Vettels should have been Alonso's! If you want to get into "should have, could have, would have"

280

Yes but we all know that Kimi pushed Michael hard in 05/06 and if it wasn't for the pathetic reliability of the McLaren (browns engines every second race and rear wings falling off) He would easily have at least another WDC under his belt. A trophy cabenet doesn't tell the full story. You cannot tell me or anyone on this forum that Vettel is a more complete driver than Alonso despite having one less WDC.

Think about these things before writing drivers off, I'm sure you'd like the same level of understanding if the boot was on the other foot.

281

Massa in 2007 was no easy one. In 2008, Massa was the title contender, so during his pre-accident days he was different from what he is now.

The only strongest pairing in recent years was Hamilton-Alonso in 2007 and Hamilton just made it on some technical grounds (countback). Other than that, the next best could be Kimi-Massa and then Hamilton-Button. Now you see in the above names that have been given, one obvious driver's missing and that is why people always have genuine doubts about that driver until he goes against one of those pairings mentioned above. His golden chance is next year if Kimi comes in, otherwise he will be forever doubted for a good reason.

And Vettel already showed he cannot handle pressure when racing some competitive drivers, just recall his famous radio comments - do we need to mention those specifically? Just recall the last race in last few laps, that would be a hint. If Vettel is in the front, he drives beautifully, but when he is behind others, more often than not, he gets worked up unlike other well-established drivers.

282

The impression I got and I may be way off here is that red bull have already offered kimi the drive and its a matter of if they can come to an agreement. Just the impression I got after some of the interviews with kimi

283

This is my impression too. Red Bull has an offer on the table. The issue that divides the two sides is, apparently, Kimi's demand to decide on race strategy. Also, I doubt Kimi has as much respect for Newey as he has, for example, for James Allison. He has driven Newey's cars and was on two occassions, 2003 and 2005, let down by the car. The mechanical failures of the car in 2005 were attributed to his rough driving style by Newey-we all know that Kimi is probably the smoothest driver in F1- and apparently this did not go well with Kimi. Also, mechanical grip will be the order of the day in 2014, not aero, so Newey and Red Bull may find the going rough.

My guess is that Kimi will turn down Red Bull because he will not get the autonomy he wants, and he will either stay at Lotus, which he prefers, or go to Ferrari.

284

when raikkonen drove neweys cars, newey was not a share holder but ewd bull he is so the success of the team is worth a lot more to him than when he was at mclaren. secondly he did ask for shares in his contract negotiation and was refused.

285

Agreed. I believe the comment when he went to ferrari was something along the lines of they will need to build a tank for kimi not to break it which i never beieved for a second, sour grapes maybe. Interesting point on the mechanical grip being a premium next year. Lotus really do seem to have the best handle on the rear tyres and if the renault motor is a match for the mercedes and ferrari they could be the stand out team next year!

286

Whoever is picked, i'm sure everyone agrees qualifying in Melbourne 2014 is going to be riveting viewing and must watch for any F1 fan !

287

Hi James,

I hope Raikkonen will go to RBR next year. If that happened, my prediction will be Raikkonen on top of Vettel. What will be yours?

Although a big fan of Alonso, I somehow feel Alonso may not be a bigger threat to Vettel than Raikkonen in the same team.

288

Lol from this comment can tell you are a fan of Hamilton.

What I find funny in all this kind of comments is what exactly is Kimi going to do that Vettel is not doing at redbull or you think he would suddenly lose his pace?

I think you need to look at Vettel well he consistently gets the max in qualy and race out of his car week in week out than anybody else

289

We should take anything RBR and Horner say with a huge pinch of salt. Post Brazil 2011, Horner says Seb was heroic in getting the car to the finish line afer gearbox problems.

Now Horner says Vettel gave Webber the win in 2011. So you can speak shades of the truth when it suits you.

I think RBR dont sabotage Webber, but he has a team around him that are less superior to Vettel's team, let us say. The whole team and car is centered around the German.

If Kimi can walk into this lion's den and tame him, he would be an absolute legend. I think he can do it.

290

"I think RBR dont sabotage Webber, but he has a team around him that are less superior to Vettel’s team"

They're the same team!

291

He means the mechabics and pit crew who work directly with Webbers car, not the whole team.

292

They have the same pit crew. The only real difference in personnel is in the race engineers, Simon Rennie for Webber and Guillaume Roquelin for Vettel.

Which is why the the two RB cars have proven to be equally reliable (or unreliable) over the years.

293

"We should take anything RBR and Horner say with a huge pinch of salt. "

And apply the same reasoning to any team and its principal.

294

James: I feel a vibration, picking up clarity, of driver changes, in-season, maybe by Monza!

Anything for your end?

295

James,

Interesting. Alonso has been completely discounted? Was he just a pawn to reduce Kimi's stake and prove that RBR have other options? And Kimi to Ferrari rumour is just to show that Kimi has other options too?

Brilliant.

296

James, when Vettel said that he'd rather have Kimi as a teammate, wasn't he referring to the rumours that Alonso had approached his team?

297

Yes, but the point is he expressed a preference. He did not need to do that to answer the question

298

AGP promos have been the most accurate indicator til now. They dumped Webber's image for Daniel's ages before Webber's announcement, and yet now they have dumped Daniel for Vettel and Kimi. Walker and Ecclestone are a boxed set, Walker saying when Bernie goes I'll go. None of this good for the AGP of F1.

299
Scuderia McLaren

My dream situation:

1) Kimi joins Red Bull and we see a battle royale between champions.

2) Alfonzo Samuronzo gets booted from Ferrari and joins Lotus. All of a sudden, Grosjean begins crashing into walls on street circuits just after Alonso pits.

3) Ferrari decide enough is enough and throw out Massa, Fry and Domenicali and replace with Ricciardo, Bianchi, Brawn and Allison. A new dawn begins, the seeds are sown for future domination and the past 5-6 years is never spoken of again. Oh and LDM gets gagged somehow.

4) Jenson leaves McLaren to pursue a career in women's triathlon. Honda begin to bring the team back to the fore and they put a Bottas or the like in to partner Perez. Two crazy kids with Honda motors. Reminds me of another time in the 80's! Plus fins and McLaren are like peas and carrots.

5) Sauber survives, takes on a Russian but uses the money to give Frijns a drive.

6) Williams find a new, non-copyable, innovation that puts them back with the leaders.

300

Although I'm a Dan fan and IMO deserves the ride over Kimi anyday of the week there are two others who have shown brilliant glimpses this year when given the right cars and circumstances them being Grojean & Perez. Both on their day are quicker than their team mates however are often overlooked.

Grojean can be pure genius. Speed & aggressiveness . If he can keep his nose clean and run a top car I have no doubt his guy will wear a No1 on his car one day.

Starting to think Kimi was never really in the hunt for Webbers seat. RBR was just going through the motions which they have to be seen doing. Sorry to all the Kimi fans who got their hopes up.

DR will have the number 2 on his car next year because Vettel will again clean up this year comfortably.

302

Kimi is going to Maca or Ferrari if not staying with lotus . Daniel for RB 1 year contract +1 because you never know.

303

"Mercedes looks very strong for the next few years."

perhaps we might have the unexpected....with Ferrari or McLaren producing the best package.

304

Raikkonen/Vettel pairing would be the strongest in the field in my opinion. That is the main fact RB should look at. Vettel/Ricciardo would be only a good one. Picking Ricciardo just to justify the young driver development programme is wrong, I think. Kimi would not cause any problem as he is now a few tenth slower in qualy than he was in his prime McLaren days, but very clean, fast, exciting and reliable during the races. I like Ricciardo as I liked Webber, but I have not seen him doing any magic to get into the best car of the field, at least not yet. Qualifying 6th with a Toro Rosso is certainly good, but no at the same level as Kimi, Lewis, Seb or Fernando who all had done some exceptional things at their first F1 races. Kimi finished in the points at his very first race with a Sauber...

305

All of the others started in years when there were much bigger differences between the teams. Vettel's first race was in the BMW Sauber, 3rd fastest car on the track behind McLaren and Ferrari (and fairly clear of those behind). Ricciardo was in the HRT. Now he's in the better STR, but we're talking about years when Sauber is taking podiums, McLaren went from fastest one year to nothing this year, Force India challenging for podiums, Williams claiming one pole and one win out of nowhere and then just disappearing to the back again, etc. Where if you're a tenth off, you're not just behind your team mate, you're a few rows back.

To make comparisons years apart in F1 is pointless. Only way to really know is to have two drivers in the same team at the same time.

306
Michael Grievson

I wonder if they're considering someone else in the background and suprise everyone.

307

If they choose Kimi there will be big problems for the team since he is probably faster than Vettel. Considering the fact that a clear #2 like Webber was giving Vettel problems the odd time that the team couldn't control very well it doesn't seem like a smart move. If they take on Kimi get ready for some serious sparks.