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Ricciardo sure he’d get “fair crack at it” as a Red Bull Racing driver
Red Bull Racing
Posted By: James Allen  |  22 Aug 2013   |  4:37 pm GMT  |  94 comments

Daniel Ricciardo insists that he has not yet been given confirmation that he has landed the Red Bull seat alongside Sebastian Vettel for next year. But he looked and sounded confident as he faced the media in the Spa paddock this afternoon.

Since Kimi Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson announced that he had ceased talks with Red Bull, the way has looked clear for Ricciardo, as he was apparently the only other driver on the shortlist.

But the Aussie insists that the Red Bull management is making him wait.

Whereas Raikkonen dodged the media today, citing illness, Ricciardo faced the music and coped fairly well with a large media contingent pressing him for answers. He drank a lot of water, indicating a dry mouth, but he didn’t give anything away. He looked very confident and clearly feels that the drive will be his, however he was prepared to talk hypothetically and be drawn into discussing scenarios like whether he would be allowed to win a race if he found himself ahead of Vettel.

“The phone call I still haven’t had, so it’s still a bit up for grabs,“ said Ricciardo.

“I’m not popping the champagne, no celebrations; until something is confirmed, signed sealed and delivered. It’s a guessing game, I’d be lying if I said I knew (when the confirmation would come) If we don’t get results that we are after then it could drag out to the end of the season.”

Asked to comment on Raikkonen’s manager announcement he said, “I don’t follow too much of the media hype, people keep writing to me asking if things are true. I can assure you I haven’t heard anything from the people next door so I have to keep my feet on the ground, keep pushing and keep getting some results to boost my chances.

Asked if he was ready to compete at the highest level he said, “If it was to go forward in my favour, I would expect (that) of myself. Obviously it’s not as easy task and I wouldn’t expect it to be. Even though Sebastian’s won three straight, it hasn’t been easy for him. I would prepare and make sure I’m in the best possible position to make it happen in a successful way.

Arguably the key point here is that there is a pressing need for the Red Bull programme to deliver another contender, after the millions that have been spent on it and on Toro Rosso.

“It’s definitely important,” agreed Ricciardo. “It means a lot to Red Bull and myself to fulfil their programme. That’s the real final step. I’m sure they want to see another young Red Bull kid to come in and try to fight for a world title. Obviously Seb’s done that and completed their programme but I’m sure they’d love more than one person to complete the journey. At the same time they have to get a guy who they are sure can do the job and I still have to prove that’s me.

Asked if he would consider himself, ‘not bad for a number two driver’ as Mark Webber once styled himself, he said, ”I hear a bit in the team about equality and I’m sure people have different opinions. If I got a shot I’m sure I’d get the same car and the same opportunity to show my skills.

“I’m still young. I haven’t won anything yet so I definitely want to win something. If I was in a position to win a race in future I’d be allowed to.”

Judge for yourselves. He looks like a man who has one hand on the prize, but is being made to wait, despite the speculation in the German media last week. No announcement is imminent. They clearly want things to cool off a bit. But Ricciardo looks like a Red Bull driver.

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The Marko effect probably won’t be as pronounced with Ricciardo in the team, as he is part of the program that Helmut manages. Webber is at odds with Marko, chiefly because he was hired outside of these arrangements, and I also suspect is somewhat compromised by the way they have to package his 6ft frame into the car. Ricciardo would have the benefit of having Marko on-side (to an better extent), and having a similar frame to Vettel means that Newey can refine his designs even further. Also Ricciardo’s speed and tendency not to get into trouble could end up giving us some surprises.


While Marco/Vettel have so much say in the team Ricciardo will be treated as Webber was, a support driver to gain points for the team and back Vettel. I suspect that may also be the reason Kimi Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson called it quits on negotiations with Red Bull. I am curious though as to why Horner is still talking up a potential deal with the Finn.


Here’s something to ponder about. Sergio Perez has been under the Ferrari Radar for a long time. Anybody fancy Massa being replaced by him and the vacant seat at McLaren going to Kimi? Well, as long as we are speculating. I might as well put this in too. Think of it, A Mexican and a Spaniard in Ferrari 🙂 And a Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen combo would certainly look good like the Coulthard and Raikkonen combo 2002 – 2004.


That’s the one that nobody is giving weight to: Kimi to McLaren, and it’s the one that makes more sense to me. Kimi left Woking on relatively good terms compared to Ferrari, who paid him out to replace him with Fernando. That said, the whole thing could just be posturing to Lotus to either pay him or lose him. RBR are probably sitting back and letting all this happen, because it is a distraction to two of their title rivals. Why else would they have put Ricciardo in the car at the Silverstone test?


And yes.. Honda is given a great chance here to learn from what might go wrong for certain teams in 2014 and get their act straight for their return in 2015.


Yep. It makes sense for Kimi to make sure he has a seat at McLaren Honda for 2015 too as well. Jenson’s been the HONDA ambassador almost all through his career as an F1 driver. He is jumping up and down and saying a lot of good things about Honda already. So he is gonna stay put at McLaren. It could be a great driver package for a great McLaren comeback. Not to forget. Honda are pioneers of v6 turbos. It could mean Kimi staying at Lotus next year and negotiating a McLaren deal for 2015 behind closed doors. I am just saying. The Idea is not crazy.. it does make sense..


RBR- Daniel remember your being hired to be happy and smiley and enjoy your time at Red Bull. You are NOT allowed to beat Vetel. Sounds just like Barrichello in 2000


Sorry Danny, but your head is full of magic if you think you’l get a fair drive at RBR.

Vettel being number 1 is what the team want. Its pretty good for marketing through Germany and Austria and the Red Bull francise that way. Plus the fact that Helmut Marcu (or what ever his name is)is a Vettel fan.

That team is set up for Seb and they are happy with it like that. It would be nice to see Danny beat Seb though.


Gee, wouldn’t it be funny if Dan is faster than Seb?

God I hope Dan is faster than Seb.


“If I got a shot I’m sure I’d get the same car and the same opportunity to show my skills.” Not so fast my friend.

I’ll bet that this exact issue, not money, was the sticking point with Kimi. If he couldn’t resolve it, I doubt if Ricciardo has the Moxie to do so. If he signs, he will most definitely be a number two driver for a long time to come.


I really don’t understand why people think Ricciardo will be easier to handle than Kimi. The Red Bull is designed to be qualified at the front and raced in clear air, who between Dan and Kim do people think would qualify the car further up the grid. The guy known for putting his car in grid slots it doesn’t belong (Dan) or the guy known as a great racer but average qualifier (Kimi). And if Ricciardo does out qualify Seb for a couple of racers I have no doubt Red Bull would give him every chance to win.


Ricciardo is absolutely the correct choice here. Going for Raikkonen would be a silly choice for the medium/long term and contradict the yound driver program Red Bull have.

I’ve actually been rather surprised and dissapointed in the general media coverage since Raikkonen cancelled himself out, almost like they were bitterly dissapointed. The point they all make is that Ricciardo is unprooven and a risk that Red Bull shouldn’t take. What rubbish, if you ran an F1 team like that then Hamilton would have never had an opportunity. Ricciardo is clearly gifted and a brilliant long term prospect. No doubt if Ricciardo was British there’d be a more favourable view on Ricciardo to Red Bull…


He’s an Aussie, so he might as well be British.

Now that’s how you offend two Nations with one hit.

Adrian Newey Jnr

James – what I don’t understand is given the option of driving for Red Bull (best team of the past 5-6 years), why wouldn’t he be doing more to make it happen? Lotus and Ferrari are good teams, but don’t have the recent record or budget that Red Bull have. Kimi doesn’t strike me as being motivated by money and surely wouldn’t risk being in a cash strapped Lotus team when the option of a second title with RB is available?

On the flipside, from RB’s perspective, why gamble with DR when they have the biggest budget in the field and could easily afford to employ either FA or KR? After all, they’re already paying MW ~$10m a year. With a budget in the hundreds of millions of pounds, surely paying a little extra for KR or FA would strengthen their own roster whilst also taking away a leading competitor from another team (eg Ferrari or Lotus) that are currently challenging them.


Go, Dan, he’ll do just fine. Jordan


Come on.. He won’t get a fair go, it’ll be Webber all over again. Vettel (&Red Bull) “veto” his #2 just like Alonso, he’s just smarter and more subtle about it.


Horner said the door isnt closed for Kimi. Remains to be seen whether Ricciardo will get the drive.


Are the press ever going to ask Grosjean if he thinks he has a fair crack at it against Kimi at Lotus? What about asking Rosberg if he feels he has a fair crack of it against Hamilton given the team orders at Mercedes? Or Massa if he has a fair crack of it at Ferrari? For some reason the F1 press is obsessed with the mere possibility that Vettel’s teammate is not being given an equal shot, and that’s distinctly odd considering their total indifference to other drivers who are much more obviously favored or disfavored within their teams.


I’m pretty sure he’ll get the drive… His drive in the British GP was brilliant and a tyre change at the same time as Webber could’ve easily had put him on the podium.

If he gets the drive, the pressure in Melbourne is going to be immense.

Not many fairy tale stories in F1.. seems to me the writer of fairy tales is British anyway… needs an Aussie chapter I reckon..


James, interesting to see your comments about drivers’ body language while talking to the press, I noticed it also in the latest Alonso piece, it really adds more depth for us readers who were not there to see it. Thanks!


really ricciardo? do you actually think you (unproven) will get a fair crack up against a three (soon to be four) time champion?

In related news….”sebastian vettel has finally come to his senses and obeys team orders”


Lewis did at McLaren:-)


I’d say he’s already had more than “a fair crack at it”. He is not the most deserving driver on the grid waiting to get a top drive let alone the most deserving driver in a Toro Rosso in my opinion (which accounts for slightly less than the dogs), but I’m sure he’d do well.

Still, im loving the tension and what if’s of this silly season. If only another big manufacturer announced they were coming into F1 next year or 2015. That would cause an uproar. Can we get please please PLEASE get a Maserati or Alfa Romeo junior team for Ferrari, a comedy Smart junior team for Merc and one of Porsche, Audi, VW, BMW, Toyota, Honda to sign up.


It’s the perfect time for another manufacturer to come in. They just need to buy up Lotus and rebrand the team. Would be good for Toyota to be in – given they are one of the hybrid engine market leaders.


Horner has indicated that their short list is longer than most people think and that Kimi hasn’t been ruled out. I suspect that they are also looking at Rosberg who signed what I understand to be a 3 year deal for 2011,2012 and 2013 with an option for 2014. If he chooses to leave Merc I dont think his contract situation would prevent this.

He is fast but wouldn’t necessarily demand No. 1 status like Alonso or even Kimi and Red Bull will like him for marketing purposes. You heard it here first.


No driver, not a single one, is going to Red Bull, to partner the reigning, triple, three-times-in-a-row world champion on the condition that they get to be the number 1 driver.

Whatever you think of Christian Horner, he is way too intelligent to consider such absurdity.

But both Kim, and Alonso would want to get, in writing, EQUAL treatment, and, if their people are smart, and I think we can see by the media discussion for the past four weeks, that they are smart, especially Robertson, I would expect that they would include all sorts of clauses about … well, the kind of things that seem to always happen to Mark Webber, for example, and, well, provisions for such patterns.


Yes I agree completely. However, I don’t think Rosberg or Hulk would be in a position to demand that. I can’t understand why both names aren’t in the fray. They are fast consistent and wouldn’t upset the apple cart too much. Why destabilise a winning machine.

I made the same point when it was being discussed as Kimi v Ricciardo. I think that somewhere Horner’s desk draw is a piece of paper with a list of criteria for the new driver – fast, consistent, marketable image, will tow the line and support the team (Vettel) if required. I don’t think RBR are looking for a subservient No. 2 like the Ferrari model with Schuey, but at the same time Horner is clever enough to see that an Alonso/Hamiltiin Senna/Prost situation isn’t going to be productive.

I don’t think Kimi or Alonso fit the criteria. I would argue that Ricciardo, Hulk, De Resta and Rosberg fit it perfectly.


Agree. It seems like RB’s position has changed since Hungary. Prior to that it was Kimi or Ricciardo.

But it sounds like RB have since been approached by many drivers. I’d imagine Hulk, Kovalainen, DiResta, Sutil and Massa must have approached RB through their agents.

Perhaps Button and Rosberg? Hamilton? I’m not sure why these three would change teams. But it’s intriguing that RB have said “you be surprised at the drivers that have approached us”. I wonder who . . . .


Button is another good shout in terms of fitting the criteria. Don’t think it would happen because of other reasons but that’s the type of driver they want. I think they want a top driver but what they don’t want is another super Alpha male big dog storming in there upsetting the apple cart. On that basis I don’t agree that Hamilton is a good fit, and again wouldn’t go other reasons.


I think if Ricciardo ends up being the number 2 driver will have more to do with his driving ability than it being written in to his contract. I think he will prove to be atleast as competitive for Vettel as Webber was, and look forward to seeing him battle VET in qualy pushing that machine to the limit.

In the RB9 all one has to do is qualify P1, and do solid starts, and the race is theirs to lose. And I suspect the RB10 will be very similar, regardless of the new engine differences.


“In the RB9 all one has to do is qualify P1, and do solid starts, and the race is theirs to lose.”

You could say that about every car on the grid. It’s easier said than done though.


Awww the poor guy. I suppose he does have to convince himself of this and so therefore has to try to convince everyone else. Lap dog number 2 is ready for the challenge – to finish 2nd!


Are you as contemptuous of the “lap dog number 2” drivers at Mercedes, Ferrari, and Lotus? Why not?


I suspect it is because Vettel is just not very popular. Because of this people try to have a dig at him when they can. Apparently, at the German GP there were only about 50,000 spectators on race day – a German driver, leading the championship and in with a good chance of a race win, and only 50,000 of his fellow countrymen turn out to watch! Not good.


Good point. lol 🙂


Germans have no pocket money left to buy F1 tickets. Everything they had is going to Greece via the EU.

Tornillo Amarillo

Ricciardo in Red Bull sooner or later, yes, but IMO not sure now.

James, for me the point is they have an Academy for MANUFACTURING OBEDIENT DRIVERS and they have to prove it with RICCIARDO.

If they fail (if Raikkonen is hired, or if Ricciardo is not good enough on track) so the Academy fails… Marko fails.

So there is more than the number 2 driver for 2014 in stake.


Vettel, the elite of graduates of this academy… an obedient driver in your view?

Tornillo Amarillo

Of course James, Vettel is obedient with Red Bull these years, BUT if he is the only one Champion or Star of the Academy, so…it’s not the Academy!! It’s Vettel the good one.


“I’m sure if I was in a position to win a race in the future, I’d be allowed to,” said Ricciardo


I think Vettel was obedient to begin with, but he saw Webber repeatedly ignoring team orders and getting away with it and made the rational decision that it was foolish for him to not do the same.


I’d say he was at the start. He has changed after all the exposure success has brought him. He’s not the nor will he be the last this happens to in the entertainment industry.


The difference is, Vettel beat Webber from day 1 and thus became de-facto number one. Also, let’s forget that he is a three times World Champion.


I seem to remember a few occasions when Webber made Vettel look very ordinary.

Matthew Cheshire

While we’re keeping our memories sharp, let’s remember that Vettel was the “Crash Baby” till he got his game together in 2011.

If we compare DR to your rose tinted Vettel then he’ll be labeled a failure before his second race.


Typo … ** let’s NOT forget **


“Arguably the key point here is that there is a pressing need for the Red Bull programme to deliver another contender, after the millions that have been spent on it and on Toro Rosso.”

I don’t understand this line of thinking… In order to “justify” spending millions over at the Jr. team, Red bull would jepordize their success and yet millions more by bringing in a driver who was not ready?

I doubt the higher ups are looking at this in this fashion. The programme justifies itself by giving them a chance to evaluate talent and putting them in a position where they can make an informed decions about said talent.

Adrian Newey Jnr

The millions spent on the young driver academy is peanuts compared to the budget of the RB team. RB reputedly have the highest budget in the sport. Therefore the few dollars spent on young drivers is immaterial, especially when you consider their current two drivers are paid between $15-20m collectively.


“Arguably the key point here is that there is a pressing need for the Red Bull programme to deliver another contender, after the millions that have been spent on it and on Toro Rosso.”

Well maybe they should rethink their primary objectives for Torro Rosso / young driver programme then, because that’s a pretty weak justification for promoting someone to Red Bull.

Adrian Newey Jnr

I have said it before, but I think the young driver academy is as much about keeping promising talent out of the hands of the other teams as it is about eventually promoting someone to the top team. This makes more sense when you look at the quality of their young driver line up. It is in the interests of the status quo to keep the lower team line up to pay drivers and to hoard good talent themselves. This prevents someone coming in and outperforming, thereby threatening the more established teams.


I disagree. It’s the other way around. Like SteveS says, the Red Bull driver program is fairer than any other team’s scheme, because it actually gives young drivers a genuine crack at F1. Then it’s up to them to prove themselves.

If a team wanted to keep talent from other teams, then they could do that contractually, without ever having to put them behind the wheel of an F1 car.


I wish people would stop trying to perpetrate this myth that the Red Bull driver academy is failing.

Who invented the notion that because STR has only produced one triple world champion, that the program is a failure ???

The fact is, in the ENTIRE history of the Formula One world championship, there have only been 9 drivers to have won three or more championships (and that number includes Vettel).

Statistically, STR has been a great success!!!



Maybe the next set of undergraduates will bare fruit but to me nobody after Vettel from the Toro Rosso squad has proven they should be parachuted into a top drive. Many have been good but there has been very very few standout drives with some brilliant qualification sessions. If you look at Williams, Sauber and Force India they have had quite a few great races from their drivers over the same period. Maybe i’m blind to Toro Rosso’s achievements but there is not a single race that I can remember where one of their drivers has pulled a great swash buckling drive out the bag.

Vettel did always look very good to me (I had him pegged with the much missed from F1 Kubica) but Red Bull were not a regarded as a top team when he joined and he did produce a handful of great drives even if the STR was more competitive then than it is now.

I dont see why the junior drivers programme needs to deliver anyone right now to justify it’s existence. If it delivers a Black Swan once every ten years then it is already worth it’s weight in silvery/blue/greenish yellow gold.


Over the past years we´ve seen some Toro Rosso drivers including Liuzzi, Speed, Buemi, Alguesuari.. and now Vergne and Ricciardo.

Vettel and Bourdais have been there too albeit in cars that were technically closer to Newey´s design specs with the rules regarding customer cars.

Vettel clearly stood out in a number of his races, but Ricciardo (in my opinion) isn´t rising much higher than Buemi, and certainly not Alguesuari (whom had an excellent second half of his last season in F1.. radiating more confidence each race).

It seems Ricciardo (I am happy for him) is being hired for the sake of the survival of the Red Bull YD programme.

Oh and today Vettel coming out and saying that Kimi is a non political guy and that F1 is so political… I am sure Mark can reveal a bit more about RB intra-team politics. Me thinks that Vettel is extremely concious of public opinion and knows when to say the “right things”.

Already from Ricciardo´s words it seems that he will play a nr 2 role and will be allowed to win when it all fits. Ricciaro will become another Barrichello.


“I am sure Mark can reveal a bit more about RB intra-team politics.”

I am sure that anything Mark would say on the topic would be self-serving nonsense, in much the way as his comments on team orders over the years have varied dramatically depending on whether he or Seb was ignoring them.


Great great comment.

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