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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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RIC to RBR is official!


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

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


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


im sure dan will do his best 🙂


Nothing like patting yourself on the back 😉



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


Pretty good and virtually nil respectively


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


A tiny little way off-track, James

Our neighbour of a certain age could not believe Dan Ricciardo is not this singing legend from 1950s liverpool:

astounding resemblance…


Could be Dan in 10-20 years…


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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



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

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

Matthew Cheshire

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

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

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

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

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

Next year’s cars will be a new game to learn. Old dog or new one?

Riccardo is a gamble for the medium term, but for next year the playing field will be leveled, experience with old cars will mean less than fast learners. And Red Bull will have confidence that Vettel will make the most of the new car anyway.

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


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


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

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

Due to the new engines, I have a feeling that what Red Bull needs for next season is somebody to be the “number 2” driver, i.e. someone to race for consistent points rather than race the car for the outright win (and risk an engine blowup).

Unlike Mark Webber who never quite got his “next year” – assuming the Vettel-Ferrari gossip is in some way true – Ricciardo could end up being the “senior” driver at Red Bull in 2015 or 2016.


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


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

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


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

– RBR are kinder on its tires than the TR

– RBR strategy department are miles ahead of STR

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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


spot on


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

John in San Diego

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


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

John in San Diego

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


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


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


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

I hope they go for Kimi.


True! I pick Hulk 🙂


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


I seriously doubt it aswell.


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

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

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