Mark Webber has revealed that the decision has already been taken to replace him at Red Bull Racing with Daniel Ricciardo.
Speaking to James Allen in the build up to Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix on Australian Network 10, 10 Webber said,
“The decision is made. We all know who it is. I’m happy with that decision. It’s good for him and it’s good for Australia.”
Ricciardo for his part appears not to be aware of progress and is waiting for Red Bull to tell him whether he has the seat and present him with a contract. He is already contracted to Red Bull as a Toro Rosso driver, so the contractual process would not be lengthy.
Ricciardo insists that he has not yet signed a contract and is not allowing himself to dream about his next step as a Red Bull Racing driver,
“Honestly mate, not yet. Until it’s a done deal and I’ve been given the nod and it’s all settled I’m not going to get excited,” he said on Saturday evening. “Who knows? Kimi could well still be in contention along with a few other guys. If it gets done then I’ll get excited for a little bit but then I’ll have a pretty big task ahead for the following season.”
After the race Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner said, “There’s plenty of speculation about, but nothing has been signed yet. Mark obviously isn’t privy to all the discussions with drivers. When there’s something to announce, we’ll announce it.
“Both Toro Rosso drivers are on Red Bull Racing contracts,” he added. “They are on loan to Toro Rosso. So at any point they are available for us to call upon.”
The weekend has seen lots of behind the scenes discussions between drivers, agents and teams and the situation appears to be clarifying a little; with Ricciardo set for the Red Bull drive, it appears that Antonio Felix da Costa is in pole position to replace him at Toro Rosso.
Kimi Raikkonen is said to be “close” to finalising his plans, pending resolution of financial discussions with Lotus. Team boss Eric Boullier told this site on Saturday that he’s putting finishing touches to next year; the new engine deal with Renault, the investment package from Infinity and the Raikkonen contract. It’s still possible that something could happen with Ferrari, but it is starting to look as though they may again stick with Felipe Massa.
This leaves Nico Hulkenberg again waiting on the sidelines, hoping something might fall into place.