|Triple Formula One Champions Red Bull Racing (RBR) have announced a replacement driver for the departing Mark Webber. Current Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo is the affirmed candidate to partner Reigning F1 Champion Sebastien Vettel in the 2014 Formula One World Championships season.|
RBR confirms that Ricciardo will drive for the team next season, as part of a multi-year agreement between the two. As Vettel is already confirmed for next year, this concludes RBR’s 2014 driver line-up.
Daniel Ricciardo’s initial switch from Formula Renault 3.5 to Formula 1
Ricciardo, an Australian like Webber, has been a consistent driver at Toro Rosso for the past couple of years. Having made the jump from Formula Renault 3.5 Series to Formula 1, Ricciardo first debut in an RBR F1 car at the 2009’s young drivers camp in Jerez. A year later, the Australian became the sole young drivers’ tester for RBR. In 2011, Ricciardo became the test and reserve driver for Toro Rosso, and drove an STR in the pre-season testing. Soon, the now defunct HRT team came calling and Ricciardo was picked to replace Narain Karthikeyan for the remainder of the 2011 season. It was only the following year that Ricciardo actually had the opportunity to make a full season debut.
For the 2012 season, Ricciardo was given the first driver role at Toro Rosso on his full season debut. He partnered Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne and made a surprising breakthrough for the team that season in an under-powered STR-Ferrari machine. He scored ten points in 20 races and ranked 18th for the season; somewhat of a miracle considering Toro Rosso’s status on the grid.
Ricciardo betters last season’s points tally for Toro Rosso in 2013
This season, he has already surpassed his points total from last season with 12 points garnered after 11 GPs for 14th place in the drivers’ standings. RBR, of course, have kept a close watch on Ricciardo during the season and thus made the decision to sign him up for next season’s campaign. “Since joining F1 in 2011, I hoped this would happen and over time the belief in me has grown; I had some good results and Red Bull has decided that this is it, so it’s a good time. Next year I’ll be with a Championship-winning team, arguably the best team, and will be expected to deliver,” an elated Ricciardo said. “I want to get the best results for myself and the team. I would like to thank the team for giving me the opportunity to show what I can do. I know the team quite well already since being its reserve driver in 2010, which should make the transition easier. It will be a great challenge to be up against Sebastian Vettel.”