The statement that all of Australia has been waiting for has been made by Infiniti Red Bull Racing: “We confirm that Daniel Ricciardo will drive for the Team in 2014.”
After much speculation, rumour and a Mark Webber tip-off, the energy drink company’s Formula One team has made its official decision to employ West Australian Daniel Ricciardo for the 2014 F1 season.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says 24-year-old Ricciardo is a very talented youngster who’s committed and has a great attitude.
“In the end it was a very logical choice for us to choose Daniel,” Horner said.
“We’ve followed his progress with great interest. He’s got all the attributes that are required to drive for our team: he’s got a great natural ability, he’s a good personality and a great guy to work with.
“Daniel knows what the team expects from him; he’ll learn quickly and it’s very much a medium- to long-term view that we’re taking in developing him.”
Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey added, “I think it’s good to bring young blood in and give promising drivers a chance.”
Ricciardo came up through the ranks of Formula Renault and British Formula 3 prior to securing his first full-time F1 drive with the Hispania Racing Team in 2011 before moving to Red Bull’s sister team, Scuderia Toro Rosso, in 2012.
“I feel very, very good at the moment and obviously there’s a lot of excitement running through me,” Ricciardo said.
“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.”
Though the young Australian thanked the team for giving him the opportunity to “show what I can do”, he also shared that he is looking forward to the challenge of going up against three-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel.
If all the rumours are true, Ricciardo pipped the likes of Toro Rosso teammate Jean-Eric Vergne (pictured above), Lotus driver and 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen and even two-time World Champion, Ferrari‘s Fernando Alonso, in being Mark Webber’s replacement at the team.
The 2013 F1 season still has eight rounds to go, with the next race too take place at Monza in Italy on September 8. Vettel currently leads the championship ahead of Alonso and Mercedes‘ Lewis Hamilton.