Promoting junior driver is “perfect” for Red Bull

2013 Italian Grand Prix

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Monza, 2013Mark Webber says Red Bull’s junior driver programme has come to fruition as both their race drivers for 2014 have graduated from it.

He added he was pleased to see a Daniel Ricciardo his footsteps at the team: “It’s very rare that we have any Australians in Formula One,” said Webber in today’s Italian Grand Prix press conference.

“But to have us, I suppose, handing the baton over, in a very successful team, is great for Dan.”

“Obviously he thoroughly deserves it,” Webber added, “the junior categories for him in Europe initially is a great test, not easy for us to come from that part of the world which he’s done brilliantly with.”

“And it’s a perfect scenario as well. I think for the team it all fits very well. After [David Coulthard] and myself they’ve finally got another junior driver from the Red Bull programme which is what it’s all about.

“That fits in very well. Perfect age, and it’s all in his corner so he can do a tremendous job.”

Ricciardo, who only found out he had the drive on the Wednesday after the Belgian Grand Prix, said it was a “relief” the decision had been made.

“Now there’s no more speculation and dodging questions and all the rest of it,” said Ricciardo. “Everyone knows now what’s happening, including me, so it’s nice.”

Asked how Ricciardo will cope with the pressure of partnering world champion Sebastian Vettel, with whom Webber has had a tense relationship, Webber said: “Daniel will handle it fine. He knows how to handle himself so he’ll be OK.”

“I think that’s for me to figure out,” said Ricciardo. “As Mark said, I’ll be right.”

2013 Italian Grand Prix

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9 comments on Promoting junior driver is “perfect” for Red Bull

  1. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 5th September 2013, 15:22

    I wonder who he would have reacted had they gone with Vergne instead of fellow Aussie Ricciardo…

    Guess we’ll never know.

  2. JCost (@jcost) said on 5th September 2013, 15:42

    Webber is right and once his MW Arden GP3 team is part of the programme, this decision suits perfectly with his interests.

    • Mitch Evans is Mark Webber’s next interest in F1.

      The kiwi is a great driver: showed flashes of brilliance last year in GP3 coupled with uncontrolled pressure at the end of the season, but this year he’s just impressive in GP2, Evans perfectly made the gap and even scored podiums.

      I hope some other rising stars like Da Costa, Nasr, Magnussen, Vandoorne, Sainz Jr… will graduate the top spot in the near future, we deserve to see them in F1.

      Sirotkin is just OK, he’s only been spectacular for one race in Austria in FR 3.5 this year,.

      I’ll wait and see, but only Räikkönen has done a Räikkönen (few single-seater experience to F1 world champion).

  3. kevpmc said on 5th September 2013, 17:53

    Next year will be a very decisive year for this idea of a Red Bull “junior program”. When Vettel was promoted, RBR was still a mid-field team. Now they are the reigning triple world champions. That changes things…and will place greater expectations on Ricciardo. Plus, Vettel is clearly a stand out…quite possibly a once-in-a-generation talent…which set the bar very high for the junior program. Ricciardo will have a tough time living up to that. If all else were equal, I’m not sure the driver combo of Vettel/Ricciardo is as strong as say…Hamilton/Rosberg. If Ricciardo doesn’t perform well and jeopardizes the WCC, will RBR let him go? That would not lend much credibility to this idea of the junior program promoting to RBR. I wonder what kind of performance-based clauses are in Ricciardo’s contract?

  4. No confest said on 5th September 2013, 19:53

    This appointment is perfect for Red Bull if they want to seem like the most unsporting team in F1. They had a chance to make everyone’s life interesting next year, instead they took the safe option. I hope they’ll suffer the consequences.
    Good for Dan to finally get the contract published and some support from someone, anyone. I’m sure most fans will be disappointed unless he will be able to perform miracles.

    • uan (@uan) said on 6th September 2013, 2:09

      You mean unsporting like Ferrari keeping Massa or McLaren going for Perez over Hulkenberg or DiResta? Personally I would have loved to have seen Vettel v Raikkonen, but promoting one of their junior team drivers is good. Give him 2 years to see what he can do results-wise. If not, bring another one up.

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