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Two-horse race for Red Bull seat

ESPN Staff
July 17, 2013 « Lotus drops Raikkonen from test schedule | More value running young drivers - Di Resta »
Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen are now the only two drivers in the frame to replace Mark Webber © Sutton Images

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says it is "essentially" a two-horse race between Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo to replace Mark Webber.

Following Webber's decision to retire at the end of the season, Horner said at the British Grand Prix the shortlist to join Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull in 2014 consisted of Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne. However, with Red Bull deciding to test Ricciardo at Silverstone this week, when asked if that meant it was a straight choice between two drivers and that Vergne is out of the running Horner replied: "Essentially, probably.

"Obviously there's a great deal of interest in the seat but we will be looking to make some decisions later in the summer," he told Sky Sports News. "It's an opportunity here for us to have a look at Daniel, for him to do some of the tyre testing work for us in an RBR car and it's a great opportunity for him.

"I don't think [he's shown potential] just since Mark's announcement, but of course you've got to look at what these guys have at their disposal. For sure both Jean-Eric and Daniel are very quick drivers and we've got an opportunity to have a closer look at Daniel which is why we've chosen to exercise that and then get him in the car tomorrow."

Despite ruling out Vergne, Horner would not be drawn on whether Ricciardo was Red Bull's back-up plan if it failed to sign Raikkonen.

"The situation between the drivers is obviously going to be confidential between the team and those drivers. Kimi's track record speaks for itself; he's a championship contender as we speak. He pushed Sebastian very hard at the last grand prix and we're in a fortunate position where not only are we attracting fantastic drivers like Kimi, we've also got the opportunity to look at the youngsters we've been nurturing in the likes of Daniel."