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Red Bull confirms Ricciardo for 2014

ESPN Staff
September 2, 2013 « Calado gets Force India Friday drives | Ricciardo most promising option - Newey »

Red Bull has confirmed the long-awaited news that Daniel Ricciardo will partner Sebastian Vettel in its driver line-up for 2014.

Ever since Mark Webber announced his planned retirement from F1 at the end of the year, speculation has been rife over who will join Vettel next season. Kimi Raikkonen was thought to be a front runner, but when negotiations broke down Ricciardo became the obvious choice.

On Monday evening the team finally announced he had joined on a multi-year deal.

"It's fantastic to confirm Daniel as the team's race driver for 2014," team principal Christian Horner said. "He's a very talented youngster, he's committed, he's got a great attitude and in the end it was a very logical choice for us to choose Daniel. He joined the Red Bull Junior Team in 2008 and we've seen in his junior career in Formula 3 and Renault World Series that he's capable of winning races and championships.

"He's stood out in each of these categories and 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. The seat within the team is a wonderful opportunity and I think he's going to be a big star of the future."

Ricciardo added: "I feel very, very good at the moment and obviously there's a lot of excitement running through me. 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. I'm ready for that. I'm not here to run around in tenth place, 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, I'm looking forward to that. My aim is to finish this season as strong as possible, for myself and Scuderia Toro Rosso. Then, once the off-season is here, I'll be fully focussed on next year and the next stage of my career."

As a Red Bull junior driver, Ricciardo is no stranger to the team and tested with it at this year's Young Driver Test at Silverstone. His position alongside Vettel should now see the rest of the driver market fall into place, with Fernando Alonso expected to stay at Ferrari and Raikkonen likely to remain at Lotus.