If Mark Webber does in fact go to Porsche’s new LMP1 program for 2014 as is rumored, there’s several domino effects from a Formula One standpoint.
The obvious is the situation at Red Bull. My colleague Luke Smith penned a piece a little while back on potential replacements, and certainly Daniel Ricciardo did himself no harm this weekend with his best career weekend of qualifying and finishing seventh in the Scuderia Toro Rosso in China.
Red Bull has to wonder whether either of its Toro Rosso prospects, Ricciardo or Jean-Eric Vergne, is worthy of the jump to the main team, but this is as good a time as any for it to happen. This is Toro Rosso’s eighth season since Red Bull bought Minardi at the end of the 2005 championship, and only Sebastian Vettel has made the jump from an STR to a Red Bull race seat. Vitantonio Liuzzi went the other way from 2005 to 2006, when he made a handful of starts in Red Bull’s first season, and then raced two full years at STR.
Red Bull’s top junior prospect, and its reserve driver in China this past weekend, Antonio Felix da Costa, is also a contender. That could happen more realistically if da Costa makes his Grand Prix debut later this year. Red Bull, you’d think, would want to see da Costa in a partial season race situation – a la Ricciardo at HRT in 2011 – before making a decision on where to place him in 2014.
Webber would join a list of ex-F1 drivers now racing in the WEC. Just this weekend at Silverstone, the list included Allan McNish, Alex Wurz, Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi, Stephane Sarrazin, Nick Heidfeld, Antonio Pizzonia, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Gianmaria Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella, Kamui Kobayashi, Pedro Lamy and Bruno Senna. McNish (LMP1), Pizzonia (LMP2) and Senna (GTE Pro) all won their respective classes.