Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said that the race to replace Mark Webber at the team next season is between Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo, ending Jean-Eric Vergne’s hopes of joining the team in 2014.
Horner had publicly confirmed that the three drivers made up Red Bull’s shortlist, with the Toro Rosso pair under consideration as the team is seen as a ‘feeder’ to Red Bull. However, it would appear that Vergne is not set to follow the example of Sebastian Vettel and make the jump next season.
When asked by Sky Sports if Red Bull were choosing between Raikkonen and Ricciardo, Horner said: “Essentially, probably.”
Horner also explained how today’s test at Silverstone was the perfect chance for Red Bull to see how Ricciardo ran in their own machinery.
“Obviously there is a great deal of interest in the seat, but it’s an opportunity to have a look at Daniel and for him to do some of our tire testing work in our RBR car. It’s a great opportunity for him.”
Ricciardo finished 3rd for Red Bull at Silverstone today, just a few tenths off his own best time for Toro Rosso, but he may have caused many to question his place at the team after a mistake caused him to stop in the gravel just seven laps into his first run.
Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost hopes to see sacked driver Daniil Kvyat return to Formula 1 in the near future, saying the Russian “deserves” a place on the grid.
Toro Rosso dropped Kvyat twice through the 2017 season due to poor form, with his final dismissal coming after the United States Grand Prix in October.
Kvyat is no longer part of Red Bull’s motorsport program and is exploring options both inside and outside of F1 for 2018, and Tost feels he could be energized by some time away before returning.
“I am still convinced that Daniil has a very high natural speed. He was sometimes even faster than Daniel Riccardo, but somehow last year and this year he couldn’t show the potential that is within him,” Tost told the official F1 website.
“He was involved in many incidents, but in his defence I also have to say that he had many reliability issues and that didn’t help build up confidence. Being the victim of too many incidents killed the performance he would have been able to show.
“Maybe a short break – to get organized again – and probably we will see Daniil back at his usual performance level with another team.
“Sometimes he was too aggressive at the beginning of the race. The first corner was his weak point. He wanted too much in the first hundred meters – success by any means!
“That puts you under pressure – unnecessary pressure – and that never works.
“I hope for him that he gets another chance, as I think he deserves to be in F1.”