Horner: Ricciardo to slot into Red Bull setup easily

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Christian Horner is confident that Daniel Ricciardo will slot into the Red Bull setup with great ease when he eventually joins the team at the end of this season.

Following Mark Webber’s decision to retire, the team has opted to hire his compatriot – Ricciardo – to partner three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel. Although most drivers do take a few races to settle in with a new team, Horner is confident that Ricciardo will not need this ‘honeymoon period’ thanks to his work at Toro Rosso (Red Bull’s sister team).

“He knows how we operate and what is expected from a grand prix driver at Red Bull Racing,” Horner explained to the official Formula One website. “He will not need a ‘honeymoon period’ to get to know each other. He knows us intimately – and that will make a huge difference. At least that is what we – and he – expect.”

Horner also insisted that Ricciardo would be treated equally alongside Vettel, despite the dispute over team orders breaking out at the Malaysian Grand Prix this year where the team appeared to favor the German driver over Mark Webber.

“Our job is to give him the opportunity and platform to demonstrate that,” Horner said. “He will have the same opportunity as Sebastian. We are delighted over our 2014 driver line-up, as we think it is the best that we could think of.”

Ricciardo will be keen on impressing during his final few races for Toro Rosso before leaving the Italian team at the end of the season.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.