Ricciardo relieved to be free of speculation

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Daniel Ricciardo has spoken to the world’s media for the first time since being confirmed as a Red Bull driver for 2014 today ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, admitting that it is a relief for his future to be secure.

After compatriot Mark Webber confirmed at Silverstone that he would be retiring from Formula One at the end of the season, Ricciardo was shortlisted alongside Kimi Raikkonen and Jean-Eric Vergne for the seat. However, as the ‘last man standing’, Ricciardo was eventually confirmed as Sebastian Vettel’s teammate for 2014 on Monday, and the Australian is glad that the speculation has now died down.

“I think it’s a bit of a relief now that there’s no more speculation and no more dodging questions and all the rest of it,” Ricciardo explained. “Everyone knows what’s happening, including me. It’s nice. It’s something to look forward to and obviously I’m very pleased with the news but I have eight more races this year and looking forward to giving Toro Rosso a nice farewell I hope and I’ll put all my energy into that.”

In Belgium two weeks ago, Ricciardo had been bombarded with questions about his future and remained insistent that nothing had been secured. Today in Italy, he confirmed that he only received confirmation last Wednesday, five days ahead of the global announcement.

“To be honest, in Spa, as I said, I still didn’t know – that was the truth. I found out, I think it was Wednesday that following week, so a few days before the announcement took place.”

Ricciardo will be hoping to prove that he is worthy of the seat by putting in some strong displays during his final eight races with Toro Rosso this season.

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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