Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that he is surprised by Sebastian Vettel’s decision to leave Red Bull at the end of the 2014 Formula 1 season.
In a shock announcement, Vettel confirmed this morning in Japan that he would be cutting ties with Red Bull after 15 years of association, and is set to move to Ferrari as Fernando Alonso’s replacement. Daniil Kvyat has been promoted into Vettel’s seat for 2015.
The F1 paddock has been left reeling by the news, and Ricciardo – who joined Red Bull at the beginning of 2014 after two years with Toro Rosso – admitted that he was surprised by Vettel’s decision.
“I was quite surprised by Sebastian’s news,” Ricciardo admitted. “I didn’t know before this morning. It’s two pretty big changes for the team, Sebastian leaving and Daniil coming in, but Seb’s done his work here at Red Bull and he feels it’s time to move on.
“I’m glad I got one year to race with him and see how he works, I heard a lot about his work ethic before the season and it was good to see that this year and to go against him.
“Daniil’s coming in and I expect him to be quick – I know him pretty well and it should be good fun working with him.”
Speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton after qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix today, Vettel explained that he was looking for a new challenge outside of Red Bull, and although there has been no official announcement from Ferrari, his confirmation is expected to come very shortly.
After an impressive first season with Red Bull, Ricciardo will be hoping to lead the team in the post-Vettel era and try to take it back to the very pinnacle of Formula 1 after a tame title defence in 2014.