One of the stories of the year in Formula One has been Daniel Ricciardo’s emergence at Red Bull Racing.
The Australian is the only driver outside of the Mercedes garage to win this year (three races) and with three races remaining, is the only non-Mercedes still mathematically eligible for the title even though it’s a longshot.
Ricciardo has mostly left teammate Sebastian Vettel in the shade this season, and has already played himself into a team leader role for 2015 at Red Bull with Vettel’s surprise departure announcement made on the Japanese Grand Prix weekend.
The 25-year-old Australian has Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s top motorsport consultant, in his corner backing him.
“Yes, if we did not have a ‘team leader’ then the situation would look slightly different – but we knew that Daniel would fill these shoes, so things were much easier,” Marko said in a Q&A with Formula One’s official website.
“We always knew that he can fill anybody’s shoes – and that all our drivers are always treated equally,” he added. “The only difference will be that between him and Daniil (Kvyat) next year, he has more experience.”
Marko also spoke highly of Kvyat’s maturation, growth and development in his first year at Toro Rosso. The 20-year-old Russian would not have been promoted if Marko didn’t think he was ready.
“We do have the cozy situation of having a pool of great talents we can choose from as we want. And believe me, we wouldn’t have promoted him if we didn’t believe that he can deliver!” he said.
Next up, of course, is attempting to figure out Kvyat’s replacement at Toro Rosso, with the likelihood it could be another young driver installed alongside now-17-year-old Max Verstappen.
“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.
“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”
Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something
we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”