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Reports in Germany are suggesting that Red Bull will announce Daniel Ricciardo as Mark Webber’s replacement at this weekend’s Belgium GP.
The report comes from Bild Newspaper, the same newspaper that broke the news of Toto Wolff’s departure from Williams to Mercedes earlier this year.
Kimi Raikkonen was the initial favourite to replace Webber at Red Bull next season but the championship leaders are now expected to choose Ricciardo who drives for Red Bull’s junior team, Toro Rosso.
Ricciardo himself has produced some strong performance this season, especially in qualifying and finished in seventh place at the last race.
Ricciardo is also apart of the Red Bull’s Young Driver programme so the decision would also have a positive effect on that, as it would show that the programme can actually give drivers a chance to get to the very top of F1.
Sebastian Vettel also went through the same programme before joining Red Bull.
Ricciardo tested a Red Bull at last month’s Young Driver test and was only a couple of tenths slower then Vettel’s lap times.
There is no doubt that Ricciardo is a good racing driver and has a bright future ahead of him. For me though I cannot help but think this decision has been made to keep Vettel happy.
If Red Bull had signed Raikkonen or Fernando Alonso, they would both have been able to challenge Vettel’s position as number one driver within the team. Both would also have been able to produce strong challenges for the title, something that Vettel does not need within his own team.
Ricciardo is one for the future in my eyes and will not be expected to challenge Vettel for race wins.
What do you think about the possibility of Red Bull signing Ricciardo? Are they just trying to keep Vettel happy?