Date: 2nd September 2013 at 9:03pm
Written by:

Red Bull Racing have confirmed that Australian Daniel Ricciardo will be stepping up from the Toro Rosso team to replace compatriot Mark Webber.

Ever since the announcement by Webber that he would be leaving Red Bull and retiring from Formula One at the end of the season speculation has mounted over who would replace him.

The seat alongside Sebastian Vettel is one of the most sought after seats in Formula One and according to team principal Christian Horner the level of interest has been high and ‘surprising’.

2007 Formula One World Champion Kimi Raikkonen was one known driver interested in the seat and he had even been given public approval by Vettel, but talks with the team and his manager broke down several weeks ago.

Double F1 title holder Fernando Alonso was also linked with a surprise move from Ferrari, although rumoured talks were never confirmed from either party.

Speculation continued in Belgium that Ricciardo had already agreed terms, with the BBC’s Eddie Jordan categorically stating that a deal had already been done and that it would be announced before the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.

Just like the deal that saw Lewis Hamilton move from McLaren to Mercedes, Jordan has once again been proved correct.

The 24-year-old will make the move at the end of the season and becomes the second driver, after Vettel, to make the step up through the Red Bull development programme through sister team Toro Rosso and into Red Bull Racing.

‘I feel very, very good at the moment and obviously there’s a lot of excitement running through me, since joining F1 in 2011 I hoped this would happen and, over time, the belief in me has grown. I had some good results and Red Bull has decided that this is it, so it’s a good time. Ricciardo told the media following Red Bull’s announcement.

‘Next year I’ll be with a Championship-winning team, arguably the best team, and will be expected to deliver. I’m ready for that.

‘I’m not here to run around in tenth place, I want to get the best results for myself and the team. I would like to thank the team for giving me the opportunity to show what I can do.

‘I know the team quite well already since being its reserve driver in 2010, which should make the transition easier. It will be a great challenge to be up against Sebastian Vettel, I’m looking forward to that.’