Who will replace Webber at Red Bull in 2014?

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Mark Webber has confirmed he will not race for Red Bull in 2014, leaving a vacancy at one of F1’s top teams.

Red Bull have won the constructors’ championship for the last three years in a row, have the full backing of Renault and the design genius of Adrian Newey. A seat in an RB10 will be coveted by almost every driver on the grid.

But it comes with a string attached – and it’s a big one. It means going up against Sebastian Vettel, winner of the last three drivers’ championships. Aside from being brutally fast Vettel wields considerable political clout within Red Bull and is strongly backed by motorsport director Helmut Marko.

Who has the combination of speed and mental toughness to take Webber’s place? Here’s a shortlist of possible candidates.

Kimi Raikkonen

Only yesterday Christian Horner admitted the 2007 world champion was a potential candidate for the seat. Raikkonen’s two-year Lotus deal expires at the end of this season.

Although Raikkonen has enjoyed success with Lotus, winning two races, he may have grown frustrated at their shortcomings. His own race engineer admitted after the Canadian Grand Prix they had let him down with a series of car problems plus a blunder in the pits.

Red Bull offer greater financial security than Lotus and potentially a better deal for him. He has a good relationship with Vettel. But would this notoriously publicity-averse driver be willing to tolerate an increase in PR and media work that is likely to come with being aligned to Infiniti?

Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull’s much-vaunted young driver development programme exists to supply new talent to the top team. Red Bull go to the unprecedented lengths of having a second team in F1 serving this purpose. If the programme cannot rise to the occasion it will be seen to have failed.

So there may be internal pressure within Red Bull to promote one of the two Toro Rosso pilots. Daniel Ricciardo began this season with the upper hand over team mate Jean-Eric Vergne.

Jean-Eric Vergne

It turns out Vergne’s career-best sixth place in Canada last week could not have been more timely. It moved him ahead of Ricciardo in the points standings. If he can build on that momentum, perhaps he could do enough to secure promotion to the top team.

Nico Hulkenberg

Showed potential with both Williams and Force India before this year’s ill-timed switch to Sauber. As well as him being quick, signing Hulkenberg may have the added appeal to Red Bull of disrupting Ferrari’s future plans as he is believed to be on their radar.

Paul di Resta

A former team mate of Vettel’s who beat him to the 2006 F3 Euroseries crown. Di Resta has proven himself to be a solid midfield runner for Force India and the team recently said they would let him go if a top outfit wanted to sign him.

Valtteri Bottas

He’s just seven races into his F1 career but has arguably shown more potential than Ricciardo or Vergne with a remarkable third on the grid in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Antonio Felix da Costa

Six months ago the idea that Red Bull’s development driver Antonio Felix da Costa could ‘do a Hamilton’ and vault straight into a top team might not have seemed so far-fetched. He set the Formula Renault 3.5 scene on fire after his mid-season promotion, winning a string of races.

But his first full season in the championship hasn’t gone to plan so far. He’s won just once and lies third in the championship due to a combination of unreliability and driver error. It’s a situation reminiscent of that experienced by one of his predecessors on the young driver programme: Sebastian Vettel.

Da Costa is more likely to be next in line for a Toro Rosso seat should one of their regulars get Webber’s place.

Over to you

Who do you think will join Vettel at Red Bull next year? Have your say in the comments.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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162 comments on “Who will replace Webber at Red Bull in 2014?”

  1. Terry Saunders (@)
    27th June 2013, 11:33

    I’d put in a strong word for Grumpy Paul Di Resta. He has shone this year on occasion and clearly is chomping at the bit to get in a top team after missing out this year. And he’s less of a star than Kimi which would prob make Seb feel less threatened.

    1. Traverse (@)
      27th June 2013, 11:54

      prob make Seb feel less threatened.

      The Vet is incapable of feeling fear! Only us mere mortals suffer the debilitants’. ;)

    2. But then every time Vettel beats him we’d have to put with Paul whinging about how he beat Vettel.. in F3.. 7 years ago..

      1. That will made from fairly boring PR…

    3. BradandCoffee
      27th June 2013, 12:55

      But if you look at the 2nd half of last year, Hulk wiped the floor with him pretty well in the same machinery.

      In the 2nd half of last season Hulk scored 44 points to DiResta’s 19.

    4. To be honest, I very much doubt any of the top team will touch Paul Di Resta.

      I’m not suggesting he’s a bad driver, but he has a horrible attitude and has been very outspoken about how he perceives his current team constantly letting him down.

      Whether this is true or not, he lacks media training and charisma and, although that doesn’t necessarily affect his driving abilities, it does impact on sponsorship.

      1. he lacks media training and charisma

        @mclarengal – I doubt he lacks “media training” but I agree he absolutely is w/o charisma!

  2. Paul Di Resta deserves the shot.
    I am a huge Kimi fan (and I think he would be attracted to Red Bull as he has a relationship with them already, and the money will be much better) but I think we’ll see better racing from him at Lotus tbh. So I’d rather he stayed there.

    1. @scratt

      Paul Di Resta deserves the shot.


      All he’s done is be beaten by his team-mates, believed his own hype and made excuses for his under-performance that avoid criticising the team so that he can keep his options open for when the top drive that he feels he is entitled to come along.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys
        Here’s an alternative interpretation…. di Resta is someone who consistently races at an extremely high level.

        In 2011 he had the most impressive debut season since Hamilton in ’07: scoring in his first two races, immediately matching his experienced teammate’s pace, completing more laps over the season than any other competitor… and all of that coming straight out of touring cars!

        And in 2012 for 14 rounds he quite comprehensively outpaced F1’s other great talent Hulkenberg. The last six races were a dip, but there were stated reasons for that, and now in 2013 he’s going from stride-to-stride again.

        Also look at where Force India have come in di Resta’s time there. Surely as primary development driver di Resta deserves credit for this success? By contrast just look at the how those teams who, in recent years, employed drivers based on the size of the cheque-book more than the size of their talent are now doing (Williams, Sauber…).

        I don’t think di Resta will get this seat, but if he did he would absolutely deserve it.

        1. @mhop

          Di Resta 2011 the most impressive debut season since Hamilton? Vettel in 07/08 pulled much more unexpected performance out of his car. Even Glock I’d say, in 2008 was more impressive than PdR, up against Trulli.

      2. @prisoner-monkeys He beat Vettel in F3 though. I want Hulk there, I think the fact he is German and young shouldn’t deter Red Bull for giving him proper support.

        1. @peartree – Yeah, seven years ago. In a spec series that is massively underpowered compared to Formula 1.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys I’m not resting my case in just on factor, besides Di Resta is outpacing Sutil as he should do. Hamilton also beat Vettel, so are you going to say that Hamilton is rubbish as Di Resta is. Di Resta may have a bad temper I’m not going to contest that, but I was just stating some facts to prove that Di Resta is no Pedro Diniz. From a marketing perspective it would be nice as well to have a British driver again on Red Bull

          2. @peartree

            I’m not resting my case in just on factor, besides Di Resta is outpacing Sutil as he should do.

            He might be beating Sutil now, but he was beaten by Sutil in 2011 and Hulkenberg in 2012.

            Di Resta may have a bad temper I’m not going to contest that, but I was just stating some facts to prove that Di Resta is no Pedro Diniz.

            Di Resta’s problem isn’t that he has a bad temper, it’s that he refuses to do anything that he thinks might ruin his chances with a bigger and better team. He never criticises anyone in the team, and always goes out of his way to explain why his poor performances are bad luck. He always seem to have conditions turn bad on him at the worst possible moment, or run into traffic, or have his tyres go off. Di Resta never says or does anything that he thinks could lower his standing in the eyes of a future employer. Can you see him driving this year’s McLaren? He’d insist nothing was wrong.

            From a marketing perspective it would be nice as well to have a British driver again on Red Bull

            For the British market, maybe. But Red Bull are at the point of what we call brand saturation: it doesn’t matter what they do, they cannot get any more marketing exposure. They’re already a household name, and since they’re at the front end of the grid, they’re not going to pick up more coverage during the races (just look at how much more coverage Marussia have compared to previous years now that they have a British driver – the effect is negligible). So they’ll make a decision based on what is best for them, rather than based on marketing opportunities.

          3. @prisoner-monkeys I don’t want elongate this thread much further but I had to mention that Di Resta is know for his harsh comments about F1, especially just after he gets out of the car. I just wanted you to read this this this and this. However I agree when you say that marketing wise there not enough interest to put Di Resta in a Red Bull but there is no harm either.

    2. Why Paul Di Resta???

      He isn’t better than Sutil or the Hulk. He’s probably at par with Ricciardo and JEV, but that isn;t saying much.

      We are talking about the top seat in the sport right now.. and Paul just doesn’t cut it. Kimi seems like the most obvious choice, followed by the Hulk and maybe Bianchi

      1. I disagree; I think Jev and Ricciardo are far better than Di Resta and Jev deserves the seat.

    3. I can’t stand PDR’s self entitled arrogant attitude, which team wants that?

  3. If they don’t go with one of the STR drivers then whats the point of STR?

    1. It is a sort of very expensive “testing” team. The two Torro Rosso drivers are test divers. All the data is sent to the Red Bull team.

      1. @rojov123 I disagree entirely: Toro Rosso’s data will be almost completely useless for the senior team because they have completely different chassis. Trying to factor out the differences in the cars (not to mention the fact the RB9 has vastly more downforce) would just be needlessly complicated and not worth the effort. Besides, Toro Rosso evidently have an inferior car and so the data would also be inferior!

      2. Toro Rosso haven’t been sharing data with Red Bull for 2 or 3 years now, they are their own entity. They obviously receive sponsorship and drivers from Red Bull, but the technical and systems performance management side of things (at the track) are completely separate.

    2. I would go for Daniel Ricciardo for a number of reasons.

      * His 1 lap pace for qualifying, in the dry weather, is consistently better than JEV, and let’s face it… Formula 1 is a summer sport.
      * There race day performances are too tight to call (perhaps JEV shades him)
      and… for me, the most important factor is image
      * Daniel Ricciardo is very approachable, affable, media savvy and a perfect fit for a energetic Red Bull brand. JEV comes across as broody and unapproachable and well we all know about Kimi.

      1. I totally agree! Although I think JEV is making considerable improvements in his racing, but he isn’t the PR dream that DR is and, sadly, that DOES matter!

    3. I don’t see why bypassing the Toro Rosso drivers means the program would have “failed.” This isn’t football or basketball with big teams – there are only two seats at Red Bull. The program has already succeeded beyond expectations by putting Toro Rosso driver Sebastian Vettel in one of those seats and delivering three world championships. Why would you expect more than this in a span of just 5 or 6 years? Plus, putting one of the current STR drivers in the Red Bull over Raikkonen is saying that one of those guys is better than Kimi. I’m not sure that it’s true, and I think you have to take Kimi if you can get him even if it means your Toro Rosso drivers aren’t really progressing with their careers, otherwise you are turning Red Bull into another driver development program…

      And as for him being grumpy about sponsor commitments, I think any driver in the world would learn how to deal with it when they are in contention for Formula 1 victory every weekend!

  4. It’s got to be one of the Toro Rosso guys. Otherwise the whole programme makes no sense at all. As long as Vettel’s there, they’d want a clear number two, and that’s probably what they’d get in JEV or Riciarrdo.

    As for Kimi? I don’t see it happening. Kimi’s had enough of politics at McLaren and Ferrari. That’s why he left in 2009 and why he likes driving for Lotus so much. I don’t see why he’d leave to go to Red Bull to be alongside Vettel when Lotus aren’t doing badly at all.

    1. I agree. But Kimi likes money. ;)

      1. Not as much as freedom and doing what he wants; he has enough money to do that already.

      2. Kimi may like the money, but Red Bull does not pay top dollar to drivers,, they put more into the team and car as a whole.
        So if he wants money, go knock on Ferrari’s door.

    2. BradandCoffee
      27th June 2013, 12:59

      The programme has already justified itself by producing Vettel. I don’t think they need to force one of their drivers in at this point while Vettel is still walking proof of the programme’s success.

      1. Just because it justified itself with Vettel, it would be a huge financial drain to keep it if it doesn’t produce a second driver.

    3. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      27th June 2013, 16:29

      I don’t see why he’d leave to go to Red Bull.

      To have a shot for the WDC (if RB hires him, forget about team orders)

    4. As for Kimi? I don’t see it happening. Kimi’s had enough of politics at McLaren and Ferrari. That’s why he left in 2009 and why he likes driving for Lotus so much. I don’t see why he’d leave to go to Red Bull to be alongside Vettel when Lotus aren’t doing badly at all.

      I agree.

    5. That’s what logic dictates. But I am not really sure about that @magnificent-geoffrey. I think Red Bull will try and get Kimi, although I am not completely sure Kimi will like it, as he seems to having a good time at LotusF1 (and them getting Brunei &Co. on board surely strengthens their financial position).

      I like the Idea of getting Hulkenberg. He has shown he is fast, he seems to be good at technical feedback, and he could have enough talent to keep the team with a stable line-up over several years, when Vettel inevitably looks on to new challenges

      1. I forgot to add, that I think they could be going for Pastor Maldonado in the second car. He’s a proven race winner, and has ample pace, as well as offering the potential of getting Red Bull on the market in South America!

        What do you think of that one?

        1. Never in a million years.

        2. Shirley, you can’t be serious? (Stop calling me Shirley)
          Maldonado? :D
          RBR may have a lot of money to burn, but probably can’t afford to make that much extra carbon fibre per year! You might as well have said Grosjean!

  5. I think Kimi is unlikely to go to Red Bull. He seems to be happy where he’s at as far as the team goes and with a recent investment, they might convince him to stay. The PR, but also the politics of Marko and co. could prove to be off-putting for Kimi.

    I’d consider Hulkenberg to be a more likely candidate if he wasn’t German. Next to my gut feeling, I also suspect Nico perhaps isn’t experienced enough. Experience is also a major factor why I don’t see Bottas joining. Da Costa and Red Bull will want to avoid doing a Hamilton; it had a negative impact on him as a person to start off in a winning car.

    Di Resta simply hasn’t shown enough fireworks to be likely to go to Red Bull. Not due to being Scottish, but he reminds me of DC; talented, but not so much he can challenge the top on merit alone.

    It’s between the Toro Rosso boys in my eyes and to be frank, I don’t see a decision any time soon.

    1. Di Resta simply hasn’t shown enough fireworks to be likely to go to Red Bull.

      Maybe he can take the Red Bull team and go to New York on the 4th of July weekend to show them some fireworks! Its really awesome!

    2. Hulkenburg has just as much experience in F1 as PDR and technically, more experience than Riccardo and JEV.

    3. now.
      Lotus is definitely improving….But Red bull is at the top.
      lotus budget limited……Red bull infinite budget.
      Lotus did bring him back at F1…..Red bull backed him up since leaving ferrari. (Rally time)
      Lotus gives more freedom……..Red bull limited freedom MORE MoNey.


      So the choice….Thankfully I wouldn’t be the one making.

    4. Nobody else would fit better into the sales promotion policy of Red Bull than Kimi :)
      Renault is probably the team most experienced with Turbo-engines, but thats no advantage since Renault offers the same material to RB.
      We could all look forward to see the first driver since Vettels appearance in F1 to show him the way.
      It looks bad for Lotus to keep Kimi, I hate to see him go.

  6. I believe that Raikkonen is a serious candidate. I think that his dislike for PR stuff often gets exaggerated (partly by himself) and also that his attitude has changed after the sabbatical. Even before that, he spent 8 years with teams that he theoretically should hate, according to his image. I’m not saying that Red Bull’s PR events are going to make Raikkonen happy but he certainly wants to be in a car that’s capable of winning championships and I don’t think Lotus will ever be able to give him one, mainly because of the lack of money and also the recent loss of James Allison.

    1. I agree. Initially I was very sceptical of the Raikkonen to RBR stories for precisely that reason, but the one thing Raikkonen has consistently said above everything else in interviews is that he wants the best possible car. Red Bull are more likely to give him that; the engine regulations may be changing next season but the aerodynamics aren’t greatly, and Lotus and Red Bull will be using the same engine anyway so it’s not like choosing between Mercedes/Ferrari powered cars and the Renault engine.

      James Allison going and the impact it has on Lotus’ fortunes over the rest of the season will surely have the biggest bearing on Raikkonen’s decision. If results continue to tail away I can definitely see Raikkonen taking a chance on moving to Red Bull., even though he will lose number one status. He will probably have the time to wait and see as well as I can only see Red Bull delaying the decision as long as possible to see who seems the better bet out of Ricciardo or Vergne.

    2. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
      27th June 2013, 13:49

      I’ll save my assessment until next few race, see if Lotus can be bounce back. Remember they just got new lucrative investor. They won’t let driver of that calibre just go to the rival. But Kimi has given impression that he want to win championship again.
      If Lotus form were not going to improve, Kimi would move. Adrian Newey should design another mega car to pay his unreliable design at McLaren that Kimi drove.

  7. I think that Red Bull should make a “shootout” between the Toro Rosso drivers (Vergne & Ricciardo) plus one of the kids on the program, like Antonio Felix da Costa. At least they should have a chance for the place, rather than Kimi and others.

    1. Vandoorne is kicking Da Costa’s **** all the way down to Portugal, I’m not sure he’s as good as you all might think…

    2. Frankly da Costa disappoints in Formula 3.5 this year. Imo, he should still be given a seat at TR but he hasn’t shown enough to fast track him into a RB.
      Dani and JEV are obvious choices but I wouldn’t discount Buemi completely.

    1. @dmp Kubica himself has said he can’t get enough movement in an F1 car cockpit given the damage to his arm. Would love to see him back in F1 but for now it seems unlikely.

    2. I agree with Keith. Kubica still seems to be very quick in WRC-2 and I think eventually a team will give him the opportunity of an F1 drive again. I did predict he’d drive for Lotus next year, some time back, but maybe either 2015 or 16 seems most likely.

  8. Honestly, I think Red Bull are their own worst enemy and will only get a driver who has no choice. They might be able to produce race-winning cars, but between the way they have structured their team around Vettel and the constant vitirol that Webber has been subjected from Helmut Marko to would probably make that seat the most undesirable on the grid. Only a masochist would willingly sign themseves up to that.

    1. @prisoner-monkeys
      You could say the same about Ferrari during Schumacher or Alonso era, but then again we have had Irvine, Barrichello and Massa driving for them for years.

      Every driver wants a car that they can win with. I believe almost every driver bar Alonso, Hamilton and Rosberg would gladly join RBR. Only those drivers have a good position in a team that is most likely going to be fighting for victories next year.

      I bet even Webber is happy for driving Red Bull all these year rather than, for instance, Williams.

      1. I wonder how things would have shaken out if Webber had decided to retire last year. I’d bet Hamilton would have taken less money to land Webber’s seat. The idea of Vettel and Hamilton using the same equipment is way too exciting to fathom. Sadly, that will never happen.

    2. I dont think you may have grasped how desperate some are to win @prisoner-monkeys. Red Bull will let their own drivers (as in the Toro Rosso driver who is likely to graduate) fight it out I’m pretty sure as that boosts the brand and besides, they are no Ferrari when it comes to team structures!

    3. between the way they have structured their team around Vettel and the constant vitirol that Webber has been subjected

      Strange words, from an Alonso fan. Ferrari are built around Alonso to a far greater extent than RB are around Vettel. And poor Massa is in a far worse position than Webber has been.

      1. Where do you get the notion from that @prisoner-monkeys is an Alonso fan @jonsan?

        1. @bascb From Prisioner Monkeys’ profile, I’d guess.

  9. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    27th June 2013, 11:59

    Clearly Hulkenberg is the most likely candidate. For those that read a recent AUTOSPORT article in which Ed Straw argued that Raikkonen was the perfect person for Red Bull, you will remember that this hypothesis was solely based on the fact that he and Vettel get on and that he once wore Red Bull overalls in WRC. I simply cannot envisage Raikkonen going to Red Bull. Why would Raikkonen leave a team that is a) providing him with a great car, b) not putting any pressure on him to do the commercial stuff he so hates and c) is definitely getting the best out of him? Why would he leave that team to go to a high pressure commercial environment, if, in all reality, that team does not have an all that greater chance of taking the title in 2014 when the influence of the new engines come into play than his former team? Raikkonen’s only motives are a) cash, and b) the aerodynamic efficiency of Newey’s cars, something that’ll be of reduced influence next year anyway. And anyway, Raikkonen left F1 to escape the commercial nature of Ferrari. It’ll probably be worse at Red Bull. Raikkonen was only able to be coaxed back into F1 with a promise of minimal PR duties, so on what planet does it make sense that he’d leave that competitive, non-commercial team, for a marginally more competitive car and a whole load more PR? Money? I know Lotus aren’t the richest team, but I’m sure they’re paying enough to keep Kimi in premium vodka.

    Personally, I think this whole “We want Kimi” thing has all been a show, and has simply been a way of juxtaposing the Red Bull mentality to the whole Ferrari “we don’t want two cockerels in one hen-house” philosophy. But this is just folly, because Red Bull have an established #1 driver in Vettel, they don’t need another one. What Red Bull have demonstrated with the Vettel-Webber line-up in that a clear #1 and #2 works; so what Red Bull are really looking for is a #2, and I personally think they have Nico Hulkenberg, or maybe even Paul di Resta in mind. Ever since Red Bull claimed they were after Raikkonen, they have inadvertently admitted the failure of the Toro Rosso squad by not putting either of them in the frame. They are decent drivers, probably perfect for a midfield team in that they are consistent, make few mistakes and bring the points home when the car is capable of it, but Red Bull are looking for more than that. By ruling out the Toro Rosso guys Red Bull have opened up the contenders to the whole field. If Raikkonen can be linked to a Red Bull seat, I see no reason why Hulkenberg can’t be either. Nico Hulkenberg: An extremely talented driver with no contract for next year. Sign on the dotted line please.

    1. oli campbell
      27th June 2013, 13:45


    2. I agree that Kimi should stay put at Lotus, but wouldn’t it be cool to see Hulk take Grojeans place?
      Hulk deserves a top ride, but with new 2014 regulations it’s all a bit of a gamble and any of the top five teams might develop an early edge. Also, I can’t imagine that any friendship between Kimi and Vettel would last very long if they were teammates, but the quotes would surely be classic.

    3. Exactly. The only thing I disagree with you on is having di Resta in mind. I believe the main candidates are Ricciardo, Vergne, and Hulkenberg. I think most F1 fans would like to see Hulkenberg given his chance in a top team, because he is very talented, and it’s painful to see him struggle in that C32.
      The argument for Raikkonen joining Red Bull isn’t strong enough for me. Red Bull would clearly want a number 2 driver, and his ‘friendship’ with Vettel, or his past Red Bull backing, isn’t enough to go on.

    4. petebaldwin (@)
      27th June 2013, 16:06

      I’m not sure with that:

      They are decent drivers, probably perfect for a midfield team in that they are consistent, make few mistakes and bring the points home when the car is capable of it

      Surely that’s the description of the perfect #2 driver? Consistent, doesn’t make mistakes and finishes in a decent position… Hulkenberg won’t sit back and be the #2 driver. He’ll fight for wins if he’s given a decent car.

    5. What Red Bull have demonstrated with the Vettel-Webber line-up in that a clear #1 and #2 works

      Webber has never been a “clear #2”. He’s been the de facto No 2 driver simply by virtue of SV getting better results on track year after year, but Webber has never been the de jure No 2 as Massa is at Ferrari. It’s impossible to imagine Ferrari ever ordering Alonso to stay behind Massa, as RB ordered Vettel to stay behind Webber.

    6. Yeah, why would anyone consider going to the only team capable of wining the championship for the past three year – maybe this year too??

  10. Traverse (@)
    27th June 2013, 12:00

    It has to be Vergne, Ricciardo or Antonio Felix da Costa. If RBR go for the like of Raikkonen, di Resta etc it would undermine their entire “Driver program”.

    1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      27th June 2013, 12:31

      Haven’t they already done that by saying “Raikkonen is at the top of our list”?

    2. I think DiResta yes. But Kimi has ties with RB since 2001. RB was Sauber’s title sponsor and a lot of Kimi’s ventures outside F1 were/are sponsored by RB.

    3. Not Da Costa; if he goes to RBR, then I predict there’d be some form of mutiny from the STR boys; theyve actually shown more promise than Da Costa, they’re both proven quantities and have the necessary experience.
      Da Costa is super talented, but has never raced an F1 car and to bypass Toro Rosso I think isn’t right morally

    4. RBR cant select a driver only to justify STR.

  11. You have to be crazy to go to Red Bull. Who ever goes there can kiss goodbye to their dreams of a world championship. That’s Vettel’s team and in the same way of Schumacher at Ferrari whoever is his team mate will play second fiddle. The only hope anyone will have is that he might bugger off to Ferrari when his Red Bull deal is done.

    1. The last three years would suggest the reverse is true – anyone who goes anywhere else can forget about winning the world championship.

      Drivers don’t win titles without a sufficiently competitive car, and that’s what Webber’s had for the last three years.

      1. Traverse (@)
        27th June 2013, 12:16

        People blame Vet for Webber’s inadequacies and underachieving. I’m sure some people believe that Vet is somehow responsible for Webber’s infamous terrible starts.

        1. The team’s laser focus on Vettel has been Webber’s downfall… He’s never been entirely comfortable with the car handling since they introduced the EBD, which Vettel got his head around.

          Webber’s 2010 title challenge fell apart when they started experimenting with it (although fracturing his shoulder probably didn’t help). He started to claw back the advantage when it was banned in 2012, but when they successfully recreated the effect with their aero/DDRS system, Webber was compromised again.

          1. @optimaximal I don’t agree with the implication in that: the EBD effect made the car faster, and Webber in an EBD-equipped Red Bull is still faster than Webber in a non-EBD-equipped Red Bull, even though Vettel extends his advantage over him.

            Because of this, I doubt he’d have done any better elsewhere. He had to adapt and failed to do so as well as Vettel, hence why he has pretty much decimated him these last few years.

          2. He’s never been entirely comfortable with the car handling since they introduced the EBD, which Vettel got his head around.

            Red Bull did not introduce the EBD. They copied it when it became a necessary part of F1. If Webber cannot adapt successfully to the technical changes in the sport then perhaps it’s best he quits. The notion that RB adapted things like EBD and DDRS to compromise Webber and “focus on” Vettel is just silly.

          3. @jonsan Who, in your mind, pioneered the EBD?

            I remember them playing with in in the latter stage of 2010, ahead of the double-diffuser ban, even running fake exhausts (stickers, if I remember) during 2011 pre-season testing in to hide what they were doing as long as possible.

  12. If one of the Toro Rosso drivers get a podium in the next few races, the seat is theirs, if niether prove themselves as clearly superior to the other at STR in the next few weeks then anybody can apply. Here’s hoping the hulk can get a big break.

  13. I hope Raikkonen, but if deal falls through, I would love to see Hulkenberg given a chance. Not sure about two German drivers though.

  14. Vettel – Hulkenberg should be interesting. Nico will have three years of racing in F1 under his belt, so if indeed he is as good as many suspect, he should have matured enough to be able to challenge Vettel.

    I think the seat will go to one of the Toro Rosso drivers. They will need a bit of luck with the competitivess of the car to be able to demonstrate their talent, but so far the STR has been improving. I think both Ricciardo and Vergne have shown promise over the last two years, but they’re not as consistent as Hulkenberg or Raikkonen yet, and this is what they will need to show in the second half of the season.

  15. No chance of a comeback from DC? We seem to see him driving the car on enough demos that he must still be comfortable with it ;-)

    1. He forgot how to use his mirrors at the end, ok for going round on your own, not great in the pack.

  16. Depends on situation at Lotus. A part of me would like to see Kimi wreaking havok in Red Bull, showing Mr. Finger a thing or two.

    From the young guns I’d like to see Vergne at the parent team.

    1. He would show Vettel how to eat ice cream and how to party. Apart from that, he won’t be able to show him that much in terms of driving. ;)

    2. I don’t think Raikkonen is good enough in qualifying any more to beat Vettel over a season. His race craft is pretty great, but not much use if your teammate is able to control the race from pole position.

      1. his qualifying has been really good this year. Often qualified in front of fernando with faster car.

        Its easy for you to say that when vettel was driving the best car. I believe he was only 2 tenth in front of Kimi at Barcelona despite driving a car with so much more downforce.

        1 thing to compare apple with orange, another thing to look into stuff more insightful.

        1. And Kimi was only 2 tenths in front of Grosjean, while Vettel was half a second in front of Webber. And the RBR wasn’t exactly that good in Spain, when it wasn’t on the podium, nor on the front row.

        2. I am a big Kimi fan but facts are facts. Mark Webber has been thought of as a great qualifier throughout his career, and yet Vettel has dominated him in qualifying over their 4 and a bit seasons as teammates. Vettel is up there with Senna and Clark as one of the best qualifiers of all time. Raikkonen used to be great in qualifying, but since his comeback one front row in nearly 30 races is hardly great form. His results this year in qualifying: 7th, 7th, 2nd, 9th, 4th, 5th and 9th. Not bad but hardly world beating. He often makes little mistakes

  17. Hoping for Sutil or Hulk

  18. It’s gonna be Kimi, JEV or Dani – with Costa and Buemi as underdogs. All other options would undermine the drivers program.

    1. Wouldn’t going with Raikkonen also do that?

      1. no Kimi has ties with them since 2001 and his stint at Sauber. But mainly it wouldn’t do so because he’s 34 and if they say JEV and Dani aren’t up to the task then Kimi would fill the gap until da Costa, Kvyat and others can.

        1. @tmf42 I knew he had ties with them from his WRC stint, but I completely forgot about the Red Bull link from 2001.
          There are many differing opinions on this. I just can’t picture him at Red Bull. I am personally hoping to see Hulkenberg at RB. I know that would undermine the drivers’ program, but they have to go with what they see the option most suitable. As they say, watch this space…

          1. @deej92 – I see Hülkenberg at Ferrari at some point. Sauber is sort of the Ferrari farm team and given that he got the cockpit instead of Bianchi would suggest that he is next in line. But that’s just guessing.

        2. That potential move is realistic with, as you say, him now driving for Ferrari’s feeder team (sort of). But we have seen Perez snapped up by McLaren while at Sauber, and part of Ferrari’s driver academy, so Red Bull could still make a move.

  19. Jan (@yancheelaa)
    27th June 2013, 12:26

    Definitely HULKENBERG

  20. Logic suggests that Red Bull pick either Ricciardo or Vergne, or perhaps Felix da Costa. But the team are in such a luxurious position that they can pick up any driver that is available — at the right price, probably — and forego their own batch.

    So, while I reckon that it’ll be one of the STR crew, it might as well be Di Resta or Hülkenberg. I would be quite surprised to see Räikkönen end up in Milton Keynes.

  21. I hope its Dan or Jean-Eric like people have stated what is even the point of having a ‘Red Bull Sister Team’ when you are not going to elevate them into Infiniti Red Bull. I think Di Resta won’t be going there or even Hulkenberg. Raikkonen is a candidate of winning the seat. I feel like this is the end for Giedo Van Der Garde with Petrov set to race in Russia next year

  22. Kobayashi!
    Nuff said :)

  23. Red Bull should sign Hulkenberg… very talented driver who could well end up Ferrari-bound so why not take him, not only does it make RB stronger, it may weaken Ferrari.
    Vettel and Hulkenberg seem to get on alright (until it kicks off on track at some point), Hulkenberg is as good as Webber and will only get better with age. I’d go for that over an ageing Kimi

  24. Kimi is a serious candidate, I think. If the car is very good, he can make an effort and do all the media work he has to do. He’s won races in Lotus, but he has a serious chance of winning the championship in a Red Bull.
    But we are having a major rule change next year, maybe Red Bull won’t be competitive from the start. That’s a bit of a risk for Raikkonen, maybe he wants to stay in an environment he knows and he likes.

    The battle in STR is going to be very interesting. If I had to decide between the two, I honestly wouldn’t know who to pick. Sometimes Ricciardo does well, the next race Vergne does the same, and it’s difficult to tell who is going to do a better job in a competitive car.

    I feel that Red Bull has to pick a driver from Toro Rosso. I mean, you can’t throw drivers in F1, expect them to be the next Sebastian Vettel and, if they’re not, kick them out of F1. It seems a bit rude.
    Besides, I think that 2014 will be Da Costa’s debut in F1, even if everyone expected something more from his FR 3.5 season. He’ll probably be in a Toro Rosso. Either they fire Ricciardo or Vergne, or one of them goes to Red Bull.

    Hulkenberg in a Red Bull would be fantastic, but I don’t see that happening, at the moment. I hope he gets a seat in a top team, though. Ferrari wouldn’t be bad.
    As for Di Resta, I don’t think he deserves a place in a top team yet.

  25. hehehehe… I say Fernando ALONSO.. even better… Felipe Massa… He is used to played second school boy and thats what Vettel wants. Thats if Ferrari let him go, if I was Ferrari I would lock him down one more year. It is hard to find 2nd drivers these days.

    1. @kwekuq Horner’s made his views on Massa pretty clear already:

      ‘I wouldn’t have kept Massa’, says Horner

  26. DavidTyrrell
    27th June 2013, 12:45

    I can see it being Kimi or DiResta getting the seat but more so Kimi as he’s had connections with Red Bull before. The Toro Rosso guys haven’t, I think, proven themselves enough yet. Although I can see them not having Kimi due to a certain driver who doesn’t want someone who can challenge him on the team.

  27. JEVv over Ricc
    Di Resta is a no no
    Kimi is fine..
    Hulk might do better though..
    Bottas should try Merc/Sauber maybe..

  28. One way or another, they’re going to have to find a way to get Felix da Costa in next year. That means one of the STR drivers either leaves, or goes to Red Bull (maybe even another team, which would be a first).

    If I had to guess, it’s going to be whoever comes out on top out of those two drivers, as I see more decent results coming out of STR this year. And I think that will be Daniel Ricciardo.

  29. Hard one.
    I would welcome one of Red Bull’s youngsters. And it would fit their program.

    Would Hamilton do ‘a Button’ (Williams-Honda move)?

  30. I have a feeling Raikkonen’s potential move to Red Bull will depend in majority of what happens with Lotus in the next 6 months. Respectively of the financial situation at Enstone and whether they can recover from the current slump or not. Raikkonen might feel at home with Lotus and they might be the perfect team for him at the moment, but if they don’t give him a car he can seriously challenge for the title or at least for constant wins with, or if they won’t be able to pay his salary, I truly think Raikkonen will move on. Red Bull might be a PR nightmare for any driver and of course he’ll have to put up with Seb as a team mate, but they have the best car on the grid, something which translates into (at worst) the second best chance to grab the title, in theory.

    If Red Bull unlock a large sum of money for his salary and make a few small concessions here in there, in order to fit Kimi’s preferences in terms of off-track duties and so on, I think he might go for it. The real question is, do Red Bull really want Kimi as their driver? Because Marko’s random statements don’t really mean anything at the moment.

    If it’s not Kimi, it has to be Ricciardo or Vergne. They need to prove the fact that their academy is sustainable and worthwhile. If they don’t hire a world champion, they almost HAVE to promote internally. Plus, Antonio Felix Da Costa looks set for that second RBR seat in a couple of years, which means they will probably need a transition driver who will accept a short term contract, keep the seat warm while Da Costa is being prepped. And both Ricciardo and Vergne are just that kind of drivers.

    Da Costa is still too young, Bottas is too much of an asset to Williams to let him go after just one year, Da Costa needs to spend at least one or two seasons in a Torro Rosso before jumping in a Red Bull and Hulkenberg isn’t really the kind of driver Red Bull might be looking at.

    I’d love to see what Di Resta can do in a top car, to be honest and I’m rooting for him to get that seat, but my money is split on either Raikkonen or Ricciardo with the latter being the obvious / easiest option.

    Aussie for aussie. :)

  31. Michael Brown (@)
    27th June 2013, 13:54

    Well it won’t be Raikkonen. Lotus know how to get the best out of him and that’s by not forcing him to do anything he hates. Nico Hulkenberg would be my personal favourite choice, but if they pick a driver other than the Toro Rosso drivers then the team will be seen as a failure.

  32. Nelson Piquet Jr!

  33. How about Alonso?? I’d like to see him in the fastest car for once. But of the list you mentioned HHulkenberg is definitely best.

  34. Won’t Kimi be the oldest driver when Webber leaves?

    1. Yes, well spotted. He’s 94 days older than Button.

    2. Well if no one older comes into the sport then yes. Raikkonen will be 34 at the start of next season, as will Button but Raikkonen is 3 months older.

  35. As a Kimi and Enstone fan, I really hope Kimi stays where he is for a little while longer.

    With my biased view, it’s easy to see RB need to promote a TR driver to a “full works drive”. If they don’t do that, then it’s proof that their own young driver programme along with TR is not a route to RB.

    By the end of the year, Vettel will have done 5 seasons at RB, that’s how long it’s taken for a seat to become available. Can the TR drivers really be expected to plod around in the bridesmaid’s car for another 5 years?

    Ricciardo has impressed pretty much since his debut, JEV may have just picked up his game (you can bet Phil Charles has played a big part in that), it’s a good chance for RB to bring in new talent and be seen as the good guys again.

  36. RAI – i hope not, i like him a lot and a move to red bull (which i don’t like) would probably lead me to not liking him. besides, it’s been explained that he is in a very comfortable situation at lotus, why leave it behind?
    RIC or JEV – my guess is that they’ll end up going for the seat, whoever does better throughout the year will mist likely get the seat at rbr and the other one will get sacked. as of now, JEV would be the better candidate.
    HUL – now that he’s signed with a team he can’t show his potential in, it’s not going to happen i’m afraid.
    DIR – why is everyone so hyped up about him? i don’t understand it. hasn’t had a single podium finish throughout his career so far, don’t get me wrong; he’s a good driver, but not good enough for red bull
    BOT – like hulkenberg, can’t show his potential in his current car, so probably not.
    DAC – (<- stands for da costa) he'll most likely end up at toro rosso next year, can't see how they'd explain a promotion for him to red bull and not for one of the current toro rosso drivers.

    in the end, i'd like someone who can challenge everyone's favourite german fingerboy.

  37. Paul Di Resta deserves a shot, but I’m certain they’ll keep promoting drivers from Toro Rosso so it’s unlikely.

  38. would this notoriously publicity-averse driver be willing to tolerate an increase in PR and media work that is likely to come with being aligned to Infiniti?

    Or, would Red Bull be willing to give more freedom to Kimi just to have him in their team? I would, Kimi is still one of the best drivers out there and he would do a great job in that car.

  39. I’d just like to see a big surprise, like we had last year with Hamilton, and particularly Perez going to McLaren.

    Vergne’s recently raised his game so strikingly that I can’t help wonder if he’s already had some good news, or at least a new incentive.

  40. Felix Da Costa would be awesome! But i seriously doubt that possibility. (Go Felix! Go Portugal!) :D
    Kimi would be great even if I’m not a RB suporter… but then what happens to Vettel? Will he be crushed by Kimi’s speed? Kimi’s RB connections puts him in the pole for the seat but I’m sure e won’t “do a Webber”. I simply won’t!

  41. Kimi is the obvious choice.

    The culture is very relaxed at RBR (same as Lotus), and they’ve got the best car.
    Seems like a WIN WIN situation to me.

  42. I said this would happen back in April just after the Malaysian gp.
    Raikkonen has had very strong links with Red Bull since 2001 and probably before… The only thing that might deny him a seas is his age. Red Bull are possibly going to want a younger driver so they can get at least 5 years out of him. With Raikkonen being 33, they will get 5 years out of him at the maximum if he doesn’t get bored of F1 before that. But if they give him the same deal as Webber (1 year rolling contract), I can see him singing right away with the promise of being champion again whatever the team try to do with regards to team orders.

    Who will drive for Lotus when Raikkonen moves? Will they take on Nico Hulkenberg or Paul Di Resta? Or someone else?

  43. Kimi Raikkonen will turn 35 next year. If RB hire him he will be a stop-gap solution and probably hired on a one year contract. That’s the biggest reason they may not go for hm. On the plus side he’d offer the nearest like-to-like replacement for Webber – without all the Webber baggage and drama and attitude.

    But I’d prefer to see JEV or Ricciardo get the spot. RB need to understand that comparing every other driver in their young driver program to SV is highly unrealistic and not make perfect the enemy of the good.

  44. I think it’s going to be Hulkenberg. Kimi is a stronger driver, but he doesn’t seem like a guy who would fit in at Red Bull. They are just so different.

    I don’t think either of the TR drivers are good enough to deserve a seat.
    They need more time. Both of them. TR can give them that. But Red Bull will want a driver who is top notch from the day he signs the contract.
    It would simply be the stupidest thing in the world if they signed a driver, hoping he would get better, but he doesn’t. That could potentially cost them a WCC or even a WDC. Hulkenberg seems like a safer bet in my opinion.

    Some might say that their driver development program has therefore failed, but I don’t think so. Red Bull is a championship wining team, right at the top of their game. No one deserves a seat there unless they can deliver. A driver program isn’t meant to get all the drivers into top teams, or even their own team. Its a chance for the team to have control of some of the new talents, and if they are good enough it will be easier to channel them into vacant seats. It’s also much easier to evaluate a driver from your own development program. But ultimately it’s there to give the team a long term advantage over the others. Not as a golden ticket for a lucky chap to get into a seat he doesn’t deserve.

    1. @mads agree 100%! When Vettel moved from Toro Rosso do Red Bull he was a race winner with numerous top 5 finishes. While I understand that today is it is harder for Toro Rosso to be competitive like that, we haven’t seen either Ricciardo or Vergne setting the world on fire. They are good drivers, and certainly would deserve a better team, but a Red Bull? Not sure about that.

      Hulkenberg has shown more than the Toro Rosso pair. He and Raikkonen are far better options in my opinion.

  45. I think Michael Schumacher would be a good choice; just for one year.

  46. Red Bull-Vodtka PR for Kimi next season then?

  47. Well Raikkonen has just today admitted that he has only two choices for next year, and they are Lotus and RB. In the interview he has done with Finnish media (in Finnish) he said that you would have to be kind of stupid for not considering to drive for a top team that has won both of the championships recently, a few times in a row. He confirmed that he is in talks with “someone” but pointed out there is no point to talk about these things in more detail upon signing anything. He said that to be up there in the front everyone wants to be in the best car possible to be able to have the best shot at winning the WDC.
    He also said that he would rather sign the contract for next year sooner than later but pointed out anything can happen in F1 and that there are a lot of very small things and details to discuss with all of the contracts and if the small things are not to his liking he said that then the deal might not happen.

  48. Finnish TV interviewed Kimi about Red bull seat. Here is a quick and dirty translation of key points from Kimi:
    – It is very difficult not to be interested of a team that has won both championships for several years in a row, but that does not mean he would not be interested in continuing with Lotus. You always try to get you the best car you can, it is the only way to succeed in F1.

    – No contract has been made, they have talked with few people about it, the most important things in contract for him are some little details that may sound stupid to other people. He would have the contract sooner than later so people would stop bugging him about it.

  49. It would be a risk for RB to get RAI. If VET and RAI were allowed to race, it’s possible Kimi would beat Seb more often than Webber did. Alonso might end up winning WDC. Then again, maybe he deserves it.

    For the audience though, Kimi and Seb in Red Bull would be very interesting and definitely entertaining.

  50. I think none of us has a close idea of winch driver will have that seat, anything can happen.

    1. I hope you are right.

      That would mean the 0.000000000001% of chance for K. Kobayashi to get the jackpot is still in !

  51. I don’t buy the “RB should promote a TR driver to prove the value of the driver development program” argument. TR exists to promote the Red Bull brand and to provide a platform for developing promising drivers at the top level. Let’s not forget that Vettel won in a TR at Monza… TR doesn’t have to consistently be developing top-tier talent in order to justify its continued existence – one triple world champion might be sufficient.

    Therefore, I think Kimi is the best choice. RB clearly doesn’t have any fear of competition amongst its drivers and Kimi provides them with the best chance to win championships. Also, should a Vettel to Ferrari scenario play out, having a top driver already in the team would be advantageous.

  52. Just strictly from Red Bull’s perspective I do think Kimi is the obvious choice. They already have the package to win the drivers championship so by adding consistently solid points scores to the package they would become even more certain about the contructors’ championship as well. It would also give them better security in case Vettel leaves at some point than one of the “rookier” drivers. Whether you love or hate Kimi it is hard to argue that he is the most valuable of the currently available drivers.

    I think the main question is if Kimi would do it. To a large extent money talks and combined with a more likely race winning car the only real obstacle I can see is the risk of becoming second fiddle. However, I do think Kimi is confident enough to not let it bother him. Though I would personally like to see Kimi as double champion I am not sure I would like to see it in a Red Bull but I think it is highly likely as none of the parties have more attractive options.

  53. There’s only one man. Kimi Raikonnen. Fast, image fits well with red bulls brand profile, old enough to allow the young guns at toro Rosso to mature a bit more and to provide cover should vettel go to another team ( Ferrari)

  54. I think Ricciardo might get the seat, with Da Costa moved up into Torro Rosso. After being with Mclaren and Ferrari, and collecting vasts amounts of money in the process, I think Kimi would see it as too much hassle.

  55. Fikri Harish (@)
    27th June 2013, 17:23

    Hypothetical scenario.
    If Kimi were to leave Lotus, that would leave them as the only top team without a top driver. Unless somehow Kubica made a miraculous recovery and/or Grosjean bounced back later this year, either scenario being very unlikely. They could start next year with Grosjean and Valsecchi, but that would simply be a repeat of 2011 and one of them could very well get the boot. Honestly, I don’t think Grosjean could even make it to the end of this year if he keeps driving like the way he is now, Valsecchi might end up getting a race seat next year.
    Lotus will eventually have to look for another driver and I could see Hulkenberg filling that seat. He’s consistently quick and fairly experienced and as of now unaffiliated with any team. That would lead to an empty seat at Sauber and this is where it gets interesting. Sauber already has Frijns, but they might wait and see how his GP2 campaign will end and then there’s Bianchi and Bottas.

    I personally think that it’s between Raikkonen and either Toro Rosso drivers with Hulkenberg as the wildcard. Di Resta has been good so far this year, but they already have access to two very decent drivers in the Toro Rosso pair while Bottas and Da Costa are far too green.

  56. i want Kimi there to end the dominance of Vettel .
    It’ll be interesting to see how vettel copes with this challenge and we get the better measurements of his driving ability. i dont rate vettel as high as the other triple world champions and Kimi’s move can prove me right.

    1. Or prove you wrong. It’s kind of tiring to see people who obviously must rate Webber so low, that he can be beaten so badly, yet Raikkonen can not only do better than Mark, but also somehow beat Vettel. Plus, Raikkonen has been up against Massa (who beat him) and Grosjean.

  57. I think Jean-Eric Vergne is a good option. He is fast, young and can be a good driver Nº2, with future.

  58. Silly season is starting early this year!

    All this makes me wonder what would’ve happened if Webber made this decision 12 months ago. How would the world have reacted if Hamilton’s McLaren contract was expiring at the same time a Red Bull seat became available?

    1. Bernie tried to move Lewis to RBR, but RBR refused.

      Strange business decision….

    2. Same was as it did now?

  59. I think Felipe Massa will get the seat, purely on his amazing form recently

    1. @viscountviktor he crashed out of the last two race-weekends…

  60. Raikkonen will be the most likely choice strictly looking from RBR pov. He has about three more years before he will likely retire, which would give RBR enough time to finetune their young drivers and promote one (or two even if Vettel is to move to Ferrari at some point) to main team. I see Hulkenberg taking Raikkonen’s seat at Lotus if this were to happen. Not sure about the rest, most likely will stay where they are since Toro Rosso and Force India are showing nice progress.

    1. I’m hoping Kobayashi can get that seat at Lotus if Kimi moves on. He should have had Grosjean’s seat anyway this year imho. It’s going to be an interesting summer as the speculation increases.

  61. Is it me, or are there some interesting parallels between Webbers career and Reubens (query).
    Both are notable number two drivers who could have and should have won more often. Both are cooler than their respective German teammates. Thoughts (query).

  62. Heikki Kovalainen :) He has the experience and could replace webber earlier this season if necessary.

  63. Surprised that there isn’t much conversation going on about who will fill the TR seat if one of their boys moves up to the main team. Obviously the money has to be on AFDC, but I think the dark horse could be Mitch Evans. Strong form in GP2 recently and I have heard that he has spent the last couple of weekends in the Red Bull garage listening to their team radio. Also, he lives down the road from Webber and they regularly train together.

    Although personally I think it is not a wise career move for anyone to move into Toro Rosso, seeing as only one (though that could be two by the end of the year) have made the move up to RB, and all the others have left F1 within a couple of years, and not gone anywhere since.

  64. I think yoiu’re forgetting Kimi already has Red Bull ties from his Rallying excursion. His consistent points haul might prove the decider in picking a replacement if they believe Vettel and Kimi can work together. Whoever gets Webbers seat, I hope they’re damn fast and don’t capitulate to Vettel. I’m fed up of seeing him being unchallenged year after year. He needs somebody to bring him back down to earth.

  65. F1 Needs a Canadian driver. Robert Wickens, who certainly should be sitting in one of the Toro’s right now. Or James Hinchcliffe. They both have the mental toughness to avoid being bothered by Vettel, and they are both quick drivers.
    I know that most people will disagree, but it would be really nice to see a Canadian on the grid again.

  66. Consider if Renault comes up with a mega engine and provides their customers a decided advantage. Red Bull would do well hiring Raikkonen if only to take away their biggest championship threat in that case.

    But if it was my choice, I’d go with Vergne. If its wet at all, his name is always popping up to the top of the timesheets – so he’s great at finding grip in tough and unpredictable conditions – a good sign. And he does seem to be getting better and better as he gains confidence. Let’s not forget Vettel’s Toro Rosso career started rather slowly. He crashed a lot and was slower than Liuzzi a few times. Just because Jean-Eric hasn’t managed to win the Italian GP by now doesn’t mean he isn’t a potential champion.

    Hulkenberg might be the fastest available driver at the moment but I just don’t see the two Germans “gelling” together in this team. If I were Nico, I might actually prefer a Renault drive to be honest.

  67. I’m surprised how many people are counting out the TR boys. Yes, they’re consistently finishing in the points, but what if their car was actually on par with a Caterham and both TR drivers are actually really good?

    The fact that RB say good things about their TR drivers when history has shown that they are quite critical toward their TR drivers (Bourdais, Alguersuari, Buemi etc.), quite clearly indicates that it’s very likely to be either Ricciardo or JEV.
    I’m putting my money on Ricciardo.
    – He’s extremely mature for a young gun: He’d never been into a barrier in his entire F1 career until Grosjean hit him.
    – He quite comfortably defended from drivers such as Webber and Schumacher for several laps to finish in the points last season.
    – He almost-always out performs his car in qualifying.
    – He knows how to do battle with top drivers: See Austin 2012 where he was amongst the likes of Massa, Button and Raikkonen.
    – According to RB and TR, he’s got a great understanding of technical details.
    Although he’s behind JEV in points, there are many other things that RB and TR see that work in his favour – at the moment anyway.

    1. Agreed – I think DR will go to RBR, Lotus now have more money thanks to Infinity and will appeal even more to Kimi. He even stated he wouldn’t be back in F1 if Lotus hadn’t catered to his every need, RBR are not going to do that for him when they have a 3x world champion already sitting in their #1 car.

      They want someone who will solidly compete in the RBR car with pace, and is consistently finishing races. DR ticks all the boxes, if its not him then why have TR? Vergne has pace and aggression, but lacks in other areas – RBR want someone they can rely on, DR is it for me. His attitude and personality is just a bonus for them! ;)

  68. Personally I’m rooting for Hulkenberg, in my view he is the most talented guy out there not in a top team. B Di resta has done really well this year, but was outshone by Nico last year, I can not help but wonder what Force India might have achieved this year had Nico stayed.

    As for Kimi, I must admit he is the most likely candidate, but I personally Love the Kimi Lotus combination, and their underdog status, so I’m really hoping he’ll stay. They might have lost Allison, but with the oil money infusion they hve potential for next year.

    The torro rosso duo are not impressive enough in my view, I might be wrong, but although both are good drivers, neither one has that little something extra that guys like Alonso, Hamilton, Kimi and Vettel have.

    I would love it if they put Felix Da Costa in the car though, although guys like Stoffel Vandoorne and Robin Frijns are more deserving in my oppinion, putting Da costa in the seat would shake things up a bit. I would compare it to the interteam battle at Honda in Motogp right now between Pedrosa and rookie Marquez :)

  69. I can see Di Resta trolling and having a big whinge why he wasn’t asked if he would like the Red Bull seat!

    This guy’s self righteous arrogance see’s no boundaries.

  70. Jean-Eric Vergne, last year he finished ahead of Ricciardo in the championship and is ahead of Ricciardo currently. I can’t see Raikkonen driving for Red Bull, I think he would prefer a number one seat at Lotus than a number two seat at Red Bull. Vergne seems to be the best option, I personally think Ricciardo is overrated, he’s a great qualifier but Vergne seems to be the better race driver.

    1. Sorry James, but according to Red Bull it’s just between Ricciardo and Räikkonen at this point.

      1. I found that out on BBC sport, it’s a shame for Vergne, but I think Ricciardo has great potential but I personally thought that Vergne was a better race driver than Ricciardo. I think whatever happens it would be better for Red Bull to choose Ricciardo because Kimi is probably going to retire in a few years so they’ll have to choose a new driver anyway, and Vettel may move teams after 2014, so I think they should get a driver that will be a long term driver, it would be a shame if Red Bull let Ricciardo waste more years in an uncompetitive car.

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