Christian Horner has said that the battle for the second seat at Red Bull in 2014 is “probably” a two-horse race between Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo and Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen, thus ending Jean-Eric Vergne’s hopes of joining Sebastian Vettel next season.
After Mark Webber confirmed at Silverstone that he would be retiring at the end of the season, the trio of drivers have been openly shortlisted by Red Bull which has caused their performances to come under greater scrutiny. Earlier this week, Red Bull announced that Ricciardo would represent the team at the Young Drivers’ Test this week at Silverstone, appearing to snub Vergne. Now though, in an interview with Sky Sports, Horner has conceded that Vergne’s chances are slim.
When asked if the choice was between Ricciardo and Raikkonen, Horner said: “Essentially, probably.”
He then went on to explain the decision to give Ricciardo a run in the RB9 this week at Silverstone.
“We’re very keen to have a look at Daniel as a prospect for next year. Obviously there is a great deal of interest in the seat, but it’s an opportunity to have a look at Daniel and for him to do some of our tyre testing work in our RBR car. It’s a great opportunity for him.”
Ricciardo is considered to be the ‘safe’ option for Red Bull as he is far less likely to hinder relations between the team and its star driver, Vettel. Despite being a riskier choice, Raikkonen’s talent and prowess in the sport makes him hard to ignore, giving Red Bull a headache in the coming weeks to decide on the direction the team will take in the years to come.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.