Mark Webber will make his Formula 1 exit at the end of the season, freeing up arguably the best seat on the grid. Horner confirmed earlier in the year to be a straight fight between 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen and Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo.
Reports late last month revealed that Fernando Alonso was interested in joining the team next season, but that looks unlikely. Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne was discounted from being in the running for the drive last month. However he is expected to stay at Toro Rosso for 2014 after confirmation by the teams boss Franz Tost.
Discussing which driver Vettel would prefer to have alongside him at Red Bull, Horner told The Press Association: “I don’t think he minds to be honest. I don’t think Sebastian has any concerns about going up against any driver, and he hasn’t voiced a preference either way. He knows Kimi, he knows Daniel.”
He added that Vettel has no influence on which driver will be chosen: “Both are very quick drivers and would represent a challenge for him, but he has not looked to influence the team in any way as to which way we should be looking.”
With plenty to think about, a decision is expected after the summer break. However Horner is adamant that he will have a strong driver line-up for 2014, whatever the end situation is: “Daniel is at the beginning of his career, but he has the speed, and the rest you won’t know until you put him in that situation. But we have a reasonable amount of information to make a decision.
“We obviously want the two fastest and strongest drivers we can put in the car for next year, and both Daniel and Kimi would represent extremely good options.”
Should Raikkonen be chosen to partner Vettel, it will mean two number one drivers. Horner doesn’t see this as a problem though, despite Vettel’s current position in the team: “Both drivers get the same opportunity. It’s down to what they do on the track that determines who is the lead driver or not, and the lead driver at any given time is the one who has the most points.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic