Mark Webber has sparked rumours that the deal to bring Daniel Ricciardo to Red Bull as his replacement next season has already been completed, amid continued speculation surrounding the coveted drive alongside Sebastian Vettel. If true, this would leave Kimi Raikkonen with fewer opportunities for next season.
Prior to the start of the Belgian Grand Prix around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Mark Webber stated that Daniel Ricciardo will replace him at Red Bull next season. This will see the 24-year-old Australian driver become the first to graduate from Toro Rosso to Red Bull since Sebastian Vettel in 2009, and would also reduce the options for Kimi Raikkonen next season should the Finn still wish to leave Lotus.
“The decision is made. We all know who it is.” Explained Mark Webber to James Allen on Channel 10’s race broadcast on the grid. “I’m happy with that decision. It’s good for him and it’s good for Australia.”
This move will in turn create a vacancy at Toro Rosso, which is expected to be filled by Portuguese rising star Antonio Felix da Costa. The 21-year-old driver has already shone in the GP3 Series with Carlin, and is currently 5th in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Earlier in the Belgian Grand Prix weekend many drivers currently linked to moves at the end of the season were coy on their future, with Kimi Raikkonen insisting there had been no changes in the rumours since the beginning of the four week break. Either way it seems Daniel Ricciardo has once again taken the lead in the race for the Red Bull vacancy, which could prove to be a pivotal outcome in the driver market and decide the future of the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg.
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