Ricciardo was presented to the world as a Red Bull driver alongside team advisor Dr. Helmut Marko, ending months of speculation following Mark Webber’s decision to retire from the sport at the end of the current season. Following the announcement, Red Bull released a statement in which team principal Christian Horner justified the decision.
“It’s fantastic to confirm Daniel as the team’s race driver for 2014,” he explained. “He’s a very talented youngster, he’s committed, he’s got a great attitude and in the end it was a very logical choice for us to choose Daniel.
“He’s got all the attributes that are required to drive for our team: he’s got a great natural ability, he’s a good personality and a great guy to work with.”
Horner went on to explain how the decision was not a short-term fix, but instead made with a long and successful future in mind.
“Daniel knows what the team expects from him; he’ll learn quickly and it’s very much a medium to long term view that we’re taking in developing him. The seat within the team is a wonderful opportunity and I think he’s going to be a big star of the future.”
Ricciardo becomes the second graduate from Scuderia Toro Rosso to join Red Bull, following in Vettel’s footsteps after the German driver made the jump ahead of the 2009 season, before going on to win three consecutive drivers’ championships between 2010 and 2012. Quite whether Ricciardo will be able to live up to his new teammate’s precedent remains to be seen, but this is a big step forward in the Australian’s career as he moves from the midfield to the very front of the grid.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.