1980 Australian Formula One Champion Alan Jones believes newly signed Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo has the right ingredients to fight for the World Championship given the right equipment and time.
“I don’t know about next year but I’d certainly say yes, Daniel is capable of winning a championship. He’s got to grab the bull by both horns now and go for it… “I think the kid grows horns when he hops in the car and that’s all you can ask of him.” Jones told AAP.
Not since Sebastian Vettel’s graduation to Red Bull Racing in 2009 has a Toro Rosso driver made the leap to the energy drink’s flagship outfit. Jones however, is confident that if RBR management takes the same approach as they have with Daniel up till now, the 24 year-old West Australian stands a good chance of continuing his meteoric progression as a driver.
“There’s been a lot of kids go into that program and have never survived it – and Daniel is one that has,” he said. “As far as Red Bull’s concerned, they know they’ve got Vettel. If it takes Daniel 12 months or thereabouts to get into the groove with that particular team, I think they’ve probably factored that in.”
Ricciardo himself, said out there could very well be just as much pressure on Vettel; given nobody expects the Toro Rosso alumnus to challenge the three-time World Champion with any immediate effect. Daniel’s focal point will therefore be directed at learning as much as he can from his team-mate whilst galvanizing support within the team, something the affable Australian has never had a problem with – his composed demeanor proving a formidable weapon in his armory.
“Hopefully he’ll go from strength to strength, utilizing the good team that he’s got.” Jones added.
“Teams don’t stay on top forever,” admitted Jones. “We’ve seen Ferrari dominate; we’ve seen McLaren dominate; we’ve even seen Williams dominate. Every dog has his day. Certainly they’ve got the wherewithal to produce a good car for next year and he’s (Ricciardo’s) got to take full advantage of it.
Images courtesy of Octane Photographic and Speedcafe.com