Mark Webber has said that his replacement at Red Bull Racing for 2014, Daniel Ricciardo, is “perfect” for the team ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
The Aussie will retire from the sport at the end of the season, choosing to switch to racing in the World Endurance Championship with Porsche. He believes that the decision to sign Ricciardo for 2014 is the best possible scenario for the team, with his countryman becoming the second driver to come through their young driver scheme – after his future team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
When asked during the FIA driver’s press conference on Thursday whether he was happy for his countryman, Webber said: “Of course. It’s very, very rare to have an Australian in Formula 1. It’s great to hand the baton over at Red Bull, a very, very successful team.”
He added: “It’s great for Dan, he deserves it. Coming to Europe initially is a great test; he did brilliantly. And it’s the perfect scenario for Red Bull, it all fits well. They have finally got another driver from the young driver programme. Now it’s all in his corner and he can do a tremendous job.”
Webber was asked to give his replacement some advice, but doesn’t feel that he needs any: “Daniel will handle it fine. He knows how to handle himself.”
Ricciardo, who was also in the driver press conference, added on the subject: “I think that’s for me to figure out myself, I’ll be alright.”
The 24-year-old joined Red Bull in 2008 after signing to their Junior Team. He received help from the Austrian energy drinks giant throughout his feeder series career before making his F1 debut at the 2011 British Grand Prix, driving for HRT.
He then moved to Toro Rosso in 2012, scoring 22 points for the Italian squad so far. Sebastian Vettel is the only other driver to go through the young driver scheme successfully.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic