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FIRST THERE WERE THREE

  When the word got out early in the season that Mark Webber was departing F1 for The Porsche sports-car squad there were three drivers being discussed as potential replacements.  Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen and the Toro Rosso pair, Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo.

  Then there were two, as just a few weeks ago Vergne got the news that he would be staying with Toro Rosso as Red Bull didn’t think he was quite ready for the step up to the senior team. Then, at the Hungaroring there were three again as King Fernando’s minions were seen in deep discussions with Christian Horner and everyone put two and two together to get the mythical Forty-Two.

  Within a day or so it was back to two but the talk was that Kimi wanted to stay at Lotus if they could give him a potentially title winning car next year. No surprise here as Kimi has never particularly enjoyed the media and sponsorship work part of all F1 contracts and Lotus has been giving him very light duties in this regard. He would not have gotten off so lightly at Red Bull who’s entire existence is as an advertising platform for their drinkie.

  Now, a little birdie tells me, there is only one, and at Spa this weekend Daniel Ricciardo will be announced as Sebastian Vettel’s team-mate for 2014.  This has also just been reported in the German magazine Sport Bild so I can’t claim that you read it here first, but I think I may have beaten Autosport so I’m happy.  When Sport Bild queried Helmut Marko he didn’t deny the story but said "We won't say anything before Spa, that's all I can say,"

  Daniel would be only the second Red Bull junior driver to ascend to the premier squad after Vettel in 2009 and has impressed the team with his pace at Toro Rosso and his feedback during the few testing opportunities with Red Bull. Has he got the pace and ability to win? Everyone thinks so but don’t expect Vettel to allow that to happen too often. After Malaysia and Mark’s departure it is even more the German’s team than ever and he will use every trick in the book to keep the quick young Aussie in his place as the team’s number two. Let’s hope he’s “not bad for a number two.”

 

Sam Snape

 

18/08/2013