The youngster from Australia beat off alleged competition from Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button, all of whom could have been expected to have got it before him.
But it’s the 24 year old who has been welcomed officially by Christian Horner, the Red Bull team leader with the words: “It gives me great pleasure to announce that our new driver for the 2014 season with Infinity Red Bull Racing will be Daniel Ricciardo”, on their official website a few days ago.
Taking over from Mark Webber on his retirement, Ricciardo has much to prove. He has never ever finished a race in higher place than seventh, which means you’d expect Red Bull to have gone with a proven winner.
Having had two entire seasons in Formula 1 with Toro Rosso, Ricciardo has shown that he can do well and even go pretty fast – particularly when he qualified for Bahrain in 2012. Red Bull have reportedly been impressed by his speed and his smooth driving, the fact that he is a very fast learner and works well with his engineers. These are all hugely important measuring gauges of a great F1 team member.
It may have also appealed to Red Bull that Ricciardo was rather cheaper than a lot of their other choices, although it’s hard to believe that Red Bull, of all teams, are worried about their spend. The choice ended months of expectation and is, of course, a massive compliment to Ricciardo. But what will it mean for his chances and for fans who are placing bets on the 2014 season?
As he has never finished on the podium, it could be that F1 followers will be loathe to bet on him, as does the fact that he only ended up 18th in the Driver’s Championship. Should fans put their faith in him anyway? You can see what the major bookies have to say and compare them at freebets to see whether you think Ricciardo is worth a punt or two – he could be the surprise of the 2014 season.
It will all depend on how he reacts to the challenge and the pressure of his new position. He has said: “Next year I’ll be with a championship-winning team, arguably the best team, and will be expected to deliver. I’m