Kimi Raikkonen’s potentially larger wage bill will not be a factor when Red Bull chooses between the Finn and Daniel Ricciardo, says team boss Christian Horner.
2007 Formula 1 world champion Raikkonen and Toro Rosso driver Ricciardo are going head to head for the Red Bull seat made available by Mark Webber’s 2014 sports car move. Although Ricciardo is likely to be a significantly cheaper signing, Horner said this was “not really an element in our-decision-making” when asked if the financial aspect was important.
“Of course, finances are always a factor but you can also contrast that with the difference between first and second or second and third or fourth is a significant amount in the constructors’ world championship, so the financial element of it, if you don’t make the right decision, it’s going to impact you anyway if you are not scoring points,” he added.
Ricciardo was given the chance to audition for Red Bull at the recent Silverstone young driver test. Company chief Dietrich Mateschitz said earlier this week that Ricciardo had made a strong impression, and Horner agreed that the long-time Red Bull protege had “strengthened his case.”
“There is no substitute for looking at a driver in your own car,” said Horner. “Obviously, the test last week was difficult circumstances because fundamentally they weren’t allowed to change anything once the test driver had stepped out of the car.
“Daniel acquitted himself very well. We had the ability to compare him against Sebastian who drove the car the following day and he acquitted himself well.”
PRESSURE OF VETTEL COMPARISON
Asked how Ricciardo’s pace compared to Vettel’s, Horner replied: “Daniel is certainly a very quick racing driver. Part of the challenge of being a driver at Red Bull is it’s not just about being quick, it’s about having ability feedback-wise to converse fully with the engineers, especially as we enter a new era of regulations where development is going to be crucial.
“For any driver to go up against Sebastian, there is inevitably a pressure that will come from being measured against him. You’ve got to be fairly broad-shouldered to deal with that, so of course there is an expectation that there isn’t perhaps in Daniel’s current team. The scrutiny from you guys isn’t there.
“The pressure on any driver in front-running team is always that bit greater. But what Daniel has demonstrated so far has been very positive.”
Horner also confirmed that a decision was not far away.
“We will take the summer break to reflect and then after the summer break [the announcement] will be at Spa or Monza but it’s certainly not going to be later than that,” he said.