Adrian Newey says Red Bull’s preferred choice for 2014 was always going for a youngster than chasing an experienced driver like Kimi Raikkonen.
After the team confirmed that Ricciardo will line up alongside Sebastian Vettel next year, Newey says that he was particularly eager to bring on a driver for the long term.
“We could have taken an experienced driver, somebody guaranteed to deliver to a relatively known level, or equally we could take on a much younger driver in the hope that they’ll develop to a very high level,” said Newey, who is Red Bull’s chief technical officer. “We looked at the latter option and concluded that of the younger drivers, Daniel is the most promising.
“From Red Bull’s point of view that also fits well because the driver that Christian and I feel is the most promising is part of the Red Bull young driver program. The decision actually reminded me a little bit of a similar situation we had when I was at Williams. Nigel Mansell was leaving and we needed someone alongside Alain Prost. We could stick with Riccardo Patrese or take a punt on a young driver called Damon Hill who was our test driver at the time. I think it’s good to bring young blood in and give promising drivers a chance.”
Ricciardo was clearly delighted at being given the golden opportunity to drive for Red Bull, and said he was under no illusions about the task that lay ahead.
“Next year I’ll be with a championship-winning team, arguably the best team, and will be expected to deliver,” he said. “I’m ready for that. I’m not here to run around in 10th place, I want to get the best results for myself and the team.”