Red Bull’s priority is to find the fastest driver it can as replacement for Mark Webber, as it denied that Kimi Raikkonen is an automatic choice.
Although Lotus driver Raikkonen has been widely touted as the leading contender to line up alongside Sebastian Vettel, team principal Christian Horner said that Red Bull was open-minded and ready to bide its time on a decision.
He says his team needs time to judge whether Raikkonen is a better prospect than Toro Rosso duo Jean-Eric Verge and Daniel Ricciardo.
“We want a fast driver. We want to fill the best two cars that we can next year,” said Horner when asked what Red Bull was looking for.
“We are in a fortunate position where there are quite a few drivers who would like to drive a Red Bull car, and we have also got two very talented young drivers that we have been developing at Toro Rosso that we have a lot of information on. So we don’t need to rush into a decision.”
Raikkonen said earlier on Thursday that it would be tough for him to decide whether to stay at Lotus or join Red Bull if an offer was made, while Horner admitted that there were some risks attached to signing a superstar like the 2007 world champion.
“There are risks whoever you sign,” he said. “You just try to make the most informed decision you can, and we are in a fortunate position that we have got two very exciting young prospects, and we are attractive to other drivers as well.
“Our decision will be based on merit and wanting to field the most competitive team that we can.”
VETTEL OPINION WILL BE CONSIDERED
Horner also made it clear that Vettel would be consulted on a decision, even if he would not have the final say on who his teammate will be.
“For sure Sebastian will be kept in the loop in terms of what our choices of driver are, and his opinion has a value as well,” he said. “He is out there racing some of these guys; and sometimes he sees things we don’t.”