Daniel Ricciardo will surprise Formula 1 with his performance in his first season with Red Bull in 2014, reckons team boss Christian Horner.
The Australian is stepping up from Toro Rosso after two seasons to replace Mark Webber alongside Sebastian Vettel in F1’s champion team. Although Horner acknowledged that it was “daunting” for Ricciardo to go up against the winner of the last four world championships, he expects his new driver to surpass the paddock’s expectations.
“I genuinely think he will be a bit of a surprise next year,” said Horner. “He knows it is big shoes. To go up against Sebastian Vettel is a pretty daunting prospect for any driver.
“Daniel is a young guy that has got a lot of raw talent, he has got a great amount of natural speed. He knows the team pretty well, having been a member of the junior team and through his time at Toro Rosso and through his time as a test and reserve driver for us.
“I think that he has got exactly the right character and approach to get the most out of the experience, to learn from Sebastian and to embrace being his teammate and try to learn from it.”
Ricciardo has two more grands prix to go with Toro Rosso, and Horner said Red Bull was allowing its new signing to focus on his current job for now.
“We have some dialogue, more so now with Daniel as he starts to make the transition across from Toro Rosso into Red Bull Racing,” Horner said. “But he needs to finish and focus on the job he has got to do for Toro Rosso before involving him fully in the program for next year.”