|© Mark Thompson/Getty Images/Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo has been tipped as a replacement for the departing Mark Webber at Red Bull next year with Kimi Raikkonen overlooked for the position, according to German publication Sport Bild.
The 24-year-old Australian will be replacing compatriot Webber to partner Sebastian Vettel in 2014 with Red Bull preferring to pick a driver from its junior programme.
The decision is expected to be announced at the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend ending speculation that Fernando Alonso was in contention for the seat.
Ricciardo has been a part of the Red Bull junior squad since 2008 and has been driving for Toro Rosso since 2012. Before that he took part in 11 Grands Prix with HRT, courtesy of Red Bull.
Where next for Kimi Raikkonen?
If the decision is confirmed, it would escalate Raikkonen’s alleged interest in returning to Ferrari next year. The Finn will be out of contract at the end of the season with options including the Italian team and current squad Lotus.
Jean-Eric Vergne to stay at Toro Rosso
Alonso’s interest in the Red Bull seat emerged when the Spaniard’s manager Luis Garcia Abad was spotted speaking to team principal Christian Horner in Hungary.
The meeting was dismissed as a discussion for Carlos Sainz Jr., a member of the Red Bull driver programme who is looked after by Alonso’s manager, to potentially fill in the seat vacated by Ricciardo next year.
Jean-Eric Vergne is expected to be retained by Toro Rosso for 2014.
Here's Riccardo and Vergne head-to-head since they were announced as teammates last year:
|Qualified ahead of teammate
|Qualified in the top ten
|Best starting grid
|Average qualifying position
|Finished ahead of teammate
|Finished in the top ten
|Average finishing positions
*Ricciardo had already raced in 11 Grands Prix before Vergne made his F1 debut
*Average finishing position excludes DNFs
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