Daniel Riccardo could be announced as Mark Webber's Red Bull replacement as early as this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix

Ricciardo looks set to be named as Sebastian Vettel's new team-mate for next season after Kimi Raikkonen is ruled out of the running

Daniel Ricciardo looks set to be named as Mark Webber’s replacement at Red Bull, having impressed throughout the first half of the season with their sister team Toro Rosso.

Webber announced at the end of June that he would be leaving the Formula One Constructor’s Champions after seven seasons with the team, but reports in Germany are claiming that his fellow Australian Ricciardo will take his seat alongside three-times world champion Sebastian Vettel.

German newspaper Bild claims that Ricciardo has done enough to secure the drive, and the announcement could be made as early as this weekend, when the F1 circus kicks back into gear following the summer break with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

Ricciardo has put in a series of impressive qualifying performances this season, transforming the Toro Rosso car from a back of the back languisher to a top 10 contender.

He secured his best career finish earlier this year in China when he crossed the line in seventh, and backed the result up with an eighth-place finish at Silverstone last month – just after Webber had announced he would be joining Porsche’s GT programme next season as they make their long awaited return to the Prototype class at Le Mans.

Lotus driver and 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen had been rumoured to be in contention for the seat, and Vettel had spoken before of his happiness should the Flying Finn join him in the Red Bull garage – he would likely be more comfortable partnering Raikkonen than either of his other main rivals Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso – but Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson confirmed earlier today that talks regarding a move had broken down earlier in the season.

"It's true," said Robertson. "Kimi will not be driving for Red Bull in 2014. We held some talks, but a deal will not be happening."

The confirmation appears to suggest Raikkonen will remain with Lotus next season, although the financial state of the team has come under question recently, with the driver being paid late on occasion that led to rumours he might boycott the last Grand Prix – which took place in Hungary – if he wasn’t paid in time.

 



"We are pretty confident that Kimi will be in F1 next year," Robertson explained. "There are options - and that is plural - out there and I will continue to talk to teams. I am hopeful we will sort something out in the not too distant future."

Should the confirmation come of Ricciardo taking Webber’s place, he will become just the second graduate of the Red Bull young driver’s programme, following in Vettel’s very famous footsteps.

All of Sebastien Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Scott Speed and Sebastien Bourdais have failed to make the step-up to Red Bull, with Vettel the last to do so when he replaced the retiring David Coulthard back in 2009.

Jean-Eric Vergne is currently in his second season with the team, but it quickly emerged that Ricciardo was the favourite to replace Webber when he tested the RB09 at the additional young driver’s test at Silverstone.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee