Red Bull confirm Raikkonen & Ricciardo link
Christian Horner hints at a two-way fight for the open seat at Red Bull next season
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner says the battle for Mark Webber's 2014 replacement is between Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen.
The confirmation will be baiter blow to the other Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne, who was also though to be in contention for the seat.It is the first time Horner has clearly established the two main contenders for the 2014 Red Bull seat, having until now included Vergne as a candidate to partner Sebastian Vettel next season.Speaking of this week's tyre test, Horner stated the team was more interested in getting a glimpse of working with Ricciardo in the RB9."Obviously there is a great deal of interest in the seat, but it's an opportunity to have a look at Daniel and for him to do some of our tyre-testing work in our RBR car," he told Sky Sports News."It's a great opportunity for him."Ricciardo will start today's running with Toro Rosso before jumping into the RB9 at lunch time.Mark Webber was scheduled to test for Red Bull on Thursday, but the team decided their time would be better used evaluating Ricciardo.Ricciardo, who has scored 11 points to his team-mate's 13 so far this season, previously tested with Red Bull in 2010 and 2009 at the end-of-year young-driver tests, recording the fastest time of the test both years.Meanwhile, Horner defended Ricciardo and Vergne's lowly results of the past 18 months, claiming Toro Rosso's 2012 and 2013 cars have not allowed the pair to perform and show their talent."For sure, both Jean-Eric [Vergne] and Daniel are very quick drivers," he said."[But] you have to look at what these guys have at their disposal."Despite the pair having been on the Red Bull payroll for a number of years, 2007 Formula One World Champion Kimi Raikkonen remains odds-on favourite to replace Mark Webber."We're in a fortunate position in that not only are we attracting fantastic drivers like Kimi but we've also got the opportunity to look at the drivers we have been nurturing in the likes of Daniel," Horner said."We'll take our time to make sure that whoever fills Mark's shoes - and they are big shoes to fill - is the right choice for the team."Like Webber, Raikkonen's scheduled test day was scrapped in favour of running Nicolas Prost.Prost, 31, ran on Wednesday and set the eighth-fastest time.
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