F1 Silly Season News: Red Bull

Ricciardo Red Bull

With F1 on its summer break, we’re taking a look at the 2015 driver market. Next up it’s reigning champions Red Bull.

Few would dispute that 2014 has been a humbling season for four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel. The German has been well beaten by incoming team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, with the Aussie outperforming him in both qualifying and the races.

To make matters worse, Ricciardo has scored two race wins to Vettel’s zero. Few would have bet on that per-season.

This all adds up to one very clear fact: Ricciardo will be a Red Bull driver in 2015. The 25-year-old has a long-term deal and there is no desire from either side to make a change.

But what of Vettel? His contract runs until the end of 2015, but it remains possible that the German could depart if all parties agreed it was for the best. After all, his relationship with Helmut Marko - once Vettel's staunchest supporter - has grown increasingly tense in recent months.

Marko has gone so far as to link Seb with a few alternatives, suggesting that McLaren had made him a generous offer to join their Honda-powered squad next year. Ferrari would also be keen to snap him up if they lose Fernando Alonso at the season's end.

But ultimately it seems highly unlikely that Vettel will depart Red Bull just yet. His best chance of winning is still with the Milton Keynes-based squad, and if they can get back on terms with Mercedes next year there is no reason why he can’t be in the title hunt. After all, he has bags more experience of fighting for championships than Ricciardo.

If Seb did leave, Red Bull would almost certainly promote Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat to the senior team. He has impressed during his rookie year, drawing comparisons with a young Vettel, and recently earned praise from team boss Christian Horner. Jean-Eric Vergne would be a more experienced pair of hands, but the Frenchman appears to have missed the boat; at 24, he has practically achieved veteran status by Red Bull standards.

But any such debate is largely irrelevant. For 2015, it should be as you were at Red Bull

VERDICT: Vettel and Ricciardo