SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) - Mark Webber has tipped fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo to replace him at Formula One champions Red Bull next season.
The Toro Rosso driver started fifth and finished eighth in Sunday’s British Grand Prix to set out his stall after Webber announced on Thursday that he was leaving at the end of the year to join Porsche’s Le Mans program.
“We’ve already had a few little chats, but we can have some more in the future,” Webber told BBC radio after he finished second in the race behind Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes.
”I think he’s in the box seat...he deserves it and he’s done the yards over here in Europe early doors. He’s been on the canvas a few times and got back up and that’s part of the rules.
“Daniel knows it will be a different challenge in a team like that, the pressure changes. Who knows what is going to happen, but we wish him all the best.”
Ricciardo thanked him for the encouragement.
“As Mark said, let’s see what happens. I‘m not going to get my hopes up. I’ve still got to perform and produce what I’ve got to do and if it all works out then that will be exciting,” said the Perth-born driver.
Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion who drives for Lotus, is seen as a frontrunner for the seat with Ricciardo’s French team mate Jean-Eric Vergne also in the reckoning.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin and Mark Pangallo; Editing by John Mehaffey