Alonso, Ricciardo or Raikkonen? Vettel doesn’t care

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Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner says that drive and three-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel, couldn’t care less who his new teammate is for 2014. Truth be known, current front runner for the seat, Kimi Raikkonen, probably couldn’t care less either but that’s just his nature.

“I don’t think he minds to be honest,” Horner replied when asked about Vettel’s position over his 2014 team-mate.

“I don’t think Sebastian has any concerns about going up against any driver, and he hasn’t voiced a preference either way.

“He knows Kimi, he knows Daniel. Both are very quick drivers and would represent a challenge for him, but he has not looked to influence the team in any way as to which way we should be looking.”

Two weeks ago the Formula 1 community was set abuzz when Fernando Alonso’s management team was seen speaking with Red Bull. The two-time champ and Spanish driving hero is currently with Ferrari but the Daily Mail says that there are release clauses in the contract that could actually see the Spaniard leave the most historic name in Formula One. He’s done it before when he was at McLaren so there is a precedent.

“Alonso is understood to have break clauses in his deal with Ferrari and has already demonstrated he is prepared to turn his back on one of the biggest names in Formula One after he walked out on McLaren after just one tumultuous year sharing a garage with Lewis Hamilton.”

Then there is the Australian Daniel Ricciardo who sits quietly in the sister team, Toro Rosso, which is part of Red Bull’s young driver development program and the team seem to have tipped him for the nod should they choose to go that way.

Let’s be honest, With Vettel, Raikkonen and possibly Alonso in the mix, Daniel doesn’t stand a chance. You don’t often get that kind of racing pedigree all willing to drive your car and that situation cannot be ignored.

The lure was so strong on many occasions for McLaren’s Ron Dennis when he teamed Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost then Hamilton and Alonso and while those lethal combinations can work, it takes a special team to manage the personalities involved to get it to work. McLaren have proved that they have not been able to make it work in the past but to insure long-term domination but can Red Bull?

The team could barely keep Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel from throttling each other’s necks and arguably Webber isn’t the same caliber as an Alonso or Raikkonen or even Lewis Hamilton. In team terms, Webber was orchestrated as a supportive role to Vettel’s title-winning bids. He also isn’t, arguably, on the same driving level as Vettel, Alonso or Raikkonen although I think one could make a convincing case to the contrary if Webber was the number one at Lotus F1, Ferrari or Red Bull.

The other issue is that Webber isn’t the kind of personality that an Alonso or Vettel or perhaps a Raikkonen is. He’s intense and competitive but not one prone to demanding that he be treated as a number one at the team. Regardless of what you may think of Raikkonen’s nonchalant attitude, telling the team to piss off is not the attitude of a professional such as Mark Webber. He’s more of a team player than that and takes his role a little more seriously.

Given the laidback style of Webber, could the team handle an Alonso/Vettel combination? They got a “C” grade for their Webber/Vettel efforts. As for Kimi? The team will find that dealing with him from is more likely to be a slight tussle between the team and himself rather than Vettel and the Fin. Raikkonen doesn’t seem to give a damn what the other driver is doing so much as getting ticked off by being pestered by the team. Ron Dennis must have driven him nuts!

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