Mark Webber’s 4 possible replacements for next season

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Updated: July 15, 2013

After Mark Webber’s announcement of retiring from the sport at the end of the season. Who are the possible contenders of replacing the Australian next season?

 

1. Kimi Raikkonen

F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus in Abu Dhabi

Nationality – Finland

Age – 33

Current team – Lotus-Renault

Race wins – 20

Ever since Webber’s announcement of leaving Formula 1, all eyes have turned to the 2007 world champion, Kimi Raikkonen.

The 33 year old has been heavily linked with Red Bull. Since Raikkonen’s comeback to Formula 1 in 2012 after being away from the sport for 3 years taking part in rallying and NASCAR he has shown that the man from Finland has still got it.

Raikkonen

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is in his second season with the Lotus team and has so far sealed two race wins in last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and in this year’s opening Grand Prix in Australia.

The Finnish driver impressed a lot of people last season by finishing third place in the world championships table with 207 points below Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. In the current season, Raikkonen is in the same position in the world championship standings.

If Raikkonen was to join Vettel at Red Bull it would be interesting to see what the situation could be like between the two world champions. Vettel has told the media his feelings for Raikkonen by saying that they are good friends when off the track.

Would Vettel still be Red Bull’s number 1 driver?

 

2. Daniel Ricciardo

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Nationality – Australia

Age – 24

Current team – Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Daniel Ricciardo from Australia could possibly replace his fellow Australian next season.

Ricciardo made his debut into Formula 1 in 2011 by driving for HRT (Hispania Racing Team). The 24 year old joined Toro Rosso at the start of the 2012 season and has been their driver ever since.

Toro Rosso are the sister team with Red Bull and has been mentioned as the “Red Bull academy team”. Triple world champion, Sebastian Vettel, won his first ever Grand Prix in 2008 with Toro Rosso which impressed the staff of Red Bull and has been since one of the most successful drivers of all time.

Could Ricciardo be following the footsteps of Vettel?

Well, so far into the current season the Australian has been very impressive and has shown to the people of Red Bull why he should be Webber’s replacement.

Ricciardo’s highest finish in a Grand Prix so far this season is 7th place and has so far achieved 21 points which is an impressive performance when driving for a mid-table team.

The driver is young and has had two and a half years of experience in Formula 1 and is battling with team mate Jean-Eric Vergne for the Red Bull seat.

 

3. Jean-Eric Vergne

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Nationality – France

Age – 23

Current team – Toro Rosso-Ferrari

With Jean-Eric Vergne being another candidate for Webber’s replacement it indicates that both drivers from Toro Rosso are going for the driving seat of their dreams.

Vergne joined Toro Rosso on the same week as Ricciardo did back in December 2011 and have been team mates ever since.

The Frenchman is a year younger than Ricciardo which can suggest less racing experience but not by a big difference.

The 23 year old does have more career points than Ricciardo which is 29 points, 6 points ahead of the Australian.

There is hardly any difference between the two drivers which would give Red Bull a very long and difficult decision if the team would have to pick between Vergne and Ricciardo.

 

4. Nico Hulkenburg

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Nationality – Germany

Age – 25

Current team – Sauber-Ferrari

Nico Hulkenburg can be seen as one of the most underrated drivers in Formula 1.

The German driver started his F1 career at Williams back in 2010 and secured his first ever pole position in his race weekend

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debut at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Unfortunately, Hulkenburg’s performance in Brazil was not enough to impress Frank Williams and was not offered an extended contract.

Hulkenburg joined Force India at the start of the 2011 season to become the team’s reserve driver and got a full time seat in the 2012 season after Adrian Sutil was banned from the sport.

The 25 year old out qualified his team mate, Paul Di Resta, 12 times throughout the 2012 season and was impressive once again in Brazil as the German lead the race until a collision with Lewis Hamilton.

Hulkenburg has lead a couple of races during the current season in the Sauber but some critics have put it down to luck.

According to some sources, Sauber are behind on Hulkenburg’s wages which could see the German leave at the end of the season if wages aren’t sorted.

 

Jamie Formula 1 article by Jamie Davies

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