Daniel Ricciardo's road to the second Red Bull Racing seat appears to have eased some time ago, according to comments attributed to Kimi Raikkonen's manager.
Steve Robertson was quoted as telling Finland's Turun Sanomat
that talks between his client and the three-time world champions broke down 'some time ago', effectively ending any opposition to Ricciardo partnering Sebastian Vettel in 2014, despite alleged interest from Fernando Alonso.
Although the report does not go into detail, it is thought that salary may have been the stumbling block preventing Raikkonen moving from Enstone to Milton Keynes. The Alonso rumour would no doubt have helped RBR put pressure on Raikkonen to lower his demands, but Ricciardo would not only have been Red Bull's preferred option for the kudos it would give the drinks brand's development programme, but also because he would come cheaper than the Finn.
The Australian is now expected to be confirmed alongside Vettel sometime during this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix – despite RBR insisting that it has nothing to announce on the driver front – replacing countryman Mark Webber, who is quitting F1 for Porsche's sports prototype programme in 2014.