Adrian Newey has revealed that Daniel Ricciardo presented the 'most promising' solution to Red Bull's search for a second driver in 2014.
Speaking as the Australian was finally confirmed alongside Sebastian Vettel
for next year, Newey confirmed that several names - with varying degrees of experience - had been evaluated as potential successors to Mark Webber, who head to the World Sportscar Championship in 2014.
Without naming names, Newey's 'list' is expected to have included Kimi Raikkonen, who was seen as Ricciardo's biggest rival for the ride, while Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button
and Jean-Eric Vergne were all also mentioned as potential team-mates to Vettel, albeit with diminishing levels of credibility.
“Since Mark announced his retirement, [team principal] Christian [Horner] and I have been looking carefully at the driver market, along with Helmut Marko and Dietrich Mateschitz," Newey confirmed, "We could have taken an experienced driver, somebody guaranteed to deliver to a relatively known level, or equally we could take on a much younger driver in the hope that they'll develop to a very high level.
"We looked at the latter option and concluded that, of the younger drivers, Daniel is the most promising. From Red Bull's point of view, that also fits well because the driver that Christian and I feel is the most promising is part of the Red Bull
young driver programme."
Eschewing the likes of Raikkonen, who could have been relied upon to push Vettel and rail against any perceived favouritism towards the German, Newey compared Ricciardo's signing to another from his previous employment at Williams.
"Nigel Mansell was leaving and we needed someone alongside Alain Prost," he recalled, "We could stick with Riccardo Patrese or take a punt on a young driver called Damon Hill, who was our test driver at the time. I think it's good to bring young blood in and give promising drivers a chance.”