Sebastian Vettel has laid down an early marker for new Red Bull Racing team-mate, telling Daniel Ricciardo that the squad's recent record has raised expectations for the future.
Ricciardo comes on board to replace the departing Mark Webber for 2014 and, despite F1 undergoing something of a reset with the introduction of new engine rules, Red Bull's four successive title 'doubles' will ensure that it starts the new campaign as favourite to win again.
While Vettel and Webber established a winning record over the past four years, Vettel accepts that his new partner may need time to step up to the same level. However, that did not stop him issuing an early warning to Ricciardo.
"It's a great chance, obviously, for Daniel," Vettel told ESPN
, "In some ways it's the same situation I was facing in 2009, but the team has had a lot of success since then, so expectations might be a little bit higher.”
Despite ramping up the pressure to perform, Vettel admitted that it was good to see another product of the Red Bull development scheme making it through to the pinnacle of the programme. Ricciardo is only the second driver, after Vettel, to progress to RBR, with others having tried and failed over the years. Previous RBR drivers David Coulthard and Webber were not graduates of the programme, although the Scot's initial team-mates – Christian Klien, Tonio Liuzzi and Robert Doornbos – had all benefited from Red Bull backing in their junior careers.
“I think it's a great message that you get the chance to step up,” Vettel said, “[Ricciardo]'s still very young and obviously has been part of the Red Bull family for a long time, so I am looking forward to next year."