Former F1 team principal Paul Stoddart does not believe that his fellow Aussie, Daniel Ricciardo, will be given equal footing to compete in his first year as Sebastian Vettel’s teammate at Red Bull Racing, and has urged the Perth-born driver to accept a subordinate role – for the moment.
Stoddart, the airline magnate who ran the Minardi F1 team from 2001 until 2005, feels that Ricciardo – who graduates to the senior Red Bull team after two seasons at STR – will have limited opportunities to compete on equal footing, despite the talent he possesses.
“It’s very hard to be a team-mate to Sebastian,” Stoddart told the Dutch GP Update website in the lead-up to giving his two-seater F1 cars a number of promotional runs during the Australian Grand Prix build-up.
“Despite all the efforts to downplay that it’s not his [Vettel’s] team, it is his team.
“Daniel has to accept that he’s going to be second best, which is very hard for a racing driver to do, especially a young racing driver. If he can accept that, he’s going to do fine. If he can’t accept that, he’ll struggle.
“Daniel has certainly got the talent and the coolness, but he’ll never get equal opportunity [while Vettel is there],” Stoddart added, hinting to the number of occasions where Vettel’s former teammate Mark Webber was unable to challenge his four-time championship-winning teammate during their years together.
Ricciardo’s arrival marks the first driver line-up change for Red Bull Racing since 2009, and his arrival follows the departure of Webber, who quit F1 at the end of 2013 to headline Porsche’s LMP1 assault on the FIA World Endurance Championship.
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