Now, another Australian, 24-year-old Ricciardo, has stepped straight into Webber's shoes.
"Obviously," countryman and 1980 world champion Alan Jones told the Sydney Morning Herald this week, "if there is any sort of leaning in that team, it's probably slightly Germanic."
But as far as Ricciardo is concerned, Webber's situation may simply have been created by his slightly awkward relationship with Red Bull powerbroker Dr Helmut Marko.
The blunt Marko famously groomed Vettel from boyhood, but Ricciardo has similarly worked his way through the very same Red Bull development programme.
"It definitely doesn't hurt," Ricciardo told Fairfax Media in Melbourne this week.
"Knowing Dr Marko for a long time and him knowing me, knowing that I've had his full support since day one, it's not going to make me question anything, put it that way.
"I'm 100 per cent sure they are going to give me as much opportunity as Seb," he insisted.
"Where Mark, for whatever reasons, maybe did (question the equality), it won't be the case (with me)," said Ricciardo. "I'll come in with a positive approach."