Daniel Ricciardo unsure on 2012 plans
Red Bull-backed Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo says he’s unsure of the energy drink company’s plans for him beyond this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
The 22-year-old Western Australian was placed at Hispania by Red Bull for the final 11 races of the 2011 season in order to gain Grand Prix experience.
With the Spanish team having announced the signing of Pedro de la Rosa earlier this week, there now appears no place for Ricciardo at Hispania.
The situation leaves current Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi under pressure from both Ricciardo and Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne, who put in an impressive performance for Red Bull in the recent Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test.
As Vergne is most likely to be either placed in a third-driver role at Toro Rosso or farmed out to Team Lotus in place of Jarno Trulli, Ricciardo is expected to move to STR as a race driver alongside either Alguersuari or Buemi.
“Not much,” Ricciardo told media in Interlagos when asked of his future.
“Like a few of us we’re not really sure what’s happening next year but I think I’ll live for the moment and try to do the best I can this weekend and see what comes from there.
“Hopefully I’ll keep Dr Marko and the guys at Red Bull happy and see what opens up for next year – but, yeah, it’s not really something I’m prioritising at the moment. My mind’s set on the weekend.”
Ricciardo, a graduate of Formula Renault 2.0, British Formula 3 and Formula Renault 3.5, said his first half-season in Formula One has seemed to pass by inordinately quickly.
“Obviously, it took a while to get the big wheel going but I think I then gained some momentum and have had some pretty good races since then and some good qualifying,” he said.
“Coming in half way through the season – it’s not the easiest thing to do. There’s always going to be things that you’re not 100 per cent happy about or things you know you could have done better.
“But there’s been a good race along the line and a good qualifying at least so I know definitely the potential is there. Just got to try to put it together more often. I think that comes with experience as well and more time in the car.
“I’m pretty happy, especially if I’m to finish this weekend on a good note, then I’ll be satisfied with the last 10 or 11 races. I don’t know, it’s gone bloody quick!”
See below for Speedcafe.com’s Brazilian Grand Prix Race Guide