Daniel Ricciardo reckons he's ready to step up to World Champions Red Bull
But young Aussie wants to concentrate on Toro Rosso opportunity first
By Mike Wise
Last Updated: 23/05/13 12:11pm
Contesting his second full season with Toro Rosso, the 23-year-old currently lies 12th in the Drivers' Championship after points finishes in Spain and China.
Shanghai saw Ricciardo qualify and finish an impressive seventh, a result Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner subsequently admitted having been impressed by.
And with Mark Webber yet to agree a new contract with the Milton Keynes outfit, his young compatriot reckons that he would be capable of stepping up should the call come.
"I am ready. But I also don't want to jump into things. Right now I am with Toro Rosso and will do my best here. Should there be any knocking, I am ready," Ricciardo told the official Formula 1 website.
"I will open the door - and probably offer them a Red Bull - and start talking."
Ricciardo can be forgiven for concentrating on the job in hand: a graduate of Red Bull's Junior Team, he's now placed at Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso - the Italian team seen as the finishing school for its star pupils.
Paired with Jean-Eric Vergne, Ricciardo is under particular pressure to perform as the energy drinks giant searches hard for another Sebastian Vettel.
Asked how he approaches the task, Ricciardo said: "To keep on doing what I'm doing and not get distracted by things outside my job. I don't read many things that are written about me, so I keep a cool head.
"When I am away from the races I usually train and don't think too much about racing. And when I come to a race venue I am fully committed. That procedure has worked well for me for the last couple of years so I will continue doing it."
Ricciardo and Vergne replaced Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari at Toro Rosso after it was decided the latter pair did not have the potential to progress.
The decision was particularly tough on Alguersuari - F1's youngest driver when he made his debut at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix - who had little more than two seasons in which to prove his worth.
Dropped by Red Bull before his 22nd birthday, the Spaniard has yet to find another drive. Ricciardo, however, is quite happy to subject himself to such hothousing.
"I fully agree with that. One year is definitely not enough to see the potential of a young driver, but after two years it should show whether you have it or not," he added.
"Two years should be enough. You can't ask for more."
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