British F3 champ Daniel Ricciardo has been talking about his forthcoming F1 test with Red Bull Racing, now confirmed for the beginning of next month, as two of his Red Bull Junior Team colleagues line up trial runs for sister team Toro Rosso.
RBR’s team principal Christian Horner had promised Ricciardo a run-out at Jerez when the 20-year-old took the British F3 championship at his first attempt, and the young Australian is clearly relishing the opportunity.
“No way did I think I’d be getting this at the end of the year,” he said. “This is something I’ve dreamed about since I can remember, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Ricciardo also acknowledged what a huge step up the drive in Red Bull’s F1 car would be from the Carlin Motorsport Dallara-VW in which he was so successful this year.
“The F1 car is just a [wilder] piece of machinery,” he commented. “The brakes are probably the biggest thing – the stopping power they have is quite huge.
“Mentally, you have to be more switched on as well as, obviously, everything’s coming at you so much faster.”
'This is something I’ve dreamed about since I can remember' – Daniel Ricciardo
Meanwhile, New Zealander Brendon Hartley is preparing to test a Toro Rosso at the same December 1–3 Jerez session. Hartley didn’t have the best of times juggling his F3 Euroseries and World Series by Renault drives this year, despite having gained an FIA Superlicence in April and become RBR and Toro Rosso’s official reserve driver until Jaime Alguersuari’s arrival, but now he gets a chance to prove himself behind the wheel at the top level once again.
Also in line is fellow 19-year-old Junior Mirko Bortolotti, fourth in the new-look Formula 2’s inaugural season. Bortolotti was at one point linked with the injured Felipe Massa’s vacant Ferrari seat as temporary cover (he broke the Fiorano lap record while testing with Ferrari last year as reward for his Italian F3 exploits), and with Alguersuari’s seat at the Italian Toro Rosso team still considered to be up for grabs – only Sébastien Buemi has so far been confirmed for 2010 – Bortolotti will seek to impress at Jerez.
Other drivers from junior formulae making the trip to Spain with other teams will be F2 champ Andy Soucek, for Williams, and the top three drivers from Italian F3, Daniel Zampieri, Marco Zipoli and Pablo Sanchez Lopez, who all get the now-traditional spin in a Ferrari.