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Ricciardo confirmed as HRT driver for Silverstone

ESPNF1 Staff
June 30, 2011 « FOTA 'can control direction of F1' | »
Daniel Ricciardo: "It's a dream come true for me" © Getty Images

Daniel Ricciardo has been confirmed as an HRT driver, taking over Narain Karthikeyan's seat for the British Grand Prix.

Ricciardo, who is still a Red Bull junior driver, will make his F1 race debut at Silverstone next weekend alongside Tonio Liuzzi, with Karthikeyan staying on at the team as one of its "official drivers". Ricciardo has been testing the Toro Rosso during Friday morning practice all season and joins HRT through a "collaboration deal" between the two teams.

"It's a dream come true for me - for the first time on an F1 starting grid," he said. "I had to pinch myself a couple of times to be sure that it's real. I'm excited and can hardly wait to drive at Silverstone. It's a new challenge, a new experience, a new team, but I'm ready and will give of my best in any event."

HRT owner Jose Ramon Carabante said it was a milestone for his team to get a Red Bull driver in one of its cockpits and hinted at further tie-ups between the two teams.

"This agreement is a reward for all the hard work Hispania Racing has shown since we started in Formula One last year," he said. "We're proud that the Formula One World Champion team has trusted us in their effort of developing their drivers. Let's hope that this is just the start of a fruitful relationship."

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has overseen much of Ricciardo's career and earlier this year said he planned to get him in a race cockpit before 2012 is possible. HRT team principal Colin Kolles thanked Marko for making the deal happen.

"I'm happy to welcome Daniel to the team; I'm glad the team managed to conclude this deal together with Dr. Helmut Marko who deserves my personal respect," he said.

The length of the deal is unclear and the press release did not mention races beyond the British Grand Prix. Last year HRT driver Bruno Senna was replaced by Sakon Yamamoto at Silverstone before Karun Chandhok made way in Germany and Senna was given his seat back. Yamamoto then swapped with Christian Klien until the end of the year.

Karthikeyan remains with the team but was not available to contact on Thursday.