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Marko grooming Ricciardo for 2013 Red Bull drive

ESPNF1 Staff
August 4, 2011 « Summer break will help Renault - Petrov | »
Helmut Marko has big plans for Daniel Ricciardo © Sutton Images
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Helmut Marko is keen to see Daniel Ricciardo in the cockpit of a Red Bull by 2013.

Mark Webber looks set to continue alongside Sebastian Vettel in 2012 after team principal Christian Horner told BBC Sport: "I don't see any obstacles that will prevent that and I don't see any dramas associated with it. I expect him to be here next year."

But Marko, a Red Bull advisor and mentor to the team's young drivers, said that if Webber leaves in 2013, Ricciardo, who is currently gaining race experience at HRT, is at the top of the list to take his place.

"Mark Webber will stay with us for another year, and then he will decide what to do in his career," Marko told the Italian press. "Red Bull will decide who takes his place, although it is likely it will be Ricciardo".

When asked by ESPNF1 earlier this year if Ricciardo would end up as a Red Bull driver in a couple of years' time, Horner said: "Who knows? Let's take it one step at a time. He's got his opportunity [at HRT], it's down to him now to make the most of that opportunity."

But Ricciardo, who currently has three grands prix to his name, is not taking anything for granted.

"I thank the guys at Red Bull for the nice words, but it's still too early to talk about the future," he said. "I hope there is a chance to race with them, but first I need to beat my team-mate [Vitantonio] Liuzzi, who is a few tenths ahead of me."