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Ricciardo handed practice role at Toro Rosso

ESPNF1 Staff
November 27, 2010 « 'Exceptional' Schumacher had 'impossible' task - Prost | »
Daniel Ricciardo is a product of Red Bull's driver development system © Sutton Images

Daniel Ricciardo, who starred in the recent Abu Dhabi rookie test, will drive for Toro Rosso in Friday practice sessions at all grands prix in 2011.

The 21-year-old Australian will take the place of one of the Toro Rosso race drivers - Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari will alternate in stepping down - for each of the Friday sessions.

The Australian's promotion is a triumph for Red Bull's driver development system, which was set up to unearth the stars of the future.

"When our team was created, its stated aim was to bring on young drivers from the Red Bull Junior Programme, so Daniel's appointment as our third driver is an obvious one," said Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost.

"Although Daniel has done some F1 testing already, running on Fridays at the grands prix will give him a valuable insight into the additional pressures of doing it for real during a race weekend.

"I am also sure that having a hungry youngster on the books will keep our current driver pairing nice and sharp."

Ricciardo, who will continue to compete in the Formula Renault 3.5 series next season, added: "I am really excited at the prospect of driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso in the free practice one sessions at the grands prix next year, so I have to say thanks to Red Bull for this great opportunity.

"My main priority for 2011 is to win the Formula Renault 3.5 championship, but my ultimate aim is to be a full-time Formula 1 driver and this new role has to be the best step towards achieving that ambition."