Hispania Racing (HRT) has confirmed speculation that Scuderia Toro Rosso test-driver and Red Bull protégé
Daniel Ricciardo is to join the team as a race driver from next weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone – with the Australian describing his graduation to the grid as 'a dream come true'.
The move came about after a deal was struck between current runaway F1 2011 World Championship pace-setters Red Bull Racing and tailenders HRT to enable Ricciardo to replace one of the Spanish outfit's regular drivers Narain Karthikeyan or Vitantonio Liuzzi. It has been rumoured that it is the Indian who will be 'rested' – much as Karun Chandhok was midway through F1 2010 – but the team has not so far corroborated that.
“It's a dream come true for me – the first time on an F1 starting grid!” enthused Ricciardo, who has featured in Friday practice for Red Bull 'junior' concern Toro Rosso at every grand prix to-date this season, regularly catching the eye.
“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.”
Hispania chairman José Ramón Carabante and team principal Colin Kolles are both similarly enthusiastic about the new collaboration with the former British F3 Champion and World Series by Renault runner-up, widely-regarded inside the sport as one of its most promising up-and-coming talents.
“This agreement is a reward for all the hard work Hispania Racing has shown since we started in F1 last year,” underlined Carabante. “We're proud that the F1 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.”
“I'm happy to welcome Daniel to the team,” added Kolles. “I'm glad the team managed to conclude this deal together with Dr. Helmut Marko, who deserves my personal respect.”
Prior to today's announcement, Ricciardo had been linked with taking the place of either Sébastien Buemi or Jaime Alguersuari at STR.
The 21-year-old will make it two Australians in the F1 field at Silverstone, alongside countryman Mark Webber.