Daniel Ricciardo admits that his F1 debut at Silverstone this weekend will be the realisation of a dream after the Australian secured a surprise switch to Hispania Racing.
The Red Bull-backed driver had started the season as reserve driver with Toro Rosso but will now step into the car previously driven by Narain Karthikeyan after Red Bull reached an agreement to place him with the Spanish team for the rest of the year.
With breaking into the points being unlikely barring something akin to a miracle, Ricciardo said his aim for his debut race was to bring his car home to the finish to gain as much experience as possible.
“I'm very happy to have my first Formula 1 race coming up in Silverstone,” he said. “It means a lot to me. I'm sure, as many of us here, we dream it as kids but don't really believe that one day it will actually happen! It will be a very special moment for me, perhaps a little emotional too.
“I am very happy with the deal. I didn't think I would be racing an F1 car this season so for Red Bull to have found me a seat is awesome and I'm grateful to have this opportunity and the support from both teams. Hopefully it won't take me too long to adapt to the car, in the past I think I've adapted well to new environments and cars so I'm confident that by the end of the weekend I will have made strong progress from the start.
“My aim is to finish as many races as I can and get the experience under my belt. I think this is most important for me as a young driver, experience is priceless. Of course, I would also love to bring the car and the team further up the grid and have some successful races. For the Silverstone weekend I think my first aim is to finish, physically and mentally this will be a good reward and all part of the learning process.”
Hispania boss Colin Kolles said he was pleased to be able to give Ricciardo the chance to make his debut on what he hopes will be a 'reasonable' weekend for the team.
“First of all, I am very proud and happy to conclude the deal with Red Bull Racing and to welcome Daniel to our team,” he said. “He is one of the greatest talents in motorsport and we hope to give him a lot of mileage in order to prepare him for the future.
“Silverstone is one of the classics; it is a circuit where you need a very efficient car and where downforce is crucial. We hope to have a reasonable weekend in terms of performance, even though we are lacking a lot of downforce."