Toro Rosso new boy Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that he 'had faith something would come through' following an impressive first season in F1.
The Australian faced the prospect of not having a drive for 2012 after his former team, HRT, went down the different route of 'nationalising' the line-up by replacing the Aussie with Pedro de la Rosa. Despite the likeable Ricciado claiming he always had faith for his 2012 prospects, he also stated it was quite a disconcerting position to be in during the period in where nothing was finalised.
"Until something is done, you are always going to be a little bit concerned, but I know everyone at Red Bull is looking after my interests and I felt I had done a good enough job this year for them to try and find me a seat for 2012," he said, "I had faith something would come through."
The newly-signed Toro Rosso driver took part in eleven grands prix since debuting with HRT at Silverstone back in July, having previously impressed during occasional Friday morning pratice sessions with STR.
Ricciardo also juggled his F1 outings with competing in the World Series by Renault for ISR, finishing fifth in the standings despite not being to compete in all of the rounds due to his F1 commitments.
The 22-year old did admit his opening season in F1 was a steep learning curve, even from jumping from a reserve driver to a fully fledged race driver.
''Looking back at the whole year, I did more travelling than ever before in my life and I found out it can be really tiring and can take it out of you,'' he said. So I learned how important it is to be on time and to manage my time as efficiently as possible and to rest when I can. There was so much to take in this year and from the driving point of view, as a reserve driver you can see everything the job involves, but until you are actually racing, you do not realise the demands it puts on you, so that was another important lesson.
''I learned to get my priorities right and not waste my energy elsewhere.''
Ricciardo will line up against his fellow Red Bull protégée and former WSR rival Jean – Eric Vergne who also completed a number of Friday outings for the Toro Rosso team. The Aussie expects enjoys a healthy relationship with the Frenchman and expects there strong rivalry to allow the pair of them to extract the most out of the Toro Rosso machinery.
''We were signed up as part of the Red Bull Junior team on the same day and we were team-mates back then, in the Renault 2.0 series,'' he said. We had a pretty good relationship by the standard of racing driver team-mates. As we progressed, the rivalry got stronger between us, but the important thing is that we respect one another.
''We both want to beat each other more than anyone else and it's been like that since we first raced together. It's a good thing and means we will get the maximum out of the equipment we are given. Next year will be a proper test for both of us.''
by Simon Evans