Daniel Ricciardo admits it is a relief to know his F1 future is secure after the recent confirmation of his move to Red Bull for the 2014 season.
Ricciardo will replace fellow Australian Mark Webber in the Red Bull line-up after Webber elected to leave F1 to move to sportscars next year.
Big things are expected of the 24-year-old when he makes the move up to the championship winners and he admitted it was a relief to know that his plans for the new season had been finalised.
“For anyone wondering if the deal has been done for ages, I can say categorically that it hasn't – or if it has, nobody told me,” he told the Herald Sun
. “I found out last Wednesday [28 August]. I was working in the simulator at Milton Keynes, putting the Toro Rosso through its paces for Monza. Christian called and asked if I could pop up to his office for a couple of minutes and when I did he gave me the news. It was all pretty relaxed.
“Obviously there's been a lot of positive talk and a huge volume of rumours in the last two months. You hear those - you can't not - but I wasn't going to get excited until I heard it from Christian or Doctor Marko.
“Now it's done, I think the attention and the pressure will fade way. Getting back in the race car on Friday in Monza, knowing my future is sorted out was a relief and a comfort and I could get on with pushing the Toro Rosso to its limits around Monza and ensuring we have a strong end to the season.”
Ricciardo added that his new deal had increased his determination to add to his points tally in the remaining races of the year to repay his Toro Rosso team for the work that they have put in during his time at Faenza.
“My crew at Toro Rosso have congratulated me – but equally all of them have come up at various times and told me not to forget about them just yet,” he said. “There's no way that's going to happen. My motivation to finish the season strongly could not have been higher anyway, but knowing I won't be with them next year just adds another dimension to that. I'm going to scrap for every inch. I know how happy everyone here is when JEV or I score points, and I want to give them a lot more before I go.”