Ricciardo set to replace Karthikeyan at British GP

London: Australia will have two drivers in next week`s British Grand Prix with Daniel Ricciardo poised to make his Formula One race debut as replacement for India`s Narain Karthikeyan at tail-enders HRT.

Team sources told reporters that an announcement was expected later.

There was no official comment from Spanish-owned HRT but Toro Rosso reserve driver Ricciardo was quoted in the Australian Herald Sun newspaper as confirming the news.

"It`s pretty, pretty exciting," he said. "To make the first one at Silverstone, it`s great. It`s a circuit I know well and it`s just up the road from my second home in Britain."

While Australian Mark Webber, last year`s winner at Silverstone, will be expecting to be in the running for a repeat victory with champions Red Bull, Ricciardo can hope only to get to the finish.

HRT have yet to score a point since their debut at the start of 2010.

Karthikeyan, the only Indian to score a point in Formula One, was making his comeback this season after racing for Jordan in 2005.

A team source said the Indian was still expected to race for HRT in his inaugural home grand prix in New Delhi in October.

Ricciardo, who turns 22 on Friday, has taken part in Friday practice for Toro Rosso this season and has been tipped to get a full race drive with that Red Bull-owned team next year.

"He should learn the team, all the race tracks, to work together with the engineers, get a little bit of knowledge about the press work, about the marketing and this should be the preparation for him to race for Toro Rosso in 2012," team principal Franz Tost said in May.

The highly rated Australian was British Formula Three champion in 2009 and has impressed with his Friday performances.

Many in the paddock had expected the Australian to replace Jaime Alguersuari in the Toro Rosso line-up before the end of the season but the Spaniard has scored eight points in his last two races.

His team mate at HRT will be Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi, who aso raced previously for Toro Rosso and Red Bull and will provide a good benchmark to measure Ricciardo`s talent.

It will be the second year in a row that HRT have dropped an Indian driver and second time they have rung the changes for Silverstone.

Last year, the team drafted in Japan`s Sakon Yamamoto in place of Brazilian Bruno Senna and made several further changes over the rest of the season with Indian Karun Chandhok dropped at the following race in Germany.

Bureau Report

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