London: Australian Daniel Ricciardo will drive for Toro Rosso in Friday morning free practice sessions as their official reserve at grands prix next season, the Formula One team said.
Their race lineup of Switzerland’s Sebastien Buemi and Spain’s Jaime Alguersuari will remain unchanged, although each will have to give up a Friday session in turn.
“When our team was created, its stated aim was to bring on young drivers from the Red Bull Junior Programme, so Daniel’s appointment as our third driver is an obvious one,” team principal Franz Tost said on Friday.
“Although Daniel has done some F1 testing already, running on Fridays at the Grands Prix will give him a valuable insight into the additional pressures of doing it for real during a race weekend.
“I am also sure that having a hungry youngster on the books will keep our current driver pairing nice and sharp.”
The 21-year-old was impressive in a recent test for world champions Red Bull Racing in Abu Dhabi. He was Red Bull reserve last season after winning the 2009 British Formula Three championship.
“My main priority for 2011 is to win the Formula Renault 3.5 championship but my ultimate aim is to be a full-time Formula One driver and this new role has to be the best step towards achieving that ambition,” said the Perth driver.
Compatriot Mark Webber is currently at Red Bull but his contract expires at the end of next season while Buemi will also be under pressure to deliver for Toro Rosso.
The Italian-based team drafted in the inexperienced Alguersuari midway through the 2009 season after dropping Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais.