Ricciardo to test today with Red Bull

©Peter Fox/Getty Images

©Peter Fox/Getty Images

 

Red Bull Racing has confirmed Daniel Ricciardo will test for the team during the opening day of the Young Driver Test today.

The Australian, who will switch to Toro Rosso for a run on Thursday, is vying for the Red Bull seat being vacated by F1-retiree Mark Webber at the end of 2013.

Ricciardo and French team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne are members of the Red Bull fraternity, currently competing for the company’s Italian junior squad, Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Vergne and 2007 Formula 1World Champion Kimi Raikkonen are also in contention for the Red Bull drive, though the BBC reported on July 9 that Vergne was no longer a candidate for the seat.

Ricciardo last tested for Red Bull Racing in 2010 at the end-of-season Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi and set a lap time 1.3 seconds faster than Sebastian Vettel’s pole time set three days before.

Though called a young-driver test, recent controversy surrounding the safety of Pirelli’s 2013 compounds prompted the FIA to amend regulations to allow experienced drivers to feature during the test.

Teams wishing to run experienced drivers are not permitted to evaluate any new aerodynamic features on their cars. Teams that field drivers who haven’t raced in Formula 1 are permitted to test substantial vehicle modifications.

It will be the first time Ricciardo will be able to pit himself directly against the two Red Bull drivers Webber and Vettel, who are scheduled to test on Thursday and Friday respectively.

The 24-year-old Australian re-entered the spotlight after successive top six qualifying positions at the British and German Grands Prix immediately following the announcement of Mark Webber’s retirement.

Though he ended the 2012 season behind Vergne in the standings, and has currently scored fewer points this season, surprise qualifying performances and occasional strong races have pushed the Australian into greater contention to partner to Sebastian Vettel in 2014.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ricciardo’s supposed main rival in the bid for the 2014 seat, will test with Lotus on Friday.

Red Bull Junior Team drivers Antonio Felix da Costa and Carlos Sainz Jr will also get runs during the test before handing the car over to Webber on Thursday and Vettel on Friday.

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