Daniel Ricciardo says next season will be a crucial one for his career as he bids to prove he has what it takes to land a Red Bull seat for 2014.
The Australian will be starting his second full campaign with Scuderia Toro Rosso and will go up against team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne once again. With Red Bull's bosses eager to find out if either of the youngsters has what it takes to deserve a seat at its main team, the Australian is not hiding away from the fact that there is now pressure to deliver.
"I'm aware of that, and I know that my targets in 2013 will have to be more ambitious," he said in an interview with Italian magazine Autosprint. "I won't hide and I say that I must and can obtain a podium. I will push to the maximum to make it.
"My Achilles heel is that this year, in the first part of the season, I wasn't aggressive enough in the races. In some aspects I was the opposite of [Romain] Grosjean. Now, however, I think I've found the right balance in showing my capabilities."
Ricciardo also says that he has high hopes for Toro Rosso's new car, which he reveals will not be a straightforward evolution from this year's STR7.
"I can tell you I've already seen it and, when looking at it closely, it's very different from the old one," he explained. "I think it will be better than the one I've raced with this year. In any case, it won't be one of those cars that looks the perfect copy – barely evolved – of the one that raced the previous year."