Daniel Ricciardo is set to make his Formula 1 debut at the British Grand Prix for the Hispania Racing Team as a replacement for Narain Karthikeyan.
After discussions between the Spanish squad and Scuderia Toro Rosso, for whom Ricciardo is a test driver, it is understood that a deal is close for the Australian to be drafted in to a race seat at Silverstone. Ricciardo has impressed for Toro Rosso this year, and the team had admitted that it was looking to promote him to a race seat this year – with Sebastian Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari under pressure to perform.
However, with both Buemi and Alguersuari having lifted their game – and Alguersuari seemingly securing his future with a strong drive in the race in Valencia last weekend – it is understood that an alternative plan has been put in place with HRT. Ricciardo will take Karthikeyan's place for the remainder of the season, except at the Indian Grand Prix where the local driver will return to the cockpit.
Red Bull chiefs evidently are trying to discover just how competitive Ricciardo can be in a race environment, which is why they want to put him up against former Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso driver Vitantonio Liuzzi. Any deal with HRT is likely to be only until the end of this season, with Ricciardo then moving to either Toro Rosso next year – or even Red Bull Racing if he impresses greatly.
HRT declined to comment about the situation.