Australian racer Daniel Ricciardo will remain with STR for 2013 but needs to up his pace if he wants to avoid the chop.
Like many drivers, Ricciardo comes from a karting background, having started at nine years old before going on to winning the Western Australian Formula Ford Championship driving in a 15-year-old Van Diemen.
His success saw him win a scholarship into the Formula BMW Asian Championship with Eurasia Motorsport. He finished third in his debut season, taking two victories and a pole position. That year he also competed in the Formula BMW World Final with Fortec Motorsport, taking fifth place.
From there he moved to Formula Renault with Rp Motorsport, entering the European and Italian Championships of the category. He remained a part of the series in 2008, racing in the European and Western European Championships, taking his first European title in the Western European Cup and finishing second in the Eurocup to Finn Valtteri Bottas.
The Australian moved to the British Formula Three Championship in 2009 with Carlin Motorsport and won the title by 87 points from Walter Grubmüller. At the end of the year the Red Bull-backed starlet was handed the chance to test the energy drinks firm's F1 car in the Young Driver sessions at Jerez and the strong impression he made saw him named as their reserve driver for the following season, which he dovetailed with racing in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series with Tech 1 where he finished second.
And although he remained in the series for 2011, this time with ISR, Ricciardo's reputation was growing far beyond the junior categories and, on the back of another impressive appearance in the young driver test of the previous winter, he and was given the chance to take part in Friday practice sessions with Red Bull's junior team, Toro Rosso.
There was talk that his strong performances on Fridays would see him take a race seat away from one of the two regular Toro Rosso drivers. But instead, ahead of the British GP, it was announced that HRT had signed him for the remainder of the season in place of Narain Karthikeyan. It didn't take long for Ricciardo to take the fight to new team-mate Tonio Liuzzi, and with very few mistakes and a continuous upswing, it was the vastly more experienced Italian who was forced to make way when Karthikeyan made his expected one-off return for India's inaugural race.
And although Ricciardo 11 grands prix ended without a single point - his best finish was P18 - it was a productive stint for the Perth-born youngster.
And his Red Bull bosses agreed. In December Toro Rosso announced that Ricciardo would race for the midfield outfit in 2012 as they made a complete overhaul of their line-up.
Starting the campaign with a P9 in Australia, it took the STR driver 11 grands prix before scoring his next point in a season that saw the team fall into obscurity.
Six top-ten results in the final nine races netted Ricciardo 10 points and a new Toro Rosso contract for 2013. And with a Red Bull Racing vacancy potentially opening for 2014, the pressure is on for Ricciardo to not only perform but excel...