Daniel Ricciardo has said it is "unlikely" he is already being lined up for a race seat at F1 pacesetter Red Bull Racing.
Undoubtedly the energy drink company's youngster of the moment, the 22-year-old Australian has been placed with Red Bull backing at HRT and linked strongly with a move next year to the secondary team Toro Rosso.
Amid continuing rumours that Mark Webber could be nearing retirement, however, Red Bull driver manager Dr Helmut Marko this week indicated it is "likely" the 34-year-old's successor will be the "other" Australian.
Ricciardo was therefore asked by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport if he is targeting a Toro Rosso or Red Bull Racing seat for 2012.
"Before I get to that point, I have to prove that I deserve it," he answered.
"So first of all I need to get to the level of (HRT teammate) Tonio Liuzzi. That is a realistic goal.
"It would be great to sit in a Red Bull, but I think that's unlikely. It would be nice to have a place in a Formula One team -- where, I don't really care," added Ricciardo.