'Right now he (Ricciardo) has the upper hand, which we have seen in Barcelona' - Franz Tost
May 15 (GMM) The signs are growing ever stronger than Daniel Ricciardo is a real candidate to replace his Australian countryman Mark Webber at Red Bull next year.
"I was waiting for one of these questions!" the 23-year-old, acknowledging the rumours, said last weekend in Barcelona whilst flashing one of his characteristic grins.
Some think Kimi Raikkonen is a much stronger contender for Webber's 2014 seat, but it should be remembered that Toro Rosso exists to feed drivers to its energy drink owner's main team.
So Ricciardo, racing alongside Jean-Eric Vergne at present, looks the strongest contender to be fed into Red Bull Racing since Sebastian Vettel a few years ago.
"Ideally for me I'd love to get the Red Bull Racing seat one day, and to sort of really complete their programme," he told Melbourne radio SEN on Wednesday.
"Everyone's always watching -- I'm always trying to make sure I'm turning a few heads. Red Bull for me has created a massive opportunity," Ricciardo added.
Franz Tost, Ricciardo's Toro Rosso boss, admitted on Wednesday that - weighing up Ricciardo versus Frenchman Vergne - it is the young Australian closest to making the move to Red Bull.
"Right now he (Ricciardo) has the upper hand, which we have seen in Barcelona," the Austrian told F1's official website.
"But that is a snapshot right now. Generally I would say that both would fit into the Red Bull concept."