It is Red Bull's "intention" to promote Daniel Ricciardo through the energy drink company's F1 ranks.
That is the claim of Dr Helmut Marko, the outfit's driver manager who in Hungary revealed that Mark Webber will "probably" retire and be replaced by "one of our juniors" beyond 2012.
The other candidates are Red Bull junior team Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, amid reports Ricciardo travelled recently to Faenza for a seat fitting.
Asked by Australian broadcaster One if HRT newcomer Ricciardo is a candidate for one of the seats next year, Marko admitted: "If he is doing well, the intention is there, yes."
Budapest was 22-year-old Ricciardo's third Grand Prix, and he was closer to the pace of his teammate, the formerly Red Bull-backed Vitantonio Liuzzi.
"I hope there is a bit more to come because I'm close to Tonio on raw pace in qualifying but still not close enough, and definitely not a bit ahead, which of course is where I'd like to be," he said.