Daniel Ricciardo has admitted the timing of his Formula One race debut could be linked with the longevity of countryman Mark Webber's career.
The pair joked as they barbequed sausages for the media this week, but already posed to Toro Rosso's new Friday driver Ricciardo was whether he is just waiting for Webber to retire.
If that happens, one of Toro Rosso's current racers is expected to get the call alongside Sebastian Vettel, while Ricciardo replaces him at the Red Bull junior team.
"This Friday contract is already like a gift from heaven and the second best thing to being an F1 driver. It's an obvious step forward for me.
"It's premature to speculate about what Mark is going to do," he answered.
Ricciardo, who is 13 years younger than Webber, told Finland's Turun Sanomat that he gets along well with his fellow Australian.
I am very happy with the situation now
"A long time ago he gave me his mobile number. Mark himself had a rocky road to the top of F1 and he is definitely trying to help so that I avoid some of his difficulties," he explained.
And if he should get an early call to the F1 grid, Ricciardo confirmed that he is "Ready.
"I am very happy with the situation now but if something did arise then I would be ready to step up," he said.