For the next few weeks, as we await the return of racing, Motorsport Week is delving into the archives to search out the first time that our grid of 2020 F1 racers stepped into top-level machinery in a public forum.
Daniel Ricciardo left his native Australia for a European adventure in the pursuit of his Formula 1 ambition and captured backing from Red Bull – with whom he would ultimately stay until 2018.
Ricciardo excelled in Formula Renault’s two-litre cars in 2008 and a year later emerged as the British Formula 3 champion – and at the end of the season headed to Jerez to test a Formula 1 car.
Ricciardo’s rise coincided with Red Bull’s and by the end of 2009 the team had produced a race-winning car, which the youngster got to sample at the former Spanish Grand Prix venue.
Ricciardo completed 282 laps in the RB5 across three days of running at Jerez, leaving the test with the quickest time by over a second, and convincing Red Bull that he worthy of a reserve driver role in 2010.
Ricciardo carried out two more days of Red Bull running at the corresponding end-of-2010 young driver test, this time held in Abu Dhabi, and started 2011 by undertaking test and FP1 runs for Toro Rosso.
After eight FP1 sessions Red Bull had seen enough and handed him his race debut mid-season with backmarker HRT.