Ricciardo: I’m 100 per cent sure they are going to give me as much opportunity as Seb

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Red Bull newcomer Daniel Ricciardo is not expecting to slot into predecessor Mark Webber’s awkward position within the team’s hierarchy, as he believes that his strong relationship with Helmut Marko will help him.

Australian Webber, who has left Formula 1 for Porsche’s new Le Mans foray, often hinted that his side of the garage was not treated as well as was teammate Sebastian Vettel’s.

Now, another Australian, 24-year-old Ricciardo, has stepped straight into Webber’s shoes.

“Obviously,” countryman and 1980 world champion Alan Jones told the Sydney Morning Herald this week, “if there is any sort of leaning in that team, it’s probably slightly Germanic.”

Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday 8 April 2011.

But as far as Ricciardo is concerned, Webber’s situation may simply have been created by his slightly awkward relationship with Red Bull power-broker Marko.

The blunt Marko famously groomed Vettel from boyhood, but Ricciardo has similarly worked his way through the very same Red Bull development programme.

“It definitely doesn’t hurt,” Ricciardo told Fairfax Media in Melbourne this week.

“Knowing Marko for a long time and him knowing me, knowing that I’ve had his full support since day one, it’s not going to make me question anything, put it that way.

“I’m 100 per cent sure they are going to give me as much opportunity as Seb,” he insisted.

“Where Mark, for whatever reasons, maybe did question the equality, it won’t be the case with me,” said Ricciardo. “I’ll come in with a positive approach.” (GMM)

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