THE doyen of Formula One team owners, Sir Frank Williams, predicts Australia's Daniel Ricciardo will be the sport's next star.
But Williams won't be able to get him into the cockpit of one of his cars.
West Australian Ricciardo, 21, is committed to Red Bull and this year will start driving for the smaller of the outfit's two teams, Toro Rosso, in Friday practice sessions at each grand prix.
Speculation is strong in F1 circles that Ricciardo could make his GP debut this year, replacing either of Toro Rosso's drivers, Swiss Sebastien Buemi or Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari, if they don't step up.
Williams' comments are contained in a poll by ESPN, in which several motor racing identities were quizzed.
When asked to name the driver to watch this year, he replied: Red Bull and Toro Rosso reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo.
Williams begins the 2011 campaign with veteran Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello and Venezuelan rookie Pastor Maldonado, whose reputed $15 million personal sponsorship won him his seat at the expense of highly rated German youngster Nico Hulkenberg.
While Ricciardo awaits his F1 race debut he will drive again in the World Series by Renault, this time for the ISR team.
The Renault season starts in Spain in mid-April, five weeks after the 20-round F1 championship begins.
Ricciardo came within two points of winning the series for 3.5-litre Renault-engined open-wheelers in his first season with French team Tech 1 last year, but was pipped by Russian Mikhail Aleshin in the final race.
Thanks "Girls Like F1 Too" and "PerthNow".