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F1 NEWS 

Daniel Ricciardo says securing Toro Rosso drive a "big relief"

Daniel Ricciardo, HRTDaniel Ricciardo says it was a "big relief" to hear he has secured a racing seat with the Toro Rosso team for the 2012 season.

The Australian, who raced with the HRT team during the second half of 2011, was confirmed at the Faenza squad yesterday alongside Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne.

He conceded he was slightly concerned about his future in F1 until he got the news.

"I was actually at home, it was after dinner and the phone call came," he said of the news. "It was short, sharp and to the point, but it contained all the news I wanted to hear.

"It was an awesome Christmas present and a big relief. I was with Mum and Dad at the time and I came out of my room and told them the news and it felt pretty special.

"Until something is done you are always going to be a little bit concerned, but I know everyone at Red Bull is looking after my interests and I felt I had done a good enough job this year for them to try and find me a seat for 2012. I had faith something would come through.

He added: "It feels amazing! It's nice coming into next season knowing what I'm doing and being able to focus solely on that. I am looking forward to working with a good group of people that I already spent a lot of time with this year. So there's plenty to look forward to in 2012."

Ricciardo reckons partnering rookie Vergne, who was his team-mate in the Renault 2.0 series, will be a "proper test" for both.

"We had a pretty good relationship by the standard of racing driver team-mates," he added. "As we progressed, the rivalry got stronger between us, but the important thing is that we respect one another. We both want to beat each other more than anyone else and it's been like that since we first raced together.

"It's a good thing and means we will get the maximum out of the equipment we are given. Next year will be a proper test for both of us."

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