Helmut Marko has revealed his plan is to see Aussie ace Daniel Ricciardo with a full race seat in Formula One "no later than 2012".
Red Bull-backed Ricciardo, 21, has been placed for the 2011 season with Toro Rosso and will drive on the Friday mornings at Grands Prix.
His placement is seen as putting strong pressure on the Faenza-based team's regular drivers Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari.
Indeed, Marko did not categorically rule out a 2011 race debut for Ricciardo during an interview with German-language motorsport-total.com.
"It all depends on the parties involved," said Red Bull's driver programme manager Marko, clearly referring to Buemi and Alguersuari.
"The plan is to see him in a race cockpit in 2012 at the latest," added the Austrian.
No China GP Inspection Until March
China's date on the 2011 World Championship calendar will remain provisional until mere weeks before the scheduled race in mid April.
The Reuters news agency said the FIA will not inspect mandatory changes to the Shanghai circuit until March.
It emerged late last year that the 7-year-old $240 million venue has been told to improve its track surface and rain drainage before it is re-homologated.
"The Shanghai International Circuit has confirmed that all work as requested by the FIA will be carried out and should be completed by the end of February," a spokeswoman for F1's governing FIA confirmed on Tuesday.
"Before a new licence can be issued, the FIA will carry out a final inspection in March," she said.
Pirelli To Make F1 Races 'More Interesting'
Pirelli's 2011 tyres are "very different" to the Bridgestones of last year and should contribute to "more interesting" races.
That is the view of Pedro de la Rosa, the Italian marque's test driver who this week wound up Pirelli's private tyre development programme after four days in Abu Dhabi.
Speaking to Barcelona radio Rac1, the Spaniard confirmed reports that the Pirellis have been designed to improve F1's show and are "very different" to departed Bridgestone's.
"The races will be more interesting, because they have designed a tyre for the show -- especially the super soft which is very fast but also has a very big degradation," he said.
De la Rosa added that he thinks the outcomes of the races will be "more open" with each driver making "2 or 3 stops per Grand Prix" in 2011.
But he played down speculation that the new tyres, combined with adjustable rear wings and the return of KERS, will mean that qualifying is far less important than before.
"Qualifying will always be 70 per cent of the outcome of the race," de la Rosa said.
"Of course, it is true that the difference between the first and the second choice of compounds is very large.
"So those who start further back than eleventh will have a chance to fight for points because the harder tyre will last much longer than the soft. But that's only speculation," he warned.