Daniel Ricciardo has said it is "unlikely" he is already being lined up for a race seat at F1 pacesetter Red Bull Racing.
Undoubtedly the energy drink company's youngster of the moment, the 22-year-old Aussie ace has been placed with Red Bull backing at HRT and linked strongly with a move next year to the secondary team Toro Rosso.
Amid continuing rumours that Mark Webber could be nearing retirement, however, Red Bull driver manager Dr Helmut Marko this week indicated it is "likely" the 34-year-old's successor will be the "other" Australian.
Ricciardo was therefore asked by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport if he is targeting a Toro Rosso or Red Bull Racing seat for 2012.
"Before I get to that point, I have to prove that I deserve it," he answered.
"So first of all I need to get to the level of (HRT teammate) Tonio Liuzzi. That is a realistic goal.
"It would be great to sit in a Red Bull, but I think that's unlikely. It would be nice to have a place in a Formula One team - where, I don't really care," added Ricciardo.
F1 break 'bearable' as pressure lifts - Buemi
Sebastien Buemi has admitted he will enjoy his holidays much more in the wake of his impressive performance in Hungary.
Shunted to the back of the grid with a pre-race penalty after a disappointing run of form, the Swiss climbed 15 positions through the field in Budapest to finish eighth.
He called it "one of my best" drives ever, amid intense pressure at Toro Rosso as the second Red Bull team looks for a vacancy for the rising youngster Daniel Ricciardo.
Asked if Hungary was therefore a weight off his shoulders, 22-year-old Buemi told the Swiss 20 Minuten publication: "It's true. The holiday weeks will now be bearable!"
Even so, speculation that 2011 could be Buemi's third and last season at Toro Rosso is likely to continue throughout the August pause.
Asked if he will take the chance to have some talks with other teams, he insisted: "I am under contract to Red Bull until 2013, so it's not my decision.
"They are free to put me wherever they want in one of their teams," said Buemi, referring to Toro Rosso as well as the premier team Red Bull Racing.
"It is also possible to drive for another team, but the parent (Red Bull) will have the say. The guys have expressed their satisfaction with my performance so my morale is good," he added.
Buemi said he is comfortable because of his performance relative to teammate Jaime Alguersuari.
"It is the only driver with whom I fight on equal terms," he insisted. "I always fight to finish ahead of him both in qualifying and the races, and in 11 races I have beaten him eight times.
"It's very positive," said Buemi.
Hamilton, Ferrari flirt with the future during summer break
With factories closing for the summer break, some sections of the media are left only to speculate about the future.
One hypothetical scenario is Lewis Hamilton reunited with his former McLaren nemesis Alonso at Ferrari, however unlikely some observers consider that to be.
But the British driver this week admitted it is a possibility, thanking the Spaniard for helping him "improve as a driver" as his teammate in 2007 and refusing to dismiss Ferrari as a future employer.
"We are talking about a fantastic team and you never know what could happen," Hamilton told the Spanish sports newspaper AS.
And on Friday, the Telegraph's Tom Cary published comments by Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali that indicated Hamilton's affection for the famous Italian team is not a one-way street.
Asked if he has found Hamilton's erratic behaviour this year a turn-off, Domenicali answered: "Not at all.
"I always state that in my view the top three drivers in the championship are Fernando, Lewis and Sebastian. And from that point of view my attitude has not changed one bit.
"But I'm concentrating on my drivers at the moment."
Domenicali admitted he admires Hamilton's non-stop "attack mode", for instance when the field is lined up behind the safety car in wet conditions and drivers are busily radioing the pits.
"It's funny sometimes ... you hear all the drivers saying 'No way, I cannot see anything' ... and then you get Lewis and he is saying 'No, no. Let's go for it'. And for a driver to have this attitude is a great thing," he said.
Calendar could grow beyond 20 races - Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone has revealed the F1 calendar could expand beyond 20 races.
Originally, the 2012 schedule featured an unprecedented 21 dates, but FIA president Jean Todt insisted the number would ultimately drop to 20 as agreed with the teams.
Indeed, the latest version circulated in the Hungaroring paddock last weekend featured 20 races, with Turkey dropped.
The teams, fearing staff burnout, are keen for the calendar to remain capped at 20 races per season.
But Williams chairman Adam Parr told Reuters this week that the schedule "can increase a little bit" in conjunction with a change to the event format.
"We could have 21 (races)," F1 chief executive Ecclestone, the author of the annual calendar, told the Daily Express.
He suggested the teams will agree to an extra race on the grounds that the one it would need to replace might be Monaco or another favourite.
"If we say we have got to get rid of Monaco, they would say we would rather not," Ecclestone said.
Barrichello unsure he wants Williams stay
Rubens Barrichello has continued to admit his frustration at Williams amid uncertainty about his race seat beyond 2011.
Germans Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg are being mentioned as possible partners for the Brazilian veteran's current teammate Pastor Maldonado next year.
39-year-old Barrichello has in recent days been quoted as sounding impatient with Williams' recent experimentation at grands prix, insisting he has "never wanted to be a test driver".
Barrichello is now quoted by Italy's Corriere dello Sport: "It's an incredible situation. I don't know if I will continue next year in these conditions.
"In recent months we have brought too many aerodynamic parts, we could not test them completely and honestly you can't use a race for testing.
"We are confused, the team is shrouded in uncertainty."
Oxfordshire-based Williams is indeed set to change considerably for 2012, with technical chief Sam Michael replaced by Mike Coughlan and Renault instead of Cosworth to supply the engines.
"I think people needed to feel change," said chairman Adam Parr, with the famous British team only ahead of Lotus, HRT and Virgin in the constructors' championship.
"Everyone individually has been doing the best they can.
"But there's the sense that we are not getting the results and we needed a change, and people like what we are doing and where we are going," he added.
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