Daniel Ricciardo will get his first taste of life as a Red Bull driver on Tuesday when Formula One’s pre-season testing gets underway in Jerez, southern Spain.
The West Australian is set to make his public debut in the team’s new RB10 – one of six cars to be unveiled on the opening day of the four-day test.
Ricciardo joined Red Bull this year after two seasons with sister outfit Toro Rosso to replace retired compatriot Mark Webber as reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel’s teammate.
Ten teams will take part in the January 28-31 test, with only Lotus missing out.
It will be fans’ first look at how a series of rule changes could affect the upcoming season, which begins with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 16.
Turbocharged engines will return to the sport for the first time since 1988 in a raft of technical changes that organisers hope will create greater competition after a four-year reign of dominance from Vettel and his Red Bull team.
The reigning world champions’ stiffest competition is expected to come from a rejuvenated Ferrari, who have been boosted by the return of 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen.
The pairing of the Finn with two-time champion Fernando Alonso would certainly appear to give the Italian team the strongest driver combination on the grid.
However, doubts remain over their ability to dovetail as a partnership without a nominated No.1 driver.
At the launch of their F14-T on Saturday, both men voiced their desire to fight for Ferrari’s first drivers title since Raikkonen’s success seven years ago.
“We will follow wherever the team priorities lie and try to do our best to win both championships,” Alonso insisted at the launch.
Yet, having finished second to Vettel in three of his four seasons since joining Ferrari, the Spaniard will want to be in position to take advantage should the German fail to hit the heights of recent years.
McLaren have also already launched their MP4-29 car as they attempt to bounce back from their worst season in over 30 years.
As a result, Ron Dennis has returned as chief executive officer. Further changes are expected with former Lotus team principal Eric Boullier tipped to replace Martin Whitmarsh.
Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen will be keen to impress on his first outing since stepping up from the team’s young driver programme to replace Mexican Sergio Perez as Button’s teammate.
Mercedes, one of only two teams not to make a driver change over the winter, launch on Tuesday with Britain’s Lewis Hamilton also looking to bounce back from a frustrating campaign in 2013.
Two more rounds of testing will take place in Bahrain next month before the season proper gets underway in Australia on March 16.