Perth Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo is capable of becoming Australia's highest-earning sports- person if he can emulate the achievements of compatriot Mark Webber.
That is the opinion of leading celebrity agent Max Markson, who rated Ricciardo's feat of reaching F1 at the age of 22 as amazing.
However, he warned the Duncraig racer would have to remain patient to reap the rich rewards on offer in the sport.
Ricciardo finished 19th in his first outing for Hispania Racing Team at last weekend's British Grand Prix.
He will continue to race for the championship backmarker for the rest of this season under a loan arrangement orchestrated by Red Bull.
Markson pointed out Ricciardo's potential earnings would hinge on his progression and his ability to earn a full-time seat for next season and beyond.
The WA driver still doesn't get paid to race and will earn a salary only if he stays in F1 next year.
"If Daniel can get a (permanent) seat, he'll make a fortune," Markson said. "If he can become a regular Formula One driver beyond this year he should be earning, I presume, anywhere from half a million dollars to $3 million a year, depending on how he starts doing.
"But Webber, when he started, it took a few years before he started actually being competitive.
"He was at the top of the (Australia's rich) list earning $13.4 million last year, so there's potential there."
Webber, one of the senior drivers for championship holders Red Bull, topped BRW's rich list last year as the nation's highest-earning sportsman.
His $13.4 million for 2010 was up $4.4 million on the previous year and came on the back of a season in which he missed out on the championship to teammate Sebastian Vettel only in the final race in Abu Dhabi.
NBA basketball star Andrew Bogut was second with $12.6 million. Motor cycling duo Chad Reed ($7.5 million) and Casey Stoner ($6.8 million) were next.
Ricciardo's hopes of securing a full-time seat with Toro Rosso remain wide open, with Red Bull's sister team delaying until the end of this season an announcement on its line-up for next year. Existing Toro Rosso drivers Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi have responded well to the pressure of having Ricciardo waiting in the wings, scoring points in each of the past four races.
But team principal Franz Tost told the official Toro Rosso website he still did not know what the driving pairing would be for 2012.
He said Ricciardo's move would only benefit the young driver.
"Now he's been offered the chance to race and I can see only advantages in this," Tost said.
"Participating in (Friday's first practice session) is not the same as doing a complete race weekend, so he will be much better prepared for next year."
"If Daniel can get a (permanent) seat, he'll make a fortune.""Celebrity agent *Max Markson *