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Da Costa and Buemi named as Red Bull Reserve drivers for 2014
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Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  08 Dec 2013   |  9:19 am GMT  |  31 comments

After missing out on the vacant seat at Toro Rosso, Antonio Felix Da Costa has been named as Red Bull’s test and reserve driver for 2014, alongside Sebastian Buemi.

The Portugese Red Bull Junior driver was overlooked for the seat made vacant by Daniel Ricciardo’s move to Red Bull, with Russian GP3 Champion Danii Kyvat being favoured by Helmut Marko.

Red Bull clearly still regard Da Costa very highly as he sat in as reserve driver during the 2013 season at races that clashed with Buemi’s World Endurance Championship events, and has also completed two Young Driver tests for the team.

This increased role for the World Series by Renault competitor will see him complete further Young Driver tests and much of the in-season testing that has been derestricted for 2014.

Da Costa has been confirmed as a driver in BMW’s DTM campaign in the last few days; a change in career path for a driver that was hotly tipped to be in Formula One in 2014.

For Buemi, who raced for Toro Rosso in 2010 and 2011 before switching to endurance racing for Toyota, this announcement is a continuation of his previous role but will have more significance due to the lift on testing restrictions.

“It’s great to be able to announce the signing of Sébastien and António for 2014,” said Red Bull Team Principal, Christian Horner. “Next year sees the biggest change to the Formula One regulations for some time and the return of multiple in-season tests. To therefore be able to call on two such capable drivers is of huge benefit to the team.
 
“In Sébastien we have a great resource, a driver with extensive grand prix experience and that will be invaluable. António, on the other hand, is an up-and-coming talent with whom we already have a good working relationship. I’m sure that his contribution will be just as important during what is sure to be an intensely busy season.”
 

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31 Comments
  1. Jon Wilde says:

    James, pretty sure Antonio confirmed his seat with BMW in the DTM for 2014 at the same time as the RBR reserve seat.

    Interesting to see if he carries RB backing into DTM, previously RB have supported the lead Audi team. ( with Jamie Green)

    I expect to see him racing with Toro Rosso by mid season.

    1. Luke says:

      Who do you see him replacing?

      1. Random 79 says:

        I wouldn’t like to say, but I also wouldn’t like to be Vergne.

    2. Martin says:

      Are you expecting Vergne to be dumped for not beating Kvyat? Or for Kyvat to struggle badly?

      1. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        Vergne has broadly matched Ricciardo. If Ricciardo hadn’t had half a season with HRT, perhaps it would have been even closer. I suspect that if Ricciardo bombs in 14, they might promote Vergne or parachute in a Tier 1 driver if someone were to come on the market.

      2. Martin says:

        My feeling is that Vergne has spent two seasons making a mess of his qualifying runs by making significant errors at a corner. I feel that can’t just be down to Ricciardo being slightly more experienced – it is possibly more about Vergne’s reportedly tense nature.

        My own view is that Ricciardo is unlikely to bomb in terms of pace in qualifying or over a stint. I think in the details Vettel will have him covered, so races will fall his way, while Ricciardo will wonder how it happened.

      3. Tealeaf says:

        If Vergne gets beat by Kvyat then he’s definitely out.
        If Kvyat loses by a big margin I think he’s out too. What I can see happening is Kvyat getting a break from Vergne after a few races and controls him for rest of the season, so if that will be the case then its not hard seeing Kvyat replacing either Vettel or Ricciardo for 2015, in Vettel’s case that Ferrari drive is not a million miles away now and for Ricciardo he needs to fight Seb like Webber did in 2009 and 2010 coz if he has a Webber like year e.g. 2011 and 2013 then I would say Ricciardo would be out too, whats really intereting is what would happen if Ricciardo can do a Hamilton 2007 and challenge his establshed ‘invincible’ world champion and beat him then there’ll be some interesting talking point.

      4. Martin says:

        I haven’t seen Kyvat race anything, so I’ve no idea if he’s likely to be able to exploit Vergne’s tendency for errors in qualifying.

        Vettel to Ferrari is plausible, but sign up within 12 months of the 9-month winning streak?

        If the Ferrari car and engine are weak next year, while Alonso might leave, it wouldn’t be great timing for a 27 year old. Vettel will be wise enough to know that Schumacher removed his value to Ferrari by joining Mercedes. Alonso worked that one out and has tried to become the favoured one – the relationship is testy, mostly due to the performance of the car. If that is good and Alonso thinks he can win, then why would he leave for McLaren Honda?

      5. James Allen says:

        He looks very good but it’s a big step up mentally that will be the test

      6. Jon Wilde says:

        I think JEV will be under significant pressure to perform from the outset. Red Bull are not usually this patient with their young driver programme. as Klien, Speed, Buemi, Alguersuari will attest.

      7. Martin says:

        I agree that Vergne will be under pressure to perform, especially to consistently deliver in qualifying and stop the errors. Buemi got three seaons and Alguersuari 2.4, so at the end of this year he needs to be driving for a different team.

  2. Ruben Vicente says:

    Hi James,
    You are missing some info there. António announced on friday that he’s going to race with BMW in DTM.

    1. Peter says:

      That is mentioned in the article above !!

      1. Ruben Vicente says:

        Peter, it was not mentioned at the time of writing, as you can read on other comments on this post.

  3. Random 79 says:

    Is Buemi still hoping for a race seat in F1 or is he a confirmed test driver like Gary Paffett now?

    1. Ross says:

      He has a good seat in WEC and gets paid. He has done two seasons in F1 and if I was him I’d much rather be paid for WEC and by Red Bull for being a reserve driver than scrapping money together for the seat at Caterham.

      One race for Red Bull if the chance arises is better than trawling along at the back of the grid all season.

    2. Martin says:

      I think the answer is both. Wurz and del la Rosa showed brief returns are possible, but in the foreseeable future where would he get a drive?

      I don’t see any downside for him. It will be occasional drives in F1 to keep him sharp, but nothing so extensive that the LMP1 car is difficult to adapt to. It probably doesn’t hurt with sponsors that he’s associated with a four-time WCC team.

    3. James says:

      Horner said during the summer that Buemi wouldn’t be under consideration for a race seat as he has a very nice gig in WEC.

  4. Richard says:

    I hate Sunday’s during the winter stop, no matter how awfull last season was…

  5. JCA says:

    Interestingly, Ferrari has also eyed DTM to develop Raffaele Marciello (their next protege), as the cars basically drive like single seaters and, according to Ferrari, the teams are more professional than GP2 and WSR3.5. They also don’t clash with F1 weekends, and thus simulator work or GP2.

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/110272

    Also, Chris Harris recently had some fun in a DTM car.

    http://www.pistonheads.com/news/default.asp?storyId=28999

  6. Luis says:

    That,s right! He is confirmed as BMW driver for the DTM. As far as I know the DTM calendar allows António to be present in 90% of the F1 grand-prix. Yeah, it would be nice to test him along side Kvyat, and even Ricciardo and Vergne, and compare results… iT would confirm what we alreay know!!!

    1. Random 79 says:

      And what do we already know!!! I’m only asking because I don’t know!!!

    2. JCA says:

      Actually, DTM purposely avoids F1 weekends, so AFdC could do every Grand Prix in the simulator.

      A driver could theoretically run a full DTM season as well as a full GP2/3 season, though it would have to be a driver in a major teams development program, in order for BMW, Merc or Audi to do them a favour.

      They normally only use factory drivers (some Audi and BMW drivers also did races the Blancpain Endurance Championship, or even ALMS, in works GT3/GTE teams during off weekends this year).

      I would imagine that, with the SuperGT technical regulations tie-up and the future joint series in the US, more paying drives should open up for drivers who can’t get into F1, for whatever reason.

  7. Anil says:

    James, it would be great to see a feature one day as to the importance of having a great reserve driver/simulator driver and how their feedback is used/what it is they do.

    Ferrari getting PDLR was seen as something really good for them but I’m unsure as to the scale of work they do. Is it just to take some of the workload off of Alonso come testing?

    1. Random 79 says:

      That’s a good idea.

    2. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

      PDLR had extensive simulator experience and has carved out a niche for himself as a result. I think Ferrari determined they could use him as a benchmark (ie compared to McLaren’s) when developing their own system.

  8. Omniprescient says:

    Kvyat was NOT chosen by Helmut, it was an overwhelming choice by the decision-makers at RBR. Take him to bank, time will prove the choice. That’s not to deny Marko’s instincts, he was fundamentally right re Seb

  9. Mr Squiggle says:

    I’d be very interested in why DTM is starting to shape up as series where skills for F1 are either maintained or developed.

    I don’t see anything of DTM down here in Melbourne.

    Di resta’s background puzzled me when he first arrived.

    1. JCA says:

      There was an article on the Autosport website that basically said that, according to Ferrari, DTM teams create a much more professional environment than GP2 and WSR3.5.

      Which makes sense, as all the teams are in effect ‘works’ teams, with full manufacturer backing, technical and financial (none of them are on the precipice of bankruptcy). Merc and Audi have main teams, that get most of the focus, with junior teams in addition. BMW run 4 two car teams fairly equally.

      GP2 and WSR3.5 have all privateer teams, with the result of budgetary pressure that encourages cost cutting and pay drivers.

    2. JCA says:

      Just to ad, they live stream the races on their YouTube channel, if you are interested.

  10. Firebaws says:

    I bet you Lotus would prefer to have Red Bulls reserves than Maldonado/( and maybe Grosjean? The jury is still out for me!). Perhaps if Lotus did fantasy F1 Drivers instead of investors they would be a stronger outfit for 2014.

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