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Da Costa and Sainz lined up for young drivers test
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Jun 2013   |  11:58 am GMT  |  23 comments

Antonio Felix da Costa and Carlos Sainz Jr will drive the Red Bull F1 car at the Young Drivers Test at Silverstone next month.

Da Costa, 21, (above) is the next driver in the Red Bul young driver programme poised to come into F1 and is a strong contender for a Toro Rosso seat next year in place of either Daniel Riccardo or Jean Eric Vergne, one of whom will either be promoted or dropped at the end of this season.

The retirement of Mark Webber is pushing Red Bull into evaluating the Toro Rosso pair now. Christian Horner said this morning in Silverstone that Webber would be replaced by either one of the Toro Ross pair or Kimi Raikkonen. If they decide in that evaluation process that either of the Toro Rosso drivers is not likely to be a champion, they are likely to be dropped as Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi were last year.

The details of the Young Driver Test, according to the Red Bull statement are that,

“Antonio will be at the wheel for the first two days of the test, with Carlos completing the team’s running at the Northamptonshire circuit on day three.

“No stranger to F1 machinery, Portuguese racer Félix da Costa took part in last year’s Young Driver Test at Yas Marina, where he put Red Bull Racing on top of the timesheet on his second day. Earlier this season, he filled the role of reserve driver for Infiniti Red Bull Racing, while regular reserve Sébastien Buemi was on duty at other series (he was racing at the World Endurance Championships during the Chinese Grand Prix and Le Mans testing while we were at the Canadian Grand Prix).”

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Daniel has to look at the history book re Australian drivers trying to crack it into F1. Marko gave Craig Lowndes a hard time, gave and probably still will give Mark the rough end of the pineapple, So, Daniel think carefully.


If the team are interested in Kimi, and if he accepts their offer (he’d be a little mad not to), then it’s really a no-contest for the Torro Rosso pair.


Now that Mark has announced his decision, I expect we should see both JEV and Ric drive the wheels off their cars this weekend.


James, I detect a sense of apathy among the long in the tooth F1 fan regarding the future driver plans for Red Bull / STR teams. Though they currently have the best car. This is due more to the talents of Newey. And that as soon as he retires Red Bull will more then likely slip down the order, as seems to happen to most top teams at some time. The difference being that the team don’t have a loyal fan base the likes of Ferrari, McLaren, or Williams to keep interest in the team.

In the Schumacher days the German GP grandstands would be a sea of red Ferrari / Schumacher caps and flags. Even looking closely at the last few years its hard to spot the level of loyalty towards Vettel, Webber and Red Bull. Kimi could possibily keep the interest high in the team, though that rather depends on his own interest and motivation to go racing. In my view he would be better staying with Renault, a team that obviously like him, and he fits in well. Also if Red Bull did take him, what would be the point of their B Team – Torro Rosso? For what it’s worth I think the vacant Red Bull seat will go to one of the current Torro Rosso drivers. Most likely Ricciardo but I think Vergne would be better, due to his consistency and higher points scored. What do you think James?


Judging by the body language and general manner of EB at the Team Principal press conference yesterday, I would say the deal is as good as done and Kimi is on his way to RBR.


I don’t think there’s apathy. It’s one of the top seats in F1 and not much else will change at the top


So, what if Kimi says no and they evaluate the TR pair as not good enough?




Something about a creek and a paddle…

No, they’ll find someone, even if it’s their no. 15 choice 😉

Garry J. Berry

James, there is a great photograph of Sir Stirling Moss & Lewis Hamilton with their two Mercedes GP cars at the head of your web-site page. If possible, could you please let me know where I can purchase a high-resolution version of this photograph.

I would love a large print of it on the wall of my office.

Thanks, Garry.


Da Costa is a true talent, unlike Monteiro who was nothing but a decent pay driver. However, I’m not certain da Costa will ever reach F1. I mean, he’s obviously good enough, but Red Bull are unpredictable and he has no sponsorship backing whatsoever. Good luck to him.

Joao Nunes Correia

It is great to see a Portuguese back to the F1 stage after the really good (but not well money backed) Tiago Monteiro.


It is strange that they don’t consider Buemi at all as a possible replacement for Webber. In my opinion Alguersuari and Buemi did a good job given the machinery they had at that time.


Horner during the press conference ruled out Buemi as a contender already.


Horner has said it’s RAI vs JEV vs RIC for the seat. Decision end of summer


I think it has to do with RB being delusional and thinking that for a RB driver to be good enough for the main team, he’d have to challenge for wins. What they are forgetting is vettel did it with a 2nd car that during that season was actually faster than the 1st on some races.. (not to mention the 1st car wasnt at the very top of the grid like it’s been the last few years)


Na the Torro Rosso was not faster than the Redbull in 2007 and 2008, Vettel was the difference, Torro Rosso never had the works updates and setup know how of the RBR team and even the car was built around the Renault engine, Seb stepped into the car during the 2007 season and straight away looked like he was going to challenge for the win at Fuji before Hamilton brake tested Webber behind the safety car and then 1 race later claimed 4th in a car that was nowhere, also the 2nd half of 2008 he just went onto a different level and looked like a front runner in a midfield car, so no neither Ricciardo nor Vergne comes close they should have at least got a podium in the last 2 years, get Kimi in at least he’s a proven winner and a world champion but the english speaking fans don’t like it because it will just make Seb’s stock go even higher as I believe Webber is 1 of the fastest out there, just ask Rosberg, Heidfeld and Coulthard.


Seb stepped into the car during the 2007 season and straight away looked like he was going to challenge for the win at Fuji before Hamilton brake tested Webber behind the safety car…

Quick question, if it was all Hamiltons fault, why did Vettel get the penalty at the next race?


Well said.

The question really becomes, do they want a clear No. 1 with a consistent, points-scoring wingman (Vettel plus JEV or DR, SB or JA), or do they want KImi, an ex-World Champion? Kimi being Kimi, he’ll probably just drive and not concern himself with intra-team politics.

Based on what they’ve established as the measuring stick – a Toro Rosso GP win shows that you have WDC material at the wheel – they’ll probably go for Kimi unless JEV or DR pull a massive upset before the season’s out. Maybe a podium will be enough to get one of them the seat.


Fair play to redbull keeping the production line going and giving young drivers a route to F1 via the Redbull junior team and torro rosso. I hope they promote one of the young guys instead of splashing the cash and buying up an already established great. They invest in so many young guys each year and it would be inspiring to all the young guys if JEV or DR got the Redbull seat.

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