Red Bull Racing have today confirmed that Antonio Felix da Costa and Carlos Sainz Jr will run in the RB9 at the upcoming Young Drivers’ Test at Silverstone following the British Grand Prix.
The Young Drivers’ Test is intended to give an opportunity to the up-and-coming talent that is set to grace Formula One in the near future, and it has aided the likes of Giedo van der Garde and Daniel Ricciardo in the past by allowing them to get to grips with an F1 car. However, the scheme has been scrapped for 2014 in favor of in-season testing, with the onus now being on the teams to use their reserve drivers where possible.
da Costa has enjoyed a highly successful junior career, currently competing in World Series by Renault and he has already tested F1 cars for Red Bull and Force India. He is widely touted as being the next star in Formula One, despite being just 21 years old, and this appearance at the Young Drivers’ Test will only extend his credentials and a strong showing could put him in the running for a race seat in 2014.
Carlos Sainz Jr’s father is a legend of the rally world, winning the WRC twice in the nineties and this pace is clearly genetic. Little Carlos has too impressed in the feeder formulae, and although he may not be ready for Formula One just yet, one would expect him to grace the sport in the not-too-distant future.
The test will take place between the 17th and 19th July at Silverstone. Mercedes are forbidden from attending following the FIA tribunal’s decision last week.
Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.
The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.
“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.
Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”
Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.
“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.
Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.