da Costa prime candidate for Toro Rosso seat

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Scuderia Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost believes that Red Bull youngster Antonio Felix da Costa is well-placed to join the team next season should current driver Daniel Ricciardo make the move to the world champions.

Following Mark Webber’s confirmation that he will be retiring at the end of the season, Red Bull have been assessing their options and have narrowed the shortlist down to Ricciardo and Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen. Ricciardo undertook a test for the team at Silverstone, putting himself in a good position to join Sebastian Vettel in 2014, but Tost has a plan in place should his driver leave.

“Antonio Felix da Costa is one of the candidates, but let’s wait for the decision of Red Bull and, if they take Daniel, we assess who will be the choice for our second seat,” Tost explained to Brazilian website totalrace.com.br.

This would see da Costa join Jean-Éric Vergne at the Italian team next season after Christian Horner confirmed that the Frenchman was no longer a consideration for Webber’s seat.

da Costa’s junior career has been highly impressive, finishing third in the GP3 championship last season as well winning the prestigious Macau Grand Prix. Like Ricciardo, he undertook some running for Red Bull at the Silverstone test as part of their young driver allocation, but he lacks the experience to immediately jump up to the senior team in the Red Bull family.

Of course, da Costa’s plans could be scuppered if Red Bull elect to hire Raikkonen for next season.

MRTI: pre-season testing Day 3 notebook

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Day 3 of pre-season testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway saw the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda continue testing for the second day in a row, with each series completing three sessions on what was their final day of running.

Quick reports on both series are below.

Pro Mazda: Cunha Surges to the Front

While Saturday saw Pro Mazda newcomers like Oliver Askew, Parker Thompson, and Rinus VeeKey lead the way, Sunday saw a pair of second-year Pro Mazda drivers take their turns at the top of the speed charts. In the combined results, Juncos Racing’s Carlos Cunha turned the fastest lap of the final session, also good enough to be the outright fastest lap of the weekend, taking advantage of a fresh set of Cooper Tires to do so.

“I’m really happy, Juncos Racing is an amazing team,” Cunha said of the team’s performance. “On track, we are always improving, never going backwards and that’s very good. We have tested a lot but we still need to learn a lot about the car, though we are almost to a perfect setup. The team has given me everything I need to be comfortable inside the car, to know what the car needs, and to know what I need to be a better driver. We have time to improve and we are moving forward quickly.”

Fellow sophomore driver Sting Ray Robb, now with Team Pelfrey, was right behind Cunha in second.

Combined results across both Saturday and Sunday can be found here.

USF2000: Kirkwood, Cape Motorsports Stay On Top of Deep USF2000 Field

New Cape Motorsports driver Kyle Kirkwood, who topped Session 2 on Saturday, stayed on top of the combined speed charts across the weekend on the strength of his best lap from Session 3 of the weekend on Saturday.

Pabst Racing’s Rasmus Lindh was right behind Kirkwood, on the strength of his quick lap from Session 1.

However, Sunday’s running saw a different driver assert his authority, with Kaylen Frederick, Lindh’s teammate at Pabst, turning the fastest lap during the final session.

Frederick ended up fourth in the combined results, which can be viewed here.

The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires will take to the Homestead-Miami road course on Monday for the final day of testing for the Mazda Road to Indy.

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