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.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”