Antonio Felix da Costa has been named a Red Bull Racing reserve driver for 2014, alongside Sebastien Buemi who continues in the role for a second season.
Da Costa was widely tipped to replace Daniel Ricciardo at Scuderia Toro Rosso, but the team opted for Daniil Kvyat instead. Da Costa finished third in this year’s World Series by Renault with three victories, but it was still a disappointing season. Most recently, the Portuguese driver has had a sampling of DTM machinery for BMW.
With Buemi also committed to Toyota’s FIA World Endurance Championship program, having a second reserve driver appears important to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
“It’s great to be able to announce the signing of Sebastien and Antonio for 2014,” Horner said. “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.”
Unfortunately the prospect of da Costa or Buemi getting a race opportunity anytime soon – either racing or as a fill-in – is a daft suggestion. Lotus passed up plugging in its own reserve driver, 2012 GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi, at the tail end of this season and with Sebastian Vettel wracking up the records and Ricciardo no doubt keen to impress in the top seat, the doors to actually race at Red Bull are basically shut for several seasons.
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.