Force India signs Juncadella as reserve driver

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Mercedes DTM touring car driver Daniel Juncadella has been signed as Force India’s reserve driver for the 2014 Formula One season behind Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg.

The 22-year-old Spaniard is a former champion of the FIA European Formula Three series and turned laps for Williams last summer in the Young Driver’s Test at Silverstone. In 2012, he also tested for Ferrari in their 2009-spec machine, the F60, after wrapping up that F3 title.

According to a team release, Juncadella “will attend all races with the team and take part in several Friday practice sessions to gain valuable track time and experience behind the wheel of the VJM07,” which was recently unveiled in a series of images.

“Joining Sahara Force India is a dream come true,” Juncadella said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to learn and will hopefully take me a step closer to eventually racing in Formula One.

“To work with the team at the track and in the factory will give me some valuable experience and I will do my best to make a contribution to help the team achieve its goals in 2014.”

The team notes that Juncadella’s “racing focus” shall remain in the DTM with the Mercedes team. He finished 16th in last year’s series championship.

An interesting note for those in tune with F1 history: Juncadella is the nephew of Luis Perez-Sala, the final team principal for HRT (which left the sport after the 2012 season) and a former competitor for Minardi in the late 1980s.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”