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.
Really happy to join @clubforce as a Reserve Driver for this season! And more than ready for this BIG year…
Diaz (right) is another prototype class veteran, with recent PC experience (8Star Motorsports and PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports) added to his LMP2 days with Fernandez Racing.
All three of them also competed in Champ Car World Series races in Mexico City, with Gonzalez and Diaz part of a six-Mexican driver entry in the 2003 race (Adrian Fernandez, Michel Jourdain Jr., Mario Dominguez and Rodolfo Lavin).
Ricardo Gonzalez co-drives the No. 43 RGR Sport Ligier JS P2 Nissan with Bruno Senna and Filipe Albuquerque in the WEC.
Around two-thirds of the Formula E grid also race in the WEC, with the two championships preventing clashes so that drivers do not have to pick between them. As a result, it seems inevitable that one of the races will have to change date.
Jolyon Palmer felt “gutted” after a likely top-10 finish in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix was lost following a spin in the closing stages, costing him his first Formula 1 points.
2014 GP2 champion Palmer joined Renault for its return to F1 as a constructor in 2016, but arrived in Hungary without a point to his name from the opening 10 races of the season.
Palmer was left disappointed on Saturday after a red flag knocked him out of qualifying at the first hurdle, but a long first stint brought him into contention for points.
Palmer moved into the top 10 after jumping Nico Hulkenberg in the pits, only for Renault’s hard work to be undone when he spun off at Turn 4, losing three positions in the process.
The Briton was ultimately classified 12th after Esteban Gutierrez’s time penalty, extending his points drought to 11 races.
“I’m gutted as my first points in Formula 1 were there for the taking,” Palmer said.
“The car was good and I was driving well within myself in P10. I turned in the same as normal at turn four – I wasn’t hanging everything out and I was looking after the tires – but for some reason I lost the car in a massive snap.
“I need to look at everything with my engineers to see if there is anything we could have done to prevent it.
“I was running tenth, we had completed all our pit stops, we had good pace relative to those ahead and behind so it looks like we’ve made a real step forward this weekend.
“It was the best drive of my career today and just one small spin took away those points.
“I’m gutted today but I’ll be fighting to get in the same position or better in Hockenheim.”