Pressure is on Da Costa to earn Ricciardo’s seat

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Antonio Felix da Costa has a golden opportunity to win a place in Formula One next year following Daniel Ricciardo’s move to Red Bull.

Ricciado’s promotion leaves a vacancy at Toro Rosso which Da Costa is first in line to fill. But he says he needs to keep doing well in the Formula Renault 3.5 series to earn his place.

“Now we know the chance is officially there and it’s all relying on my [Formula Renault 3.5] results,” he told Autosport.

Da Costa ran an unusual dual campaign in two junior championships last year. He finished third in GP3 following a car problem in the final round at Monza. He also made an eye-catching debut in Formula Renault 3.5 part-way through the season, finishing fourth despite missing five races.

He has had some misfortunes this year and four no-scores have left him languishing in the points standings. “At the end of the day, the bosses want results not explanations,” he added.

“It’s my job to fix the problems and to give them the results so they have the reasons to promote me.”

Da Costa was one of four drivers tested by Red Bull and Toro Rosso at Silverstone earlier this year, along with Carlos Sainz Jnr, Daniil Kvyat and Johnny Cecotto Jnr. The latter is not part of their driver development programme and the other two do not have as much experience as Da Costa.

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.