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.