Da Costa gets Red Bull reserve role

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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.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”