Antonio Felix da Costa is part of the Red Bull junior programme, and according to insiders he is highly rated by the energy drinks company’s motorsport head Helmut Marko, thus it is no surprise that the Portuguese youngster has targeted a race seat in Formula 1 next year.
Da Costa did not mince his words when speaking to media after the first day of the Formula 1 Young Drivers Test at Silverstone, “I don’t hide it, my goal is to be in F1 next season. But this will only happen if I do a good job in [Renault] World Series.”
“The goal at the moment is to focus on World Series. We need to raise our game there. Things are okay but not magica. We need to win a few races and maybe we’ll see if this step happens or not,” said the 21 year old who lies third in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series standings.
At Silverstone, Da Costa had the cockpit of the Red Bull RB9 to himself and accumulated 82 laps and the third fastest time during day one of the test.
“It is great to have a full day and then the morning tomorrow, so a day-and-a-half, and then I go straight to my World Series race this weekend when I have practice on Friday. So it is going to be a busy week,” mused Da Costa.
The driver who hails from Cascais is no stranger to F1 testing having conducted a session with Force India in 2010. Last year he was invited to test with Red Bull at the Young Drivers Test in Abu Dhabi. He tested for two of the scheduled three days, topping the time-sheets on day two.
“Obviously it is not the first time for me so everything was a bit more familiar,” da Costa said. “I think it was an important test for the team as getting running in the middle of the season is really, really important and obviously the tyres are changing for the next race so we have to make sure we are on top of that and try to understand some of the new parts that are coming in. My job is just to drive consistently and not make mistakes and help the team as best as I can.”
Da Costa’s goal to secure a race seat is a very real possibility as mark Webber’s departure from F1 at the end of the season has opened up a highly coveted seat with the world champion team.
Although Kimi Raikkonen has been linked with a move to the team, both Toro Rosso drivers – Daniel Ricciard9o and Jean Eric Vergne – are also candidates. If either of these two are promoted, it is more than likely that Da Costa will be drafted into the Toro Rosso slot that becomes available for 2014.
“Like I said, I don’t hide that the goal is to be in F1 next year. I think it would be good to have a junior driver step into Red Bull as I think that is what the junior team is all about,” concluded Da Costa. (GP247)
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