Da Costa in Buemi’s Red Bull reserve role for China

F1 Fanatic round-up

Antonio Felix da Costa, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2012In the round-up: Portuguese Formula Renault 3.5 driver Antonio Felix da Costa will serve as Red Bull’s reserve driver this weekend:


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Felix da Costa to be Red Bull reserve (ESPN)

“Antonio Felix da Costa will be the Red Bull and Toro Rosso reserve driver for the Chinese Grand Prix.”

Ecclestone Says Alleged US Dollar F1 Bribe Not Under US Law (Bloomberg)

“The UK?s Bernie Ecclestone, accused of paying a bribe to steer a Formula One racing stake to CVC Capital Partners Ltd., says US dollar wire transfers from a Swiss bank to an Austrian bank don?t give US courts jurisdiction in the case, as the plaintiff claimed.”

Toro Rosso: poor start won’t set tone (Autosport)

James Key: “Force India have done a great job and are looking strong, probably stronger than everyone expected because in winter testing but we’re on a par with Williams and Sauber as far as I can see.”


Comment of the day

Ferrari pole positions have been an uncommon sight in recent years. @Kbdavies asks if it’s just their cars that’s to blame:

Alonso himself mentioned that it wasn?t his best skill, and i doubt Mass would argue against that as well.

Yes, the characteristic of the car (and tyres ?ǣ not again!) are the main cause of this (see 2012 Ferrari), but a driver?s driving style (aka hustling the car around the track) can generate heat into the tires more quickly and hence deliver that one lap pace more effectively. This was why the Ferrari, though bad on one lap pace, was mega in the actual races last year.

Though difficult to judge, I believe neither Ferrari drivers are really putting the car where it really deserves to be in Q3.

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On this day in F1

The last non-championship F1 race was held 30 years ago today. Keke Rosberg won the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch in a Williams FW08C.

The race also saw the return of Honda to Grand Prix racing with their 1.5-litre V6 turbo engine which would come to dominate the sport. The engine was fitted to a Spirit 201 driven by Stefan Johansson.

Here’s some Japanese television coverage of the car in the race:

See more pictures of the car here:

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty

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70 comments on Da Costa in Buemi’s Red Bull reserve role for China

  1. Interesting to see Da Costa get given the reserve role. It’s more of a case of how long before he is in F1 I think now.

    I do fear this might be the end of being a full time driver for Buemi, who will probably adopt a Gene or Paffett-style role now. He might be better off trying his hand at DTM or another motorsport series.

  2. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 10th April 2013, 0:12

    I’m hoping this is a sign of things to come, and that we may see Felix Da Costa in a Toro Rosso sooner rather than later: he and Vettel at RBR would be epic!

    • @vettel1 It would be strange to see Vettel as the experienced guy up against the up-and-coming youngster! Sounds tasty though!

    • toiago (@toiago) said on 10th April 2013, 1:54

      Actually, I’m not sure I’d like him to get to Formula 1 through Toro Rosso. We have seen already that if drivers stay there for too long, they will eventually leave the team, and get their careers in F1 ruined. And all that because neither of them had the chance to prove themselves properly, due to a car which hasn’t been that good for the majority of the time the team has spent in the championship, nor a seat has become vacant in the mother team. And Antonio, as such a good driver he is, certainly doesn’t deserve the same faith as the likes of Buemi, Alguersuari, Bourdais, etc.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 10th April 2013, 2:35

        And all that because neither of them had the chance to prove themselves properly, due to a car which hasn’t been that good for the majority of the time the team has spent in the championship, nor a seat has become vacant in the mother team.

        For me, and clearly for Toro Rosso, these drivers have been given the chance to prove themselves, but none of their drivers (barring one glaring exception) did anything of note. And the car being “bad” isn’t an excuse. When people called Vettel impressive, it was relative to the expectations of the car. When people called Bourdais, Buemi, Alguersuari and worst of all, Speed unimpressive it was also relative to the expectations of the car. They weren’t doing anything with those so-called bad cars. Also remember that rumours around Webber’s retirement have circulated for god knows how long- so a seat at Red Bull is going to be there, but none of the drivers have proven that they are more impressive as the Australian.

        To get an idea of how one can impress, look at Jules Bianchi now. He’s driving for a genuine backmarker team that has dropped 2 rookies after just one season, as well as dropping an experienced driver, for 2 more rookies in its short history. People can see how impressive he is, not based on wins or points, but based on his pace compared to his teammate and the expectations of his car. He’s likely to have a big future.

        If Da Costa is the talent people say he is, then he can do a Bianchi, but in a better car.

        • toiago (@toiago) said on 10th April 2013, 2:54

          I see your point there.
          But what would happen to a driver if even by doing a “Bianchi”, there wouldn’t be the reward for it, in the form of a seat in the top team he was assisted by throughout his career?

        • toiago (@toiago) said on 10th April 2013, 2:57

          Besides, to see if any of those are more impressive than Webber, shouldn’t it make sense to exist a direct comparison between them?

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 10th April 2013, 3:28

            But what would happen to a driver if even by doing a “Bianchi”, there wouldn’t be the reward for it, in the form of a seat in the top team he was assisted by throughout his career?

            Well, it isn’t just teams that assist someone throughout their career that could give them a chance. I can’t remember Kimi Raikkonen having major affiliation with Mclaren (in fact, it was his teammate at Sauber, Heidfeld that did, iirc). And I doubt there are many genuine top talents that somehow never show it, or never get rewarded.

            Besides, to see if any of those are more impressive than Webber, shouldn’t it make sense to exist a direct comparison between them?

            I would assume that they most direct comparison they would have is through simulator work, testing and results in junior series. Otherwise the teams would be wasting infinite amounts of time having everyone be teammates with everyone to just to make a “direct comparison”.

      • JCost (@jcost) said on 10th April 2013, 10:03


        He looks faster than Boudais, Buemi, Alguersuari, Ricciardo and Vergne.

        I fear Red Bull will not give him the drive in 2014 if Webber retires or leaves the team but 2015 is plausible.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 10th April 2013, 7:35

      He looks faster than Ricciardo and JEV, I’d say he’s highly quoted to get a Red Bull drive by 2015.

      • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 10th April 2013, 9:18

        But both Ricciardo and JEV ‘looked faster’ than Driver X until they were dumped in the same car and predictably floundered.

        • JCost (@jcost) said on 10th April 2013, 10:18


          Yes LOOKS. I didn’t say he Is.

          But to be fair to myself, I’ve never quoted neither Ricciardo nor JEV as outstanding young drivers, in my book Da Costa is way above average.

          • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 10th April 2013, 10:35

            @jcost I wasn’t just speaking of you, it was a general snipe at all these people who say ‘X driver is fast’ when anyone can be fast in one series and struggle/look mediocre in another.

            *cough* Maldonaldo *cough*

  3. Cucamest (@kevincucamest) said on 10th April 2013, 0:36

    I think Toro Rosso might get him for 2014 (and maybe 2015) and when Webber decides to retire sooner or later, Da Costa will be ready to take his spot.

  4. Is that change (AFDacosta) meaningful for the wekend? I mean, is he going to drive on the practices? if not, his being called is good, but not THAT good.

  5. TMF (@tmf42) said on 10th April 2013, 5:49

    Da Costa fills in for Buemi who will be with Toyota in Silverstone this weekend, so this is nothing out of the ordinary.
    However I’d like to see da Costa doing a few FP1s in a Torro Rosso to compare him with JEV and Dani. Neither one had a clear upper hand over his teammate and having a 3rd guy competing with them would put things into perspective.

  6. BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th April 2013, 7:14

    I am sure that both STR drivers will love to see their car become more responsive to setup changes while they already see the pressure to shine rise high indeed!

  7. Bleu (@bleu) said on 10th April 2013, 7:35

    At that point, naming him as reserve won’t change much. But I think we’ll see da Costa getting some FP1s later in the year. If he wins the title in WSbR, he should have good chances to race drive next year.

  8. Tango (@tango) said on 10th April 2013, 8:41

    Well I for one am excited to know that the guy who was admitedly faster than Bianchi last year in F3.5 is getting closer to F1

  9. eathan filno (@dazza78) said on 10th April 2013, 9:18

    Has anyone else thought that Buemi is being used as a full race driver, therefore the need for a new reserve driver. Possibly all because of Webber’s future? I haven’t been able to find anything that he has said personally since Sepang. Horner and Marko and others have said what he’ll do and yet no statement that I know of from Webber himself.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 10th April 2013, 9:51

      @dazza78 Buemi is supposed to be racing at Silverstone for Toyota in the World Endurance Championship which is why he isn’t going to Shanghai.

      Webber said he was going to go to Australia and switch off for a while so I don’t see anything unusual in the fact that he hasn’t gone looking for a microphone. He’ll have plenty shoved under his nose tomorrow.

  10. dennis (@dennis) said on 10th April 2013, 10:15


    I thought this was interesting.

    According to an interview of Helmut Marko in “Sport Bild” from now on there will be no team orders at Red Bull.

    Also, rumours about Webber leaving for Porsche’s in 2014 when they hit the Le Mans with their new prototypes are getting louder.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th April 2013, 10:25

      Did you see the comments from Marko, who more or less tried to excuse his bad words towards Webber in their Red Bull magazine too, saying he was misunderstood? (via @F1enigma)

      Seems RBR are doing some appeasing there? I am very sure all is perfectly well then for them!

      • dennis (@dennis) said on 10th April 2013, 14:05


        Marko is talking a lot of stuff on a long day… It’s funny I actually agree with him, basically. There are days when Webber is totally untouchable, but on other days he just seems to be off the pace by a long shot. Even on bad days Vettel is good for podiums or solid points finishes.
        But saying that is criticism in my book. It’s the same thing back in 2010 when everyone was saying “Vettel is quick, but he can’t overtake.” However, as a driver you should be able to cope with this sort of stuff. Webber likes to state his opinion, but when stuff hits back, he’s not as much “aussiegrit” as he thinks he is.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th April 2013, 10:26

      Off course this is not the first time Red Bull tell us they do not use team orders, so we will have to wait and see if it actually means anything but PR

      • dennis (@dennis) said on 10th April 2013, 14:08

        That’s why I think it’s so interesting. No one can’t possibly as daft as thinking that you can get through with a team order by hiding it behind “code.”
        Ferrari totally made fools out of themselves in 2010. And while multi-12 could have meant anything, when you see Webber infront of Vettel behind and they say 21, it’s pretty obvious as well. And now with everyone watching especially hard at Red Bull and Mercedes when it comes to team orders…
        I don’t think they have any other choice but actually let them race now. Or look like even bigger fools.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th April 2013, 10:37

      On Webber to Porsche, I guess this newer piece shows at least Bild think he does, although there still is nothing more than rumour and combining his love for Porsches as cars, the fact he might have enough of it now and his experience of LeMans before F1 in it @dennis
      Porsche of course declines to comment on Webber, stating that they will base their team on their current 10 drivers available.

      Also interesting in

  11. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 10th April 2013, 12:17

    Wouldn’t this three week gap between Malaysia and China have been the ideal time for a non-championship GP…

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 10th April 2013, 12:49

      @geemac – The teams would never agree to it.

      When details on the cost of the Australian Grand Prix were published, Bernie Ecclestone said that the price the organisers were paying didn’t cover the teams’ costs for travelling to Australia and racing. Now, that might only be once FOM and CVC have taken their cut from the money paid, but the point is that it costs millions of dollars for the teams to attend the races and compete in them. Perhaps that number is a little high because by travelling to Australia, the teams are quite literally going halfway around the world, but I cannot imagine that the cost of competing would differ too greatly between the Australiasian rounds the the European rounds. So why would the teams want to spend that much money to take part in a race where there are no World Championship points on offer? There is, quite literally, nothing in it for them.

      Furthermore, why would circuit organisers settle for being a non-championship event? One assumes that they would only agree to it on the condition of having a lower sanctioning fee (making the race even less appealing for the teams), but with Formula 1 being the pinnacle of motorsport and the most prestigious category in the world, organisers of any new race would want to be recognised as being part of the World Championship, rather than having some throwaway non-championship round that the teams don’t want to take part in.

      • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 10th April 2013, 13:39

        How about a compulsory F1 drivers kart meeting?
        That could be televised live, and I think would bring in a lot of people.
        Maybe get them to race Division 1 Superkarts at Mount Panorama; I’d get up early to see a set of heats with a big final featuring every current F1 driver, with the current top 5 placed people in GP2 and the top 5 in the World Series by Renault 3.5 so they can show their mettle?
        I’d definitely get up early for that!!

        • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 10th April 2013, 13:43

          That’s somethign I’d like to see!

          • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 10th April 2013, 15:22

            How about the top 5 drivers from:
            Porsche Supercup

            And also the drivers making up the top 5 championship places from LMP1, LMP2, GT-Pro and GT-Am, GT1.

            And you could have a nations endurance race on one day (with 2 drivers per team for a 3 hour endurance race), and an individual drivers heats plus final on Sunday, like the ROC.
            That would give approximately 100 drivers or so.
            And, if the current season hasn’t started yet, then you take the results from last years overall championship.

            You then hold another event in the Summer break at say the Nordschleife.
            That would be awesome!!

      • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 10th April 2013, 13:45

        I know I know, I just can’t wait to see the cars on track this weekend. After the off season and with an interesting season developing this 3 week break has been torture!

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 10th April 2013, 14:24

        @prisoner-monkeys, some teams might be tempted to race a third car in a non-championship race as a practice/development exercise and some other drivers with access to last years cars might want to have a go, if Bernie would let them.

  12. raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 10th April 2013, 13:23

    Have to say – I agree with @kbdavies comment. The two Ferrari drivers generally race better than they qualify, which does serve to help inflate the public opinion on them in terms of them “flattering” the car on Sundays.

    Some people seem to still have this picture that qualifying pecking order is equal to race pecking order.

  13. xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 10th April 2013, 13:35

    I personally think that people are reading too much into Da Costa being the reserve this weekend; it’s not like Buemi isn’t going to be the reserve next race weekend; Da Costa is the best Red Bull backed driver in the lower formulae that I think is eligible for a superlicence (with the possible exception of Stefano Coletti)
    Nothing more than that

  14. Rob Wilson (@rob-wilson) said on 10th April 2013, 13:56

    Jules Bianchi (Ferrari) Vs Antonio Felix Da Costa (RedBull) For the 2016 World Championship!

    • @rob-wilson – I think Alonso and Vettel will have something to say about that, but imagine how epic Alonso/Bianchi and Vettel/Felix Da Costa would be! If the cars were top 2, would that be the greatest front-running line-up in F1 history?

  15. BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th April 2013, 14:34

    For everyone who does not want to read about anything apart from the action on/around the track in Bahrain, please ignore. For the rest of you – Human Right Watch claims the Bahraini authorities are preparing for the race:

    An HRW statement said the detentions were made without a warrant and with the apparent intention of preventing a repeat of protests during last year’s race, which went ahead against a backdrop of burning tyres and riot police firing teargas at petrol-bomb throwing protesters in Shi’ite Muslim villages.

    Sure enough the government claims its not true (by Information Minister Sameera Rajab):

    “We discredit any news of such arrests in recent days or even months,”
    Nobody could be arrested without a warrant, he said.
    “This doesn’t happen in Bahrain. If there is any action against peace and security, it must be dealt with according to law.”

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