Apr 10, 2013, 12:05 PM EDT
F1 talent spotters will already be well aware of the name Antonio Felix da Costa.
This weekend the 21-year-old Portuguese driver will be first in line to drive for reigning champions Red Bull should anything happen to regular drivers Sebastian Vettel or Mark Webber.
That role usually falls to former Toro Rosso pilot Sebastien Buemi, but he’s racing for Toyota in the World Endurance Championship at Silverstone this weekend.
Da Costa’s promotion comes at a time when the two Red Bull drivers are under intense scrutiny following the events of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Vettel ignored a team order not to overtake Webber and won the race. A furious Webber indicated he was considering his future after the row.
Last year Da Costa juggled full campaigns in F1 support series GP3 while also racing most of the Formula Renault 3.5 championship. His GP3 title hopes were ruined by a technical glitch in the final round, though he ended the year third.
But it was in Formula Renault 3.5 that he really stood out. He seemed to thrive on jump up to the 530bhp cars – almost twice as powerful as what he’d raced in GP3.
He was on the podium at his sixth start and won his seventh. That began a sequence of five races which saw him end the year with four wins and a second. Despite having missed five races he placed fourth in the championship.
Da Costa picked up where he left off when the new season began at Monza last weekend. He was chasing down the leader when a puncture forced him out of the first race. He won the second.
It is surely only a matter of time before Red Bull’s latest Development Driver gets an F1 seat. It’s early days, but he might just be the first driver since Vettel to make the move from Toro Rosso to Red Bull.
Read more: One To Watch: Antonio Felix da Costa
- Jeff Gordon has bad news for his rivals: He’s thinking of racing for 10 more years 0
- NASCAR’s birthplace, the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, to get significant makeover 0
- IndyCar remix: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (VIDEO) 0
- Ten with Townsend: Long Beach Debrief 2
- Ricciardo Australian GP disqualification upheld by FIA 3
More from NASCAR America
- IndyCar: Massive crash triggered after round of pit stops (VIDEO) (17)
- Clint Bowyer hits ‘white-of-your-eyes-fast’ speed of 217 mph in tire test at Michigan (13)
- American-based F1 franchise, Haas Formula, officially introduced (9)
- Andretti drivers say GP of Long Beach should stay with IndyCar (7)
- Kurt Busch won’t soon forget Clint Bowyer’s race-ruining shove at Darlington (VIDEO) (6)