Race to replace Ricciardo at Toro Rosso underway
Red Bull and Toro Rosso driver advisor Dr. Helmut Marko has ruled out GP2 racer Felipe Nasr from the race. Nasr, a 21-year-old Brazilian, reportedly had financial help from Banco do Brasil and Sky Brasil.
However, when asked if he was in the running, Marko replied: “No. I know him. Despite being in the championship for a while he has not won a race.”
Next in line is Red Bull sponsored 22-year-old Antonio Felix da Costa. The young driver currently competes in Formula Renault 3.5 series and has previously tested for Red Bull and Force India at the Young Driver’s Test.
Marko commented on da Costa without hinting anything on the future. He said “Costa impressed me last year in his debut in World Series, winning several races. But this year, he is not going so well. Let’s see, we are not in a hurry. There are many races left in competitions where there are drivers in our junior programme.”
Next up are two 19-year-old drivers, Carlos Sainz Jr, son of World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz and Russian Daniil Kvyat. Both compete in GP3 for the MW Arden team. The team itself is owned and operated by Red Bull driver Mark Webber and Team Principal Christian Horner.
Choosing one of them is a given but Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost has doubts over their tender age. Tost said: “I think usually Formula One drivers should be at least 20 or 21. But there are many other factors. We have some young drivers with extraordinary talent.”, referring to Sainz Jr, Kvyat and Da Costa.
“We have until the start of next season. We’ll see what we do”, he added.