Having been overlooked for a Toro Rosso race seat Antonio Felix da Costa has been retained as a test and reserve driver by Red Bull Racing.
He will share duties with Sebastien Buemi, having stood in on occasion this year when the Swiss driver was on WEC duty.
“It’s great to be able to announce the signing of Sébastien and Antonio for 2014,” said Christian Horner. “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.
“In Sébastien we have a great resource, a driver with extensive grand prix experience and that will be invaluable. Antonio, on the other hand, is an up-and-coming talent with whom we already have a good working relationship. I’m sure that his contribution will be just as important during what is sure to be an intensely busy season.”
The organisers of the Grand Prix of America say that they are “working on restructured financial arrangements for a 2015 race” in New Jersey.
Although it’s been clear for some weeks that the race had been dropped from the 2014 calendar, they waited until today before responding.
In a statement event chairman Leo Hindery said: “Our entire management team and our supporters in New Jersey, New York and throughout the Formula One community obviously want to see the inaugural Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial take place as soon as possible. Bringing a world-class race to the world’s largest media market is a huge undertaking that has required balancing construction of our road course, without tapping any public money, with the Sport’s own timing demands.
“I want to thank Formula One Management, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Mayors Richard Turner and Felix Roque, Roseland Property Company and the other local property owners involved for their patience while we’ve worked to get this right so that we can finally go racing in 2015.”
Long Beach founder Chris Pook, special assistant to Hindery, said: “This is a very complicated circuit and incredibly important to the overall Formula One program in North America. To get it right in New York will greatly increase awareness of Formula One and motor racing across the continent. I remain very confident about this event.”
Meanwhile Bernie Ecclestone was quoted as saying: “There is great demand for a race in New Jersey and I have no doubt we’ll be racing at Port Imperial in 2015. New races can take many years to get started, but there is significant momentum and we are close to realising a New York City F1 race.”
There were no big surprises as World Motor Sport Council published a definitive 2014 calendar today. The only differences from an amended version circulating towards the end of the season is that the last three races have all moved back a week, with Abu Dhabi ending the season on November 23rd rather than the 16th.
For some reason Japan and Russia remain as an awkward back-to-back pairing, followed by two free weekends before Austin.
Gone from the last version officially published by the FIA in September are of course Korea, Mexico and New Jersey.
16/03 Grand Prix of Australia
30/03 Grand Prix of Malaysia
06/04 Grand Prix of Bahrain
20/04 Grand Prix of China
11/05 Grand Prix of Spain
25/05 Grand Prix of Monaco
08/06 Grand Prix of Canada
22/06 Grand Prix of Austria
06/07 Grand Prix of Great Britain
20/07 Grand Prix of Germany
27/07 Grand Prix of Hungary
24/08 Grand Prix of Belgium
07/09 Grand Prix of Italy
21/09 Grand Prix of Singapore
05/10 Grand Prix of Japan
12/10 Grand Prix of Russia
02/11 Grand Prix of USA (Austin)
09/11 Grand Prix of Brazil
23/11 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi
Force India has confirmed that Nico Hulkenberg will return to the team in 2014.
As previously reported here, Hulkenberg signed a deal some time ago – although he had until the end of the Brazilian GP weekend to change his mind.
The team has yet to identify its second driver, with Adrian Sutil and Sergio Perez both in the frame.
“When he drove for us in 2012, it became clear Nico was an exceptional talent and he has continued to impress everyone in the paddock with his strong performances this season,” said Vijay Mallya. “Having Nico in our line-up is a real statement of intent and a huge boost for everyone associated with the team. We have high hopes and expectations for 2014 and by signing Nico we have put ourselves in the best position to achieve those objectives and enjoy what could be our most competitive season yet.”
“The team is aiming high for next year and I believe that the experience I have gained over the years will help us achieve those goals,” said Hulkenberg. “I genuinely believe we can have a competitive package in 2014. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about the Mercedes engine as well, so I think there is a lot to be excited about for next year. I know this team and I can see their determination; it’s a great bunch of people and we all share the same hunger for success.”
Adrian Newey admits that even Red Bull Racing is struggling to prepare for the huge rule changes coming for 2014.
He joked that the team still needed six months to prepare for the first race.
“I think from our perspective it’s somewhere between mild panic and crisis management,” said Newey at the Autosport Awards on Sunday. “Next year’s regulations are a huge change, a very complicated power train. I think for a lot of teams, including ourselves, it really is a big challenge.
“Reliability could be a big issue, it’s far from clear how the three engine manufacturers will perform relative to each other. We’ve got the aerodynamic changes. So it is a complete clean start, unfortunately. All we can do is do our best and see where we are, that’s the only thing we can do.
“I think there’s some trepidation. I think the engine regulation changes are a big challenge for everybody, how that will pan out, who knows? We’re all sort of feeling it is going to be mildy difficult, and we are about six months off being prepared for the start of the season. But that is the nature of F1. Somehow or other it always seems to be alright on the night, hopefully. We’ll see.”
Perhaps not surprisingly he countered suggestions that the sport’s recent era was not a good one.
“I think it’s been a great few years. You have the combination of man and machine as always. Unfortunately, or fortunately for us, Sebastian made the second half of the year slightly boring, but you go back to last year, six winners in the first six races I think [actually seven]. The variety, the overtaking, it’s been a magic time.”
Lotus has finally officially confirmed that Pastor Maldonado will race for the team in 2014, alongside Romain Grosjean.
As previously reported here Maldonado and his Venezuelan backers opted for Lotus over Sauber in Brazil on Sunday, after a frantic final day of discussions with both teams.
However, it has taken most of this week to finalise what is obviously a complex deal. It’s believed that the sponsors wanted to ensure that their funding goes into the operating budget of the Enstone team, rather than straight towards paying off loans or debts, and also there was the matter of ensuring that Grosjean’s backer Total and PDVSA could work together.
Although it was assumed that Maldonado’s decision would quickly trigger a round of announcements elsewhere, that is unlikely to be the case. The situations at Force India and Sauber are not straightforward, and both teams have been aware of Maldonado’s decision all week.
“It is with great pleasure that we can formally confirm that Romain Grosjean will continue with Lotus F1 Team next season,” said Eric Boullier. “He has really made the most of his tremendous talent over the latter part of the 2013 season and will be a fantastic asset to our 2014 challenge. Romain will be joined by Pastor Maldonado; a driver I have known since he drove for me at DAMS in the 2005 World Series by Renault season.
“It is clear that Pastor has pace and potential – demonstrated by his 2010 GP2 Series title success and then through strong races throughout his career at Williams F1 Team – and we are convinced that we will be able to provide the correct environment to enable him to flourish regularly on track. We have been working on our new car in alignment with the new regulations for over two years and we are confident that we have a very good solution to all the challenges ahead. With Romain and Pastor I believe Lotus F1 Team will be able to cause quite a few surprises next year.”
Grosjean said: “This past year has been tremendously satisfying for me. We have worked well together, and I know everyone at Enstone is motivated to continue the fight for every last point available. I am very excited about next year’s car and I cannot wait to get out on track for pre-season testing before heading to Australia for the first race of the season.”
Maldonado said: “It is a fantastic opportunity for me to join Lotus F1 Team for 2014. It’s no secret that I have wanted a change of scene to help push on with my Formula 1 career and Lotus F1 Team offered the very best opportunity for me to be competitive next season. The regulations and cars will change significantly so it is a very good time for a fresh start. I can’t wait to be racing in black and gold.”
Williams continues to strengthen its engineering squad as it undergoes a restructuring under the direction of Pat Symonds.
In addition to the impending arrival of Rob Smedley the team will be joined in the New Year by Jenson Button’s former race engineer Jakob Andreasen, who will work alongside Smedley, but in more of a factory-based role.
The Dane agreed to to join the team some months ago from Force India, where he has had the key role of chief race engineer. He has been credited with helping the Silverstone team to make progress.
Prior to joining Force India he was at McLaren. He originally worked on the Le Mans and GT programmes before leaving, but later returned to the F1 team. He was Lewis Hamilton’s data engineer before becoming Button’s race engineer from 2010.
As revealed here yesterday current Williams chief race engineer Xevi Pujolar is heading to Toro Rosso.