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“Movers and Shakers”

September 6, 2013

This week has seen a number of driver announcements and movements played out in a number of motorsport stables, most notable the much-anticipated revelation that Daniel Ricciardo will be joining Red Bull next season.

The Australian replaces Mark Webber, who will be moving to the Porsche LMP1 squad next year as they return to the World Endurance Championship to tackle Audi and Toyota.

Ricciardo, who raced for Toro Rosso and the now defunct HRT in Formula One will take up position alongside three-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel with the Renault-powered team.

The Australian has scored a best finish of 7th in just over two seasons of Formula One competition, having arrived in the category as 2009 British Formula 3 champion and 2010 Formula Renault 3.5 Series runner-up.
The 24-year-old Ricciardo has also made his mark with some stellar qualifying runs, only to drop back in Grand Prix as the realities of his a lacking Toro Rosso machine became apparent.

At this stage, it is believed at this stage that Ricciardo’s replacement at the Red Bull junior team is to be Antonio Felix da Costa. The Portuguese racer – a veteran of Formula Renault 3.5 and GP3, as well as being a Macau Grand Prix winner – has impressed many with his speed; however an often luckless and frail campaign with the Arden Caterham squad has dropped da Costa away from the top series battle.
Should da Costa make the move up, it is looking increasingly likely that Carlos Sainz Jr will slot into a full-time FR3.5 drive next season. As well as a full-season GP3 drive with MW Arden, the Spaniard pilot has taken on occasional FR3.5 races with the Zeta Corse team and is set to complete the season with the Italian team.
Whether Daniil Kvyat is promoted to the FR3.5 Series alongside his Spanish compatriot remains to be seen, but the Russian racer’s striking pace and GP3 race one victory at Spa-Francorchamps two weeks ago, will not have gone unnoticed.

In GP2, Robin Frijns’ 2013 season appears to have drawn to a premature close. The Dutch racer has separated from both Hilmer Motorsport (to be replaced by Jon Lancaster, who only discovered of the drive on Wednesday) and has also lost his Sauber reserve driver role in the process. It is a great shame for the reigning FR3.5 champion, who delivered Hilmer’s first GP2 victory in only their third weekend of competition at Barcelona in May.
The move comes as Sauber look to prepare Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin with an opportunity to either be the reserve driver or take the second seat with the Swiss team next season.

Beyond the GP2/3 Series fold, FIA European F3 driver Sven Muller has split from the ma-con team and moved across to the Van Amersfoort camp for the remainder of the season. Muller will take up the car left vacant by Mans Grenhagen, while ma-con have yet to announce a second pilot for the Zandvoort round.

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