Portuguese racer Antonio Felix da Costa admits missing out on a Formula 1 seat still weighs heavily on his mind.
Back in 2013, da Costa, as part of the Red Bull
Junior Team, was a prime contender for a Scuderia Toro Rosso seat the
year after, but the energy drinks giant opted to promote Daniil Kvyat
The Portuguese racer has since moved on to Formula E and the DTM,
having won races in both - but he concedes it’s still difficult to
accept that he never made it to F1.
“Formula 1 is still the king category of the sport,” da Costa told Motorsport.com.
“I really try to abstract myself from the fact that I’m not there.
But I’m now doing commentary for the races in Portugal, and it’s really
hard when I look at guys - most of them very talented - but lots of
people there that I’ve raced with and beaten them. And I see them
actually doing well there.
"I know that I could’ve done well there, there’s a difference between
doing well and being a world champion, but I’ve worked on my mind
pretty well to abstract from that. Some days I feel better than other
days, let’s put it like that.
"But, you know, a race driver’s career is not over if you don’t go to
F1, I’m super lucky to be with a manufacturer [BMW] that’s known in
Portugal, Germany, Malaysia, Thailand - very prestigious for me and I
Kvyat “deserves a decent chance” to recover
The 2016 Formula 1 season has been a tough one for da Costa’s former
RBJT rival Daniil Kvyat, the Russian faced with a demotion from Red Bull’s main team four races into the campaign.
Da Costa has backed Kvyat to recover from his current slump in form, however, saying that he has done “very good things in F1”.
He said: “Dany is a super talented guy, but when you put these young
guys in F1 and they’re not ready - not only talking about Dany but I
could even put Carlos [Sainz] in the mix, I could put Max [Verstappen], I
could put all of these young guys who joined F1 - it’s fine when
everything is good, it’s super easy, it’s easy to cope with good
"But as soon as you have a problem, it becomes hard and you see the
young kids suffering a little bit more than the established guys. Which
is normal, but Dany has done very very good things in F1, especially his
rookie season has been very impressive against JEV [Jean-Eric Vergne].
"I believe he deserves a decent chance. I don’t think what was done
was right, but it is what it is and now he needs to cope with it, and
now we have to see if he’s strong enough.
"I hope he is, I know him well, I still speak to him now and then. And I hope he gets the upper hand on it.”
Asked if there were any hard feelings between him and Kvyat as they
had vied for the same seat three years ago, da Costa said: “Not at all. I
mean, it’s not his fault.
"If I had the chance to take an F1 seat from someone else, I would do it. My friends are the guys I’ve known since I was a kid.
"The guys I race with, yes, they are nice guys and I like to hang
around them, but at the end of the day, you need to look out for himself
- and that’s exactly what he did and I cannot blame him for that.”
Kevin Magnussen will not go begging for a second season with Renault,
despite the difficulties it has encountered on its return to Formula 1.
Following its takeover of Lotus, Renault made it clear from the outset
that 2016 would be tough, and that has proven to be the case as it has
scored points in just one F1 race, via Magnussen in Russia.
Ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix and the start of the second
half of the season, Magnussen told Autosport: “There’s nothing more I
can do or say.
“I’ve had some good opportunities to show what I can do. I’ve clearly
got the most out of the car in qualifying the majority of the time, and
also scored the only points the team have claimed this season.
“I know it’s not my decision - if it was I’d have a very long contract - but I can only do my best and see what happens.
"I’m not going to beg for it [a second year]. I’m going to do my best on and off-track and then we will see.”
Magnussen is fully aware other drivers are linked with a Renault seat
for 2017, including Force India’s Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, the
former reserve who has graduated to a drive with Manor for the remaining
The 23-year-old concedes the pressure is considerable, underlined by his
experience with McLaren in 2014, when he felt he would remain beyond
his rookie season, only to be dropped.
“Every season in Formula 1, unless you are on a long-term deal, you are fighting for your future every single race,” he added.
“There is not a race you are not under pressure. It’s an exam every single time you are in the car.
"That’s natural, it comes with the territory in Formula 1, and we know
at this point in the season there is a lot of talk around drivers,
whether they are going or staying.
"I learned from the last time I was in Formula 1 that you can’t ever
feel secure, so I’m just trying to do my best, working as hard as I can
and as closely as I can with the team.”
Renault team principal Fred Vasseur recently suggested the team will
likely be in a position to announce its driver line-up in September.
Magnussen confirmed there were no talks or indications from Renault on his future over the summer break.
“I read what Fred said. If that’s the case, that’s good, but we’ll see,” he said.
“It’s fairly obvious who is in contention for the seat, and it will be what it will be.
"In a way it’s up to me because I’m driving the car and I need to deliver, but in many ways it’s also out of my hands.
"I can only do my best, and if I do that then there is nothing else I can do.”