Antonio Felix da Costa is next in the queue to Toro Rosso
Apr.9 (GMM) The new cream of Red Bull's driver development programme is continuing his steady push towards Formula One.
For well over a decade, even before the energy drink company had even one F1 team let alone two, Red Bull has been backing promising young drivers for a future on the grid.
The latest are Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, who have just begun their second - and some would say decisive - seasons at Faenza based Toro Rosso.
Undoubtedly, the Red Bull youngster next in the queue is Portuguese 21-year-old Antonio Felix da Costa.
This year, he is considered a potential champion of the Formula Renault 3.5 series, and the next step after that could be a seat at Toro Rosso.
"I see no problems with that," Frenchman Vergne insisted in February. "That's how it works at Red Bull.
"I've been in the same position. Antonio is a good driver."
It now emerges that da Costa has moved a step closer to his target this week, having been dispatched by Red Bull to Shanghai.
After winning the Formula Renault round at Monza, he is indeed now en route to China, where he will fill in for regular Red Bull reserve Sebastien Buemi.
While F1 races in the Far East, Swiss Buemi will be at Silverstone, kicking off his sports car world championship campaign at the wheel of Toyota's hybrid prototype.