Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost has said that three drivers are in contention for the vacant seat for next season.
Daniel Ricciardo’s promotion to Red Bull means that Toro Rosso has an open seat for 2014 alongside current racer Jean-Eric Vergne.
“[Carlos] Sainz, [Daniil] Kvyat and [Antonio Felix] Da Costa are the three candidates for the seat,” Tost told Marca.
However, Tost appeared to then immediately rule out Sainz from the seat.
“But I also think Carlos is missing two seasons to do [it]. I don’t think you should get into F1 before you are 20 years-old, nor should you expect too much because they can burn on the way. Carlos has to continue competing in lower formulas, grow and then wait to make the leap.”
“I will decide, but the decision will involve discussions with several people and will be what is best for everyone. You can never say no to anything, but I do not think we will run Carlos in 2014.”
The contenders to replace Ricciardo
Antonio Felix da Costa
The 22-year-old Portuguese racer is the leading candidate to fill Ricciardo’s shoes next season. Da Costa’s career was stuttering until he joined Red Bull and his form turned around as he was in the fight for the GP3 title, stormed to four wins in five in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series and won the prestigious F3 race at Macau. This season da Costa’s Arden team has struggled, restricting him to fifth in the championship. Helmut Marko is notoriously tough on his drivers, but his visit to the most recent round in Austria enabled him to see first hand the problems affecting da Costa. Da Costa has also driven for Red Bull in a couple of young driver tests and is the most likely to be promoted.
The 19-year-old Russian is currently racing for MW Arden in the GP3 Series and after a steady start, Kvyat has come on strongly over the past two events. He won both the feature race in Spa and Monza and came close to doubling up after finishing in second place in the sprint race. Kvyat is currently in second place in the championship with just a pair of races to run in Abu Dhabi. He also drove for Toro Rosso in the young driver test at Silverstone.
Carlos Sainz Jr
The son of the rallying legend is currently in ninth place in the GP3 championship. He has taken a pair of podiums but has yet to win a race, having suffered from inconsistency and some misfortune. The 19-year-old Spaniard drove for both Red Bull and Toro Rosso at the young driver test at Silverstone and impressed the senior team with his speed.