Formula 1

Toro Rosso set to name Daniel Ricciardo replacement

Da Costa was expected to replace Ricciardo. (©GettyImages)
Da Costa was expected to replace Ricciardo. (©GettyImages).

The expected candidate to replace Daniel Ricciardo at Toro Rosso in 2014 is set to be confirmed at the junior Red Bull team this week according to respected journalist Livio Oricchio.

Antonio Felix da Costa has been mentioned as the next big thing to come from Red Bull's young driver program and the 22-year-old recovered from a slow start to the 2013 season in Formula Renault 3.5 to win the last two race in Hungary and Paul Ricard in France.

Oricchio, who writes for Brazil's O Estada de S.Paulo, was in a rain-soaked France for the Formula Renault 3.5 race on Sunday.

He wrote: "Only the official announcement is missing, but that should happen in the coming days."

Speaking to Oricchio after the race da Costa said: "Today was an important day for me."

"I received a message from (Toro Rosso boss) Franz Tost, congratulating me for the result," da Costa also revealed.

The one man da Costa needs to convince however is the head of Red Bull's young driver program Dr Helmut Marko.

"I think Dr Marko will be very happy for me to drive in Formula One," said da Costa. "But the contract we signed last year is that he can put me wherever he wants.

"I like him (Marko) very much -- a hard man, but what you see is what you get."

After his victory in Paul Ricard, da Costa will now return to the Milton Keynes base of Red Bull Racing to complete important work on the simulator ahead of the upcoming Korea - Japan double-header.

"I will be performing simulations (in the driver simulator) at dawn," he smiled.

Away from da Costa, Oricchio has also reported it is possible F1 veteran Rubens Barrichello could make a shock return with Sauber perhaps as early as Interlagos this year.

With Sauber looking for experience to counteract the arrival of highly inexperienced 18-year-old Sergey Sirotkin, Barrichello, who is the most experienced man in F1 history, has emerged as a surprise candidate.

While Oricchio claimed Barrichello would not answer his home phone to talk about the matter "he just sent a message saying 'who knows'," he wrote in O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.

And Oricchio said F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone answered "good" when told of the prospect of Barrichello's return.

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