Silly season is called “silly” for a very good reason. It mostly involves drivers moving to different teams and teams signing new drivers for their first foray in Formula 1 but is accompanied with some outlandish rumors of moves that are pant-on-head lunacy. that’s what makes it silly.
Silly season doesn’t stop with just drivers who will populate the grid for next year. It also includes engineers, technical wonks, mechanics and even test drivers who move from team to team. Paddy Lowe, James Allison, Lewis Hamilton, Pat Fry, Ross Brawn and Adrian Newey have all been involved in some big silly season moves that made headlines.
While those are marquee names, so to are some of the reserve drivers who stand poised to fill a seat should a main driver not be able to perform their role. Interestingly in Austin, Marc Gene felt that Fernando Alonso’s lingering back issue would be met with a call-up for Jules Bianchi from Marussia should the 2-time champion not be able to race on Sunday. Ferrari reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa had a different opinion and felt completely ready to race. The point is, you never know when you might get the chance.
Now Sebastien Buemi and Antonio Felix da Costa join the ranks of those who have inked deals for 2014 as reserve drivers with Red Bull. Da Costa was rumored as the odds-on favorite to replace Australian Daniel Ricciardo (who is replacing Australian Mark Webber at Red Bull) but Felix lost out to Russian Daniil Kyvat. No doubt having a Russian Grand Prix at Sochi in 2014 helps matter but Kyvat is a GP3 champion and many expect him to produce on merit. Red Bull boss Christian Horner said:
“Next year sees the biggest change to the Formula One regulations for some time and the return of multiple in-season tests. To therefore be able to call on two such capable drivers is of huge benefit to the team,” Horner said.
Good pick? Buemi has held the role for the past two years but Da Costa could use the time to embed himself at Toro Rosso and participate on some Friday practices sessions. The reality is that seat time is crucial in this day and age when Formula 1 seems allergic to testing and a young driver needs the seat time for super license qualification and familiarity of F1 to improve their chances of making it to the majors.