Force India F1 has unveiled the identities of the budding talents who will try out for the team in the special post-Abu Dhabi young driver test at Yas Marina on 16-17 November – with Yelmer Buurman and António Félix da Costa set to share driving duties of the VJM03 with the Silverstone-based squad's test and reserve driver Paul di Resta.
For both men, the outing will represent their first taste of F1 machinery and power, and a golden opportunity to gain experience of top flight motorsport – and both are palpably champing at the bit to get out on-track next week.
“I am unbelievably happy with this chance,” acknowledged 23-year-old Dutchman Buurman, runner-up in the football-themed Superleague Formula championship two years ago and a podium-finisher in the GP2 Asia Series. “It is an honour to be the next Dutch racing driver to get the chance to test an excellent F1 car.
“F1 remains my ultimate goal, and testing for such a good team like Force India is a dream come true. I met the team last week for a simulator session learning the circuit and the seat-fitting. There is a fantastic atmosphere and I felt immediately at home. I am well-prepared and I will do my very best to show that I am more than quick enough for F1. I cannot wait to join the team within a few days.”
At just 19, meanwhile, da Costa will become the youngest Portuguese driver ever to get behind the wheel of an F1 car in anger. Out-of-karts for only three years, in 2010 the Lisbon native finished seventh overall in the hotly-contested F3 Euroseries, placing him as the championship's top rookie and impressively with two outright victories to his name along the way at the Nürburgring and Brands Hatch.
“Now I can say that I will drive for Force India in this test, it will be a memorable day in my career and I hope the first of many more at the wheel of an F1 car,” he stated. “Force India is a fierce and very consistent team, with lots of ambition and that has been evolving throughout the last few years, so I expect to have a good performance and to be able to show my potential.
“I've just been in England at the Force India headquarters at Silverstone for a first contact with the team and all their staff, I've moulded my seat and I had the opportunity to work in the simulator on a first contact with the Yas Marina racetrack. I would like to thank Force India for this opportunity.”
“We are pleased to be able to offer Yelmer and Antonio the opportunity to test an F1 car, which they both feel will be brilliant exposure and experience at this early stage in their career,” summarised FIF1 chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer. “Paul will set the benchmark times so they can assess their own performance and see how to work within a top-level team.”