'Da Costa would have been interesting to see in F1' - Horner

Antonio Felix da Costa celebrates clinching the 2019-20 Formula E title with DS Techeetah.
&Copy; Twitter.com / @afelixdacosta

Red Bull boss Christian Horner says it would have been interesting to see what Formula E champion Antonio Felix da Costa might have been able to achieve in Formula 1 if he'd been given the opportunity.

Early in his career da Costa was part of Red Bull's junior driver programme headed by Dr Helmut Marko which saw him take part in F1 tests with Force India in 2010 and Red Bull in 2012-13.

When the Portuguese driver finished in third place in the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 championship, da Costa was told that he would be stepping up to F1 with Toro Rosso - but it never happened.

The seat went to GP3 champion Daniil Kvyat instead while da Costa spent some time in DTM with BMW, and then made his debut in the all-electric Formula E championship in 2014 with Amlin Aguri, recording his maiden win at Buenos Aires.

He's not the only former Red Bull junior to have found success in the series, with Sébastien Buemi taking the title in the 2015.16 season and Jean-Eric Vergne taking back-to-back championships in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Horner told Motorsport.com that this proven calibre of Red Bull 'graduates' and their achievements in other series was testament to the team's investment in talent.

“I think the great thing is that Red Bull have given this opportunity to so many guys out there,” he said. “Whether it was Jean-Eric Vergne, da Costa, Sebastien Buemi.

"All drivers that wouldn’t have had that opportunity if it weren’t for Red Bull’s support and patronage in their earlier career days."

The Red Bull program has been criticised for being too ruthless and cutting drivers prematurely, with drivers like Vergne and Buemi frequently cited as examples. But Horner was unrepentant about the choices that had been made.

“I don’t think there’s any real regrets, the cream always rises to the top," he insisted.

"Maybe it would have been interesting to see what da Costa could have done in a Formula 1 car," he acknowledged. "But that opportunity never really presented itself."

Da Costa switched to Techeetah for this year's Formula E season and clinched his maiden championship title as a result for which he was awarded the degree of Commander of the Order of Merit by Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

He was also second in the LMP2 class in last month's Le Mans 24 Hours driving for JOTA alongside Anthony Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez.

The 29-year-old driver hasn't entirely given up on his F1 dream, hinting recently of his desire for a 'guest' seat for his home Grand Prix at the end of October.

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