The Sahara Force India F1 Team will have a new driver in its ranks this year, with the team announcing that former European Formula 3 Champion and DTM racer Daniel Juncadella will be its reserve driver for the 2014 season.
The 22-year-old Spaniard – who is the nephew of former F1 racer and team principal of the now-defunct HRTF1 Team, Luis Pérez-Sala – will attend a number of races with the team as well as participate in several Friday practice sessions behind the wheel of the team’s new VJM07 challenger.
He will continue to race with Mercedes-Benz for a second season of DTM competition, driving for the Mücke Motorsport outfit. His maiden season of tin-top racing saw him finish sixteenth overall in the championship standings, with a best finish of fourth at the Norisring.
“Daniel is an exciting prospect and I am delighted to welcome him to Sahara Force India,” team principal Vijay Mallya said in a team media release published today.
“Over the last few years we have always tried to support young, talented drivers and we will continue down this path by giving Daniel the opportunity to drive the VJM07 on Friday mornings at selected races. Daniel will also play an important role in our simulator programme at the factory.”
“Joining Sahara Force India is a dream come true,” Juncadella added.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to learn and will hopefully take me a step closer to eventually racing in Formula One. To work with the team at the track and in the factory will give me some valuable experience and I will do my best to make a contribution to help the team achieve its goals in 2014.”
The Spaniard had a test outing with the Williams F1 Team at last year’s ‘Young Drivers’ test at Silverstone (pictured).
Juncadella’s appointment – supported by the team’s engine provider, Mercedes – comes at the expense of the team’s former reserve driver, James Calado.
The Englishman was seemingly taken aback by the news and indicated that money was perhaps a factor in the decision, writing on Twitter:
To all those asking. I still have no news and no I might take up PS3 gaming! Have a good day!
— James Calado (@JamesCalado) January 24, 2014
Images via Daniel Juncadella and Flickr