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Force India to field Da Costa, Buurman & Di Resta at Abu Dhabi test 09 Nov 2010

Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM03 Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 30 July 2010 Yelmer Buurman (NED) PSV Einhoven Superleague Formula Testing, Donington Park, England, 28 August 2008. Yelmer Buurman (NED) PSV Eindhoven Superleague Formula, Donington Park, England, Sunday 31 August 2008. Antonio Felix Da Costa (POR), Tech 1 Racing. GP3 Series Testing, Jerez, Spain, 20-22 October 2010. Antonio Felix da Costa (POR), Motopark Academy / Volkswagen ahead Carlos Munoz (COL), Muecke Motorsport / Mercedes. Formula Three Euroseries, Rd7, Brands Hatch, England, 3-5 September 2010.

Force India have announced that Yelmer Buurman and Antonio Felix da Costa will share driving duties with the team’s tester Paul di Resta during the young driver test, which will take place at the Yas Marina Circuit following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The two-day test is scheduled to get underway on November 16.

“We are pleased to be able to offer Yelmer and Antonio the opportunity to test a Formula One car, which they both feel will be brilliant exposure and experience at this early stage in their career,” explained Otmar Szafnauer, chief operating officer of Force India. “Paul will set the benchmark times so they can assess their own performance and see how to work within a top-level team.”

Buurman started his racing career in the German-based Formula Konig series in 2002 before moving to compete in Formula Renault championships across Europe from 2003 to 2005. He secured third position in the 2003 Formula Renault 2000 UK winter championship and also the 2004 Renault 2000 series in his native Holland.

In 2005 the 23 year-old made the step up to British Formula Three, participating in two races before a full championship campaign in 2006. That same year he also raced in the Macau Grand Prix and finished eighth. After a handful of F3 Euroseries races in 2006, he contested the championship in 2007, before graduating to GP2 and the Superleague Formula in 2008 and 2009.

He finished second overall in the Superleague Formula in 2008, and also competed in the GP2 winter series with Trust Team Arden as team mate of Sebastien Buemi, stepping onto the podium several times.

“I am unbelievably happy with this chance,” he said. “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 F1 Team 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.”

Nineteen year-old Da Costa will be the youngest Portuguese driver ever to drive a Formula One car when he steps into the VJM03 in Abu Dhabi. He started his racing career in karts aged nine, winning the South Portuguese championship in 2003. In 2006 he won the Portuguese championship and finished as runner-up in the World Series Karting championship and third in the Italian Open Masters.

In 2007 he became an official factory driver for the Italian Tony Kart team before moving into single seaters in 2008, competing in both the Formula Renault Eurocup and Northern European championships. He finished as runner-up in the NEC championship, and as a prize, tested a Formula Renault 3.5 Series car. He also served as a rookie driver for A1 Team Portugal. The following year he dominated the NEC field before stepping up to compete in the F3 Euroseries in 2010, where he was the rookie champion.

“Now I can say that I will drive for the Force India F1 Team in this test, it will be a memorable day in my career and I hope the first of many more at the wheel of a Formula One car,” he said. “Force India is a fierce and very consistent team, with lots of ambition, that has been evolving throughout the last few years, so I expect to have a good performance and be able to show my potential.

“I've just been in England at Force India headquarters in Silverstone for a first contact with the team and all their staff, I've moulded my seat and I had the opportunity to work on the simulator on a first contact with the Yas Marina racetrack.”

The young driver test will be the first of two opportunities the teams will have to prepare for the 2011 season before the end of the year. The other will be a Pirelli tyre test, which is also scheduled to take place at Yas Marina in the days following the Abu Dhabi season finale.

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