Red Bull has announced that it has dropped Formula Renault 3.5 driver Lewis Williamson from its junior program, replacing the Scot with GP3 racer Antonio Felix da Costa.
Williamson was only five races into his career as a fully fledged Red Bull Junior, after first becoming involved with the energy drink maker on the eve of his GP3 campaign in 2011. He was brought into the scheme fully for 2012, and placed into Formula Renault 3.5 with category newcomer Arden Caterham Racing. However, after failing to score a point in the opening five races of the year, he has been replaced by Portuguese racer da Costa.
A statement from Red Bull said Williamson "has not had the success everyone expected this year in the Renault 3.5 series that is seen as a direct step into Formula 1, the step that was taken in last year by Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne. It is a brutally competitive business."
Da Costa, who sits ninth in the GP3 standings where he is racing for Carlin, will take over the Arden Caterham Red Bull car from this weekend's Nurburgring round.
"I'm very proud to become the second Portuguese in the Red Bull Junior Team after Felipe Albuquerque," said the 20-year-old. "I'm also aware of the great expectations in this, the world's best advancement program, and I'm going to do everything possible to justify this trust.
"Of course, I already know the Nurburgring from several races in my past, and it's a perfect spot for my debut with Red Bull."