Ricciardo and Vergne to drive for Toro Rosso

2012 F1 season

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Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, Sepang, 2011
Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, Sepang, 2011

Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne will drive for Toro Rosso in 2012, the team has confirmed.

The promotion of the two Red Bull Development Drivers leaves Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi without drives for next year.

Team principal Franz Tost said: “I must also thank Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari for all their hard work over the past three seasons.

“They have delivered some excellent performances which have helped the team move forward and develop. We wish them well for the future.

“However, one has to remember that when Scuderia Toro Rosso was established in 2005, it was done so with the intention of providing a first step into Formula 1 for the youngsters in the Red Bull Junior Driver programme. It is therefore part of the team?s culture to change its driver line-up from time to time in order to achieve this goal.”

Ricciardo drove for Toro Rosso during Friday practice earlier this year before joining HRT for the second half of the season. He said: “To be honest, I am still jumping up and down with excitement at the news.

“In the second half of 2011 I learned a lot from the people I worked with, racing in eleven Grands Prix and I want to thank them for the opportunity they gave me. I have to say that joining Scuderia Toro Rosso was always my real goal, so a big thank you to Red Bull for giving me this fantastic opportunity and now I can?t wait to get to work once testing begins.”

Vergne drove in Friday practice sessions for Toro Rosso at the end of the season. He will make his F1 race debut with the team next year.

He said: “First of all, I must thank Red Bull for all their support so far and for believing I am ready to take on the ultimate challenge of racing in Formula 1. Christmas has come early for me this year!

“Having driven for them a few times this year and also testing for Red Bull Racing in Abu Dhabi, I definitely feel ready to make the move, even if I know there is a big difference between testing and actually racing.

“I enjoyed working with the guys at Toro Rosso this year and I can?t wait to be part of the team for real. Sitting on the grid in Melbourne next March cannot come soon enough.”

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Keith Collantine
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270 comments on “Ricciardo and Vergne to drive for Toro Rosso”

  1. I wasn’t expecting that……
    So where does that leave Buemi and Alguersuari? Where will they go?

    1. Back to GP2, win title, come back stronger :)

      1. only, you need quite some money to do that, not sure either has enough without the Red Bull backing.

        1. Well… Alguesuari’s Dad has something to do with the World Series by Renault… so I reckon we might see him there.

    2. Wow 2012(we’re still in 2011 obviously) has already been unpredictable and the season hasnt even started.

      I didnt even see this article,I clicked on the Driver Rankings article for Rosberg & then realising on Twitter that Toro Rosso let Alguersuari go.Strange but WOW

    3. If this decision comes as a surprise to people then… simply… they haven’t been paying attention. This has been well on the cards for some time, and has been bit of an open secret in the paddock.

      Clearly neither Helmut Marko or Christian Horner saw either Buemi or Alguersuari making the step up to RBR. Marko was quoted as saying that they were both ‘good drivers’, but that RB aren’t looking for good, they’re looking for great (i.e. the next Vettel), so it was time to let them go.

      It’s obviously a shame to see two young drivers left without a team, but I for one am excited about this new line up at STR. Ricciardo vs Vergne, with the prize no less than Webber’s seat in 2013?

      1. Greatest news ever. I hope he smashes Frenchy all season. Wipe the arrogance right out of him.

        1. Would you care to back up your claim with any factual evidence of Vergne’s arrogance please ? He seems like a pretty humble and down to earth chap to me.

          1. @nickfrog – I believe @macca is referring to those comments where Vergne said he’d do no worse than Webber.


            Laughably, Vergne then went on to go 0.6 seconds slower than Alguersuari in Brazilian GP practice.


      2. So the “Great principle” does not apply to Webber?

      3. I hope you said that before the news was official as well. :D

        1. I am really happy that Ricciardo joined STR, but I thought they would keep Jaime for one more season and Vergne would get experience in Renault 3.5 again this year or even move in gp2.

  2. I think it’s a stupid move on Toro Rosso’s part

    1. It may seem stupid on Torro Rosso’s behalf to drop two very promising drivers, but their purpose is to act as a stepping stone for young drivers. By sticking to the same two guys for a further year, they would have confirmed to Red Bull that they are no longer a tool for Red Bull, but instead just another team on the grid.

      I think it is good that they are still an effective stepping stone for promising drivers. Otherwise we would be stuck withh low skilled pay drivers only, such as Di Resta and co.

      1. I’m not going to argue about skill or lack thereof, as it looks like you’re just baiting for an argument.

        But you consider Di Resta a pay driver? I’m assuming you have compiled the list of sponsors he brought to FI to back up that claim?

        1. Paul has 1 sponsor, but it’s a big one – Mercedes. While Paul is at Sahara Force India, it gets a discounted engine, KERS and gearbox package.

          1. @alianora-la-canta Are you sure about that? James Allen said that

            Di Resta notes that he has no official tie to Mercedes, other than the engine that sits in the back of his Force India car.

          2. The engine that sits in the back of the Force India car has to be paid for…

          3. Yeah. “No tie other than the engine in the back of his car” meaning that his involvement with Mercedes is limited to that he uses one of their engines because it happens to be what’s in the back of his car.

            So, if that is all people can come up with, then the answer to “is Di Resta a pay driver” is: no.

          4. if a driver is talented enough to be in F1 than whether or not he has a sponsor is just a bonus. doesant hurt, but soesnt mean such a driver is in F1 only because of the sponsor and not talent.

            Di Resta deserves to be in F1 even without a backer, just by virtue of his first season’s performance. he is one of the most promising rookies of recent years.

            People also forget that sponsors tend to stick to talented and successful drivers who have a future and are expected to be successful. otherwise why put your money into them? So naturaly good drivers will all have some sort of backing when they reach that point in their career to be considered for an f1 seat.

            So I find this pay-driver black and white argument too simplistic and and frankly old and boring.

        2. The person who chose Di Resta as an example of a ‘low skilled pay driver’ couldn’t have chosen a worse example as he most clearly is neither!

          Also, to the person who claims that Di Resta is supported by Mercedes, what consequence is there to your point: Mercedes (an F1 team) want Di Resta (a talented young driver) to race in F1. Seems pretty standard to me! Much like Ricciardo racing for HRT this year, or any number of other recent examples.

          There’s a massive difference between team grown talent like Di Resta and Ricciardo, and the situation where, say, a South American government pays for one of their citizens to race in F1 for the sole reason of advertising a multinational company. Di Resta (as far as I know) pays his way only with talent: the way it should be.

      2. it annoys me how red bull has effectively 2 teams. it also carries the potential for complete manipulation of races.

        1. there is a word Scuderia in there as well

          1. @Maksutov

            there is a word Scuderia in there as well

            The italian word for ‘stable’ or ‘team’? I fail to see your point…

    2. I can’t believe how Tost is in contradiction with himself: he says that Toro Rosso provides a first step into formula 1, but now he leaves two drivers without any change of making it to the 2012 grid!

      1. He gave them the first few steps and more. Its not Torro Rosso’s job to make sure they succeed beyond that.

        1. Yes it is. Red Bull are the drivers main sponsor, they are in f1 because of Red bull. Take that away from them at short notice and they have very little chance to find new money from elsewhere to get a drive at another team. This is why bar Vettel there is no other successfull redbull junior in F1. Only Liuzzi has managed to scrape his way and he is probably finished in f1 too now.

          1. Dude, every driver that comes into F1 has talent, but talent only gets you so far. 2/3 Years is enough time to show what you can do with your talent and Buemi & AAlguersuari has really not up to it. The problem is that ‘Lucky’ Vettel set the bar so high that any of the talents that comes from the Red Bull junior drivers programme has virtually not chance to do the same. Vettel was in there in the right time that’s why he is lucky. Toro Rosso will always be a revolving door for drivers if Darko marko is still invovled!!!

          2. Good point by The Last Pope. I think the problem with the Red Bull driver programme is that they have too many drivers at their disposal. They really don’t know what to do with them.

            I really think Alguersuari should have been retained because he certainly rose above the occassion many times this year, and would have brought some continuity to the team. But Vergne and Ricciardo are highly rated, so let’s see whether they really get any far. If even these drivers don’t suceed after two years or so, you have to doubt the worth of the Red Bull driver programme.

          3. yeah they join Klein on the heap of very good drivers not in F1…oh and who dumped him for no apparent reason. Thats right red bull.

            At least red bull no has a slightly different marketing potential with these new drivers. and thats all these changes are for. Nothing to do with skill.

            Red bulls xfactor style driver changes is for me slowly sucking the life out of the sport. Like x-factor it has nothing to do with skill or results.

    3. Wouldn’t say its stupid, just a pity they hadn’t the decency to do it earlier so their drivers had a better chance to line up something else for next year.

      Alguersuari only 21 and showing promise and a really good 2nd half of season, its seems a bit cruel.

      Have felt though Riccardo and Vergne are by far the greater prospects. With all the best rookie talk Riccardo seems to have been overlooked and I would rank him easily higher than the other rookies this year.

      1. Remember Scott Speed? He was Red Bulls biggest prospect.

        1. Scott Speed had an attitude problem!!! In the political world of F1 you follow the programme or you become invisible…

          1. Franz Tost was the one with the attitude problem. It was Tost that assaulted Speed. Scott just told spoke his feelings, much like Hamilton did this season and Barrichello in 2009. There are just too many PR puppets on the grid now.

          2. Unless you were there nobody really knows what happened.. but somehow I doubt a 50 yr old dude would start a fight with a young 20 yr old otherwise he should have put one on Tost because he knew it was the end there. Like I said the politics and back stabbing in F1 is a comon thing and unless you have the right people on your side you have diddilies chances of moving anywhere positive, but the end of the day you are on your own in F1. That is what happened to Jamie & Seb.. words means nothing in F1, action is everything

    4. I agree; Team Lotus stuck with Trulli and Kovalainen, because they are experienced, and they atre miles ahead of the other 2 ‘new’ teams

  3. This presumably means we need to put up with Liuzzi for another year?

    1. I rather think it heightens the chances of him getting dropped @jerseyf1 After all Alguersuari is spanish, and he has some budget. And recent race experience, including some involvement in development during the season at STR. Might be the perfect candidate for HRT then, I would say.

      1. Nice mix of Alguersuari and De la Rosa as HRT drivers. If they only hadn’t messed it up with Colin Kolles it would have been looking better.

        1. yeah, I highly doubt they will beat last years achievement of even getting a not working car to the last test now @snowman, Kolles was really the guy making anything happen in that team.

      2. I hope you’re right @BasCB, but I wonder if Alguersuari will bring enough non-Red Bull money to cover the cost of buying Liuzzi out of the final year of his contract? Particularly as the team already has a Spanish driver signed up.

        1. My first concern at HRT is: will they actually manage to build a car to race this time!

          Hard to tell, what the conditions in Liuzzi’s contract were, but I doubt it would have been a lot of money. And as the current team owners found a big pot of money to pay Kolles for his services in the past 2 years (must have been several 10s of millions, as he basically supplied all manufacturing and half the staff – and did not get payed much, if at all) they do have some cash.
          But i guess Alguersuari would have to bring enough to pay for that contract as well as a bit more.

  4. Such a shame for jaime, he was a great driver. Devastated.

      1. Jamie isn’t great!!! he is just a promising good driver just like the rest of the young guys in F1. F1 is about Politics and money, that’s why contracts don’t mean twiddlies in F1 and everyone has to look after there own back because words means nothing

        1. He’s not great – yet. As far as young drivers on the grid go, he’s got huge potential and he showed in the latter half on 2011 that he can be an excellent racer. So did Buemi. I really, really wanted Daniel to get a competitive seat next year, but not at the expense of these two drivers. I’m sad for both of them, really. Buemi had such intensity about everything he did in F1, I can only imagine what his disappointment must be like.
          Jaime may get a seat at HRT but how are you supposed to further your career in that thing?
          It’s just a shame that there’s all this exciting, aggressive young talent floating about the grid without drives, while drivers like Jarno, and to a lesser extend Rubens AND Pastor cling onto their seat.

    1. Red Bull are looking for the next “Vettel” Alguesari is not him but he might be the next “Massa”.

      1. he has been edgy and exciting. attacking rosberg lap after lap in korea and nailing him on the last lap….

        what more do you want?

  5. Woah, didn’t expect both of them to get a Toro Rosso seat. Alguersuari to HRT?

    1. I think HRT will be forced to fill the second seat with a pay-driver given their constant financial woes. STR should have kept an experienced driver (preferably Alguersuari). It’ a shame young drivers with potential are leaving F1 while others who are all washed up and have nothing to show anymore (Trulli, Barrichello) are still in it.

      1. I’m tipping Giedo van der Garde for the second HRT seat.

      2. I think Alguersuari might have a chance. Being spanish, having experience and he brings at least a bit of a budget.

        They can always sign 2 test/reserve drivers who will get some kind of practice and race experience during the year (Sutil, VdGarde, even Karthikeyan, or whoever with a big bag of cash)

      3. i predict Barrichello to find some Brazilian sponsors and go to HRT. then they would have the oldest lineup on the grid. the grand dad team.

        1. the grand dad team lol COTD

  6. Apparently staying in F1 is harder than getting into F1 these days. Dropping both drivers for rookies is just a stupid idea, no matter how you look at it. Buemi and Alguersuari are both good drivers, not the best, but they both have solid experience in racing and working with the team at developing the car.

    1. The commentators on TV said that the engeneers on Toro Rosso stated that Jaime wasn’t capable of give good feedback on the cars behavior.

      1. Strange because Ant Davidson repeatedly praised his feedback when his Radio transmissions were played over the air during Practice sessions.

        1. Exactly, just the kind of person who could help HRT, they should sign him asap. Along with De la Rosa’s car knowlage they would make a very strong team for testing & developing the 2012 car.

          I used to like Torro Rosso as they were once Minardi, but now I can’t be bothered with this team.

        2. Davidson did indeed praise him for it. I always thought he had an indepth way to describing the actions of the car and was excellent as a tester.

          Perhaps he should turn up at Caterhams door and take a test driver role for the year and nudge out Jarno next year.

          1. Alguersuari is only 21, so if he sets his mind to it he could end up with another team in F1 cause he has talent, experience and still young…but somehow my feeling is after how Toro Rosso and especially darko Marko treated him he probably leave F1 and the politics for good… Beumi is probably dissapear in the distance like a cat because he is just ordinary good but so is just about thousands of other young drivers wanting in on F1. Ricciardo will one day be WDC if not RBR than Ferrari cause the italian loves his name even though he is aussie through n thru. You see the bloody problem with the revolving door at STR is Marko and his own self interest the young drivers programme for which he must make suceed or the big boss will cut thr programme. Once STR rid of Marko, Tost and all those dead selfish wood, than it develop and nuture the drivers properly and honestly without outside influence. why did you think Berger left so quickly!!!!

    2. They should’ve dropped one of them à season earlier. That way, they could’ve brought Riccoardo last year and made sure they have à benchmark.
      Then again Renault/Lotus also is left without one, so at some point experience isn’t king…

  7. Wow. That’s unexpected. Buemi and Alguersuari didn’t a bad job this year and now both are out? Hm. Okay, Ricciardo and Vergne seem to have talent. But start a year with two rookies? Brave from Toro Rosso.

    1. Reports from Spain show, it was just as big a supprise for the drivers!

      But Alguersuari impressively cool under it. Saying he still feels they have been supporting him for 7 years and helped him become a complete driver. And even putting it into perspective with 5 million unemployed in Spain!

    2. thats what the STR team is for. to bring new talent into F1. why is everyone surprised they have rookies in their team. frankly they should have dropped either Buemi or Alguersuari much earlier. To me its surprising they stuck with the same driver line up for so long given their mission to find the next vettel.

  8. It’s strange as I thought Buemi had outstayed his welcome… but despite Alguersuari being of a similar level I felt he had potential…

    I think Williams signing up Alguersuari would be a strong move, but in all honesty I expect them to both be without a drive next year.

    1. @ben-n I also quickly thought of Williams. Though I want Barrichello around, it seems a good idea for them to snatch one of these guys up. It seems a great waste to let them both go as they’ve clearly matured in the past couple years.

  9. Three French drivers next year! Wow, hard to believe there was none last year.

    1. Good point! We probably haven’t had this many since… 1994, I think. With Panis, Bernard, and Comas.

      1. And the french GP is back, alternating with Spa if I remember correctly.

    2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      14th December 2011, 21:23

      @deanmachine please refresh my mind, who the three Frenh drivers are…

      1. Grosjean at Renault
        Vergne at Toro Rosso
        Pic at Virgin

        At least one of those is likely to be at the first French Grand Prix for 5 years in 2013.

    3. The French Revolution has begun! Hopefully this won’t be a one-year phenomenon. Bianchi would mostly join them from 2013.

  10. Worst decision ever. Alguersuari is such an important youngster for F1 with great speed, tactics, thinking and agression in overtaking. That they’ve dropped him has really blown my mind. I’m stunned.
    But who knows what these two guys can offer. But even if they become very succesfull, it’ll be such a shame to lose Jaime, while Buemi didn’t do that bad either.

    1. But most people would say that Alguersuari has been succesfull for Torro Rosso in that he pretty much got the best out of the car at his disposal.

      What’s the point for red bull to keep bringing in young drivers only to give them no way to progress further even if they are driving well. No doubt in two years time both Riciardo and Vergne will be in the same situation.

      Really, appart from Vettel (who had the big advantage of having a competative car) , every single Red bull driver has been abandoned and their F1 carreer quickly ended, only Liuzzi has managed to slow his decline.

      Scott Speed being the most highly rated of them, given two seasons in a mostly apalling car found out that he and Liuzzi were being replaced and had the guts to tell the team what he thought of them. One could go as far as saying one reason Vettel is a double WC is because Scott Speed and Liuzzi had such a shockingly unreliable car the 2 years before his debut.

      In a close alternate reality It could be Speed a 2 times World champion.

      1. One could go as far as saying one reason Vettel is a double WC is because Scott Speed and Liuzzi had such a shockingly unreliable car the 2 years before his debut.

        Not really. At least if they did what Webber did in the Jag, and shone prior to a car failure, you’d have a point, but they didn’t really shine, or get their car above whee it should have been at all (except for Liuzzi at China, where Vettel still finished way ahead of him).

  11. Very risky, I expected one of these and one of Buemi and Alguersuari. 2 fairly inexperienced drivers could go wrong.

  12. I suppose Tost’s explaination makes sense. That and RBR must be looking for Webbers replacement on a short timetable.

    1. Sure, but they might have said earlier to give both Seb and Jaime a bit of a chance to secure a different seat.

      Now its as if they do not want to give these guys a chance to show what they got with other teams!

      1. Which I suppose they could have expected after just a few minutes of checking what happened to the other young Red Bull drivers, apart from Vettel: unceremoniously dropped to fend for themselves – ‘kaythanxbye! style.

        It will be interesting to see what Vergne and Ricciardo can do with the STR car, but I feel this is once again a step back for them as a team.

        If Red Bull seriously want to sell STR, they need to give the team more room for that, and otherwise they should give these guys a different., more gradual structure rather then dropping drivers in, and out, of a car.

        1. @bosyber, I guess Red Bull is now waiting until they get a good deal for the next Concorde agreement and the worldwide economy picks up a bit before selling the team. Maybe in a year or two

      2. Yep, BasCB

        Nice way of looking after their young drivers!

  13. Dibs on Alguersuari to HRT and Buemi to Le Mans (maybe with Peugeot).

  14. Wow, that’s harsh for Buemi and Alguersuari. They both did a good job helping Toro Rosso move foward.

    Ricciardo and Vergne might do well too, but I don’t think this is a good idea. It stops the development of the whole team and starts it all over again with two rookies, basically.

    So sad!

  15. Gutted for Buemi and particularly Alguersuari, who I thought had a promising future ahead of him. Both so young yet their F1 careers could be over already. I now dislike Toro Rosso. Such a shame.

  16. I hope Algersuari will find himself a drive. He’s too good compared to some other drivers on the grid to be left out.

  17. one has to remember that when Scuderia Toro Rosso was established in 2005, it was done so with the intention of providing a first step into Formula 1 for the youngsters in the Red Bull Junior Driver programme. It is therefore part of the team’s culture to change its driver line-up from time to time in order to achieve this goal.

    I wonder if Helmut Marko used exactly the same words when he explained what the driver line-up would be?

    1. it was done so with the intention of providing a first step into Formula 1 for the youngsters in the Red Bull Junior Driver programme.

      To me, that comment sounds like Ferrari have something to do with it… , any thoughts?

      1. @Maksutov Why Ferrari? I don’t see the connection.

        1. ah,, its a long shot, nvm, just some nonsense i was speculating in the wake of the recent FOTA split… if any hidden deals were made between Ferrari and RB ;/ .. there is no obvious connection to this of course , but I am expecting STR to follow

  18. Strange. Vergne deserves the promotion, I’m a little less sure about Ricciardo, but he was clearly fast in the HRT (as fast as you can go with that car thing).
    But I also thought Jaime and Sebastien had done enough to keep their seats. It would be wrong to lose either of them now, after they’ve had a good season.

  19. That makes it three French drivers next season. A good jump from the zero of this year!

    1. Now just hope there will still be an Italian on the grid next year!

      1. Ferrari – haha , I think we have enough italians on or around the grid ;), but what I would like to see is a new and fresh italian driver… Come to think of it, one driver from every country the race is held.. would be interesting.

  20. I’m surprised here as everyone!
    I also think it’s a bit stupid to promote both drivers. This year I found it difficult to judge Buemi and Alguersuari’s speed, because they were both young, and they didn’t have a known driver who these two could compare to. And now it will be even more difficult to judge Vergne and Ricciardo’s performance : Vergne is a rookie and Ricciardo doesn’t have a lot of experience (OK, he had Liuzzi as a comparison, but he has driven a HRT, which could have been a car difficult to drive).

    I think that the most sensible thing to do would have been to promote Ricciardo to Toro Rosso, and leave either Buemi or Alguersuari, so he could be compared to a driver already known by the team.

    Anyway, Vergne will need quite some time to adapt to F1. He has just driven a F1 car in a couple of free practice session. In my opinion, he should have been promoted to GP2 first…

    1. @Dan_the_McLaren_fan
      I was going to leave a very similar comment but I knew I would find a similar minded one in the comments. Toro Rosso has absolutely no benchmark with these two drivers.

      Just as I was starting to think of them as an independent team far enough attached from their parent organization, they prove once again that they’re merely a number 2 Redbull and can never be taken as a serious contender in the championship.

      I had very little respect for Redbull as an organization, I didn’t think i could’ve had any less, apparently I was wrong.


      1. I agree with this completely. If us fanatics can support a RedBull-2 on the grid, why are we so much against 3 car teams?
        Toro Rosso is never competing to win championships, its purpose is just to keep RedBull-1 as a well oiled machine.
        Luca di Montezemolo may have a point with his idea. Clearly another team has 4 cars already.

      2. They do have a benchmark. The simulator.

  21. Bad move. Ric has not impressed me to be honest. Have no idea why people label him successor to Mark Webber.

    Alg at least has potential to succeed Alonso if given the car. Imagine if he started at Sauber.

    But in all honesty, STR and Findia and even HRT are not the best place to start a Formula1 career.

    Sauber was and still probably is a good place to start. Scuderia and McL have both benefited from this arrangement..

    1. But in all honesty, STR and Findia and even HRT are not the best place to start a Formula1 career.

      @QuantumForce42 Jus wanna know…why Force India? In its short history, only Di Resta is the one who started his career. And he is stiil there!

      1. Yes, and Sutil’s reputation has only increased during his time at FI. I’d say that Force India is a very good place to found and cement an F1 career.

      2. Because if Force India picks you as a reserve driver, you get lots of practise compared to other reserve drivers, plus there’s a decent chance you’ll actually get picked for the team when one of the race drivers leaves. The opportunity mechanism is there… …provided you get picked to be the reserve in the first place.

        1. Exactly and that’s why I wanted to know why he thinks that FI is not a good place to start a career.

  22. Hmmm. Call me crazy, but I don’t think this such a bad move on STR’s part. Their raison d’etre, remember, is not to win the World Championship. It’s to provide the best drivers possible for Red Bull Racing (i.e. Mark Webber’s replacement). Both are good (coming in with impressive junior cred), both are quick, and both are hungry. What better way to decide who gets the seat than to give them the same machinery and let them fight for it to the very end?

    I guess the only downside here is Jaime losing out on a seat. It’s rather disappointing, yes, but at the same time, I’m not too depressed about it. He seems to be a good quality driver, but he didn’t really knock the stuffing out of Buemi (which he probably should’ve if he was truly something special). I agree he deserves a seat in F1, but it’s not a total tragedy if he isn’t in it.

    1. exactly, STR want another super talent, not just a good driver

      1. +1
        (not that they will necessarily find it by acting this way)

    2. Their raison d’etre, remember, is not to win the World Championship. It’s to provide the best drivers possible for Red Bull Racing

      Which is exactly the reason these kinds of arrangements should be disallowed. We want teams doing the best they can for themselves, not backing teams.

      1. How do you police such a ban, though? That’s already what most backmarker teams do anyway (albeit not with a specific team in mind).

        Personally, as long as it introduces new drivers to the sport, then I don’t have any issue with it.

        1. Ohhhh, that is going to be hell to police. I imagine that the ban should concentrate on not allowing a team to control another at all.

          Backmarker teams are certain to lose drivers to bigger teams, and that is quite all right.

          I agree that we want new drivers introduced to the sport, but not by losing talented drivers that should be far from done in F1.

          – And dumping them NOW, when most seats are taken is just being mean.

    3. I agree. Algu is very young at 21, he has a good career in racing ahead of him. Many drivers didn’t even get into an F1 car at that age. He has time to get stronger and come back.

    4. Yes Ricciardo is going to have to smash Verne or vise versa….

  23. That means Buemi and Alguersuari are dropped from the Red Bull program?

    1. I think they rather completed it.

      1. Yes, and now they have no sponsor. Its like Red bull pay the way for their junior drivers and when they deceide they are not the next Red Bull team driver they make it so they have little chance to continue their f1 career in another rival team. It’s like the complete oposite of what Sauber and Jordan used to do advertising their drivers to the bigger teams for the sake of progressing the drivers carreer.

        1. Depends if there are any vacancies in non-single-seater Red Bull-backed teams. I’m not sure if any exist, but if they do, it would be worth keeping an eye on them. But their F1 phase with Red Bull is unequivocably over.

        2. I don’t see how Red Bull impeding their progress onwards, to be honest. They brought them up, supported them, gave them a good run in F1 to establish themselves and then it is up to the rest of the grid to sign them up or not. The only thing that is wrong with this picture is that they announced their departure too late, which left them almost no options. But i think both of them were negotiating potential deals with various teams already in the middle of the season, which is a common practice for any driver in the paddock.

  24. What the hell? So you basically have to be the next Senna to hold on to your seat now is that it?

    1. Bruno was and he didn’t ;)

      1. @f1alex – Comeback! :D

        1. You have to win the F1 Wheel of Fortune, I think…

  25. Idiocy. I really feel for Buemi, but mostly Alguersauri. They’ve both done enough to stay in F1, but I thought Jaime was getting to the point where he’d be looking at breaking into a higher team, not getting dumped by his current one.

    For me, this raises a serious question over the actual point in having Toro Rosso any more. By giving two seats to Buemi and Alguersauri for 3 seasons, only to let them go at the end and stick two fresh rookies in the car, just seems to me like an absolute waste of Red Bull’s resources.

    These two guys were not Sebastian Vettel II, but they would have been good enough to replace Mark Webber as the “other” driver at Red Bull. This is as clear a statement as any that STR exists purely to develop Red Bull development drivers, and it begs the question, why are Red Bull spending money on running a full Formula One team, when if they want two of their drivers on the grid, they could simply provide them with the sponsorship to fill two of the existing seats on the grid, although I appreciate that when Toro Rosso was set up, this wouldn’t have been easily achieved.

    1. Probably because no one wants to buy it off Red Bull. Not at the right price, anyway.

      In any case, they need to look for more than just Webber’s replacement. Yes, that’s the immediate need, but I don’t expect Vettel to stay for much longer, either. He has little left to prove at Red Bull and will probably be looking in the directions of Brackley and Maranello for the future.

      1. RedBull are a force in F1 for 3 years now, they are staying on a very solid foundation – they have the right people and lots of money. Back to back titles were not won by accident or luck, they really had the best car. They don’t have much history in F1 (but neither had Williams and McLaren when they started) but they already started to make it. I don’t think Vettel will leave them in the next 4 years.

        1. Also, Red Bull don’t need a full team as part of their driver development program any more. If they want a top class driver in the event that Seb leaves at any time in the next decade, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, (maybe) Robert Kubica will all be around, not counting any of the unproven talents in the sport that could turn out to be world beaters.

          Now that they have a pedigree in the sport, they don’t need to bring through their own drivers from grassroots to F1, even though I think it’s great that they are doing so, because, as shown by Lewis Hamilton’s approach to Christian Horner at Canada this year, they have their pick of top drivers.

        2. Schumacher in 1995 ring a bell? You could say exactly the same things of Benetton around that time. Michael still ended up at Ferrari, though.

          Also, they do still have one of the best driver development programs out there, crazy as it sounds. Ferrari and McLaren have begun to develop their own, and so it would be crazy for Red Bull to end what they have now.

  26. @keithcollantine Check up the third paragraph, I think you skipped a word.

  27. Very shocking! All I can say is this: Dan? Jean-Eric? No matter what kind of job you do in 2012, don’t get too comfortable…

  28. Woah, I did’nt see that coming wrong move for Toro Rosso they should have kept one experienced driver and promoted 1 rookie best “Fair” solution.
    Gutted for Buemi and Alguersuari.

  29. What a strange situation. I hope Haime finds a drive elsewhere in F1. Not too bothered about Buemi, but I wonder if this decision will lose Toro Rosso any fans.

    Maybe Red Bull need their own F1-spec, F1-level series that they can populate with their own drivers, rather than kicking them out. Maybe they should use some of their vast wealth to build 20 working Red Bull X1’s and start a one-make, global series.

    1. Huzzah, yes please. The Red Bull Driver Search made easy, if you can control an X1 then you deserve an F1 seat there and then!

  30. Surprised and disappointed for both of them. Think everyone thought Buemi was going to be let go but Alguersuari is a bigger shock.

    To be honest I would have kept both of them, and if Webber struggles again promote whoever did better as no.2 to Vettel. Does seem a massive waste of resources over the last 3 years on Red Bull’s part to stick them in the car only to start completely afresh with basically two rookies.

  31. It seems the only way to be taken seriously by the Red Bull Driver Academy peoples is too win in the STR. THEN you may be safe in your seat. Maybe. Probably not though.

    1. Vettel was already promoted (or at least announced) to Red Bull before winning…

      1. Only because Coulthard was retiring and no top driver would have wanted to go to red bull at that time (For Vettel it was actually a team downgrade but of course that all changed with the 2009 red bull car)

  32. It’s not quite as crazy as some may think.

    The positive you have here is that both guys are on pretty even grounds. They’re both starting with the team at the same time. They’ll both be dealing with alot of pressure (knowing they’re basically disposable..). It’ll be a straight up shoot-out between the two!

    I think they’ll be very evenly matched, have a decent season, then be turfed out for two new Red Bull juniors… :)

    1. But where’s the benchmark? Alguersauri was the better driver last year, overall, so if they wanted somebody better, why not bring one rookie in and see how they fare against an existing driver, let alone having a driver that knows how to set up the car to actually enable the STR’s to race at their full level of competitiveness.

      1. Exactly. Their system of bringing in new young drivers to replace the old young drivers in the search for the next Red Bull driver (Webber replacement), is flawed. Both Torro Rosso drivers could infact be driving with more skill than Webber or even Vettel just in a slower car, and nobody would ever know.

        For this system to work they would need to use Vettel and Webber as the benchmark using the same car. Without regular testing this is imposible.

      2. Why do you need to waste one of the teams cars just to have an ordinary driver for a benchmark. Seems a massive waste to me.

        I think STR have been very frank about this. They are looking for the the next Vettel, the driver that special and is clearly on it out of the box.

    2. I think Ricciardo will do better than Buemi and Alguersuari ever did (not necessarily in absolute results because that depends on the car).
      As for Vergne, one can’t understate the troubles he will face by being a rookie (he would have to prove that something else like Perez and Ricciardo).

  33. honestly shocked at this but hermet marko did tell them.

  34. Wow, absolutely stunned. I liked Jaime a lot, I thought 2011 was great for him.

  35. I’m devastated at this news.

    I’ve recently been playing as Toro Rosso’s test driver in F1 06 (for the PS2), and I was really hoping I could get a drive for the team. Now it seems that all my hard work was for nothing :(

    Seriously though, I feel somewhat apathetic about both Buemi and Alguersuari – they both seem to be pretty consistent and reasonably quick drivers, but neither got me at all excited about their potential. I was expecting at least one of them to stay on with the team though.

  36. Holy…cow. Red-bull-in-a-china-shop stuff, and really late in the day too. I thought they might change one driver max, or place Ricciardo at Caterham. Good news for Jarno Trulli then?

    Could be good news for sportscars too, with all these experienced F1 drivers available. Surely they won’t all be travelling to all the Grands Prix just to wear team kit and stand around in the garage?

    F1 really needs a 13th team, or dare I say it, a third Ferrari (and Red Bull or Toro Rosso?) with all the old codgers refusing to go away and young ‘uns arriving loaded with cash. I’m surprised we’ve not seen teams like Toro Rosso and Force India picking 2 drivers for each race from a squad of 3.

  37. The first thing that went through my mind when I read the news was “Big mistake”. It’s clear that both Buemi and Alguersuari are very talented drivers, more than deserving of a place in F1.
    I mean, what exactly did Helmut Marko expect from them? Was he seriously expecting one of them to ‘do a Vettel’ and win a race in a car that’s been nowhere the whole year? If that’s what all the Red Bull juniors are expected to do to keep an F1 seat then they may as well install a revolving door…

    1. To win in an STR, I guess …

      1. Yeah, that’s what I meant lol :)

  38. buemi and alguersuari had 3 years ( on average) each to prove what they’ve got. STR want another super talent like vettel, not just a good/great driver. Vettel made an impression in the very first races in 2007 when he ran in top 4-5 for 2 consecutive races ( with a much worse car than STR has now) . He crashed in one, but delivered in the next one. These other 2 didn’t do smth similarin 3 years !

    1. That STR Vettel had was no worse than the current car. It was the RBR chassis and the Ferrari engine that year was a boost rather than holding them back at the time.

      1. Maybe, but bad them evven Newey said that neither Toro Rosso nor Red Bull had a car to win a race.

        Back them if I remember correctly the higher a Toro Rosso got in qualifying was around 14.

        1. No, the year Vettel got in the team they had been steadily going towards the front of the midfield already. Biggest problem they had in the first half of that year was actualy finishing a race.

          But Liuzzi got into the top 6 as well that year, if I remember right. And even Speed did get the car to finish in the top 10 once (of maybe 3 race finishes!)

  39. If Red Bull didn’t think Buemi and Alguersuari were better bets than Webber after 3 seasons then it was never going to happen. So why keep them?

    I do feel a bit sorry for Jaime though.

  40. FlyingLobster27
    14th December 2011, 17:30

    On one hand, the Red Bull Drivers Program IS working, as new talented drivers are joining F1, and, if one of the Toro Rosso drivers had been poor, there would have been no problem replacing him.
    On the other, it ISN’T working, because the drivers they had at STR were both good, and the renewal rate at the top, at RBR, is much slower, so these two good drivers can’t graduate further, and I can’t see whether Red Bull have opened other doors for Alguersuari and Buemi to stay in F1.

    Not to mention that there aren’t many left to open. Will it be a case of one will do a Hülkenberg and test for Force India, and the other taking the second HRT?
    Shame for Jaime and Sebastien, I hope they get drives again, but it was a case of crunching four drivers into two seats, and no seat was freed further up.

  41. Formula 1 can be a brutal sport sometimes. I feel bad for Buemi and Alguersuari, they both did a good job this year.

  42. Lets hope this is a blessing in disguise for both drivers…

  43. Well, they’re not aiming to win the constructors championship, but they do want to find the most talented driver they can possibly find to get him a seat in the Red Bull team. Algersuari and Buemi, although I liked both, were great drivers in my opinion and a lot of other teams might’ve kept them, but Torro Rosso has a completely different goal than most teams. So, I understand the decision.

    That is not to say I really, really dislike the team as a whole. I dislike the fact that there are two teams with a Red Bull livery on the grid and I hate the way Red Bull uses one of the remaining 11 teams for their own good. If by some miracle the Torro Rosso team ever get on top of things, all the good personnel will be hauled over to Red Bull anyway. It’s a team without the ambition to win and that annoys me to no end. I want 12 COMPETING teams, not 3 teams fighting it out with the rest of the grid slots filled up with rookies and test drivers. That’s the way we’re heading anyway, with Red Bull lending their gear material to Caterham, McLaren to Marussia and Ferrari taking an ever increasing interest in Sauber (engines, Perez, leaving FOTA). Personally, I can’t wait for the day Torro Rosso gets sold, changes it’s name and it’s livery and cuts ties with Red Bull. Let them handle their own business, GP2 exists for the sole purpose of getting rookies in touch of things and FIA should interrupt for the sake of the sport.

    1. Plus I should’ve mentioned the ridiculous system of buying Ricciardo a seat at HRT so he can earn some experience to get in the Torro Rosso car, which is meant to make him earn experience in the first place. That’s 3 teams involved in getting one of them above the rest in the standing, so by that logic we might really see the trend where there are just 3 or 4 teams running business in the future.

      I know dominance is part of the sport, but so is competition. If my worst fears become reality, we might have just given Ferrari their precious third car and be done with it.

    2. Completely agree.

      I really dislike the way the team is managed as a whole to be honest. Yes, they have helped make a number of drivers F1 careers (Sebastian Vettel being the obvious example) by giving them a shot at F1. But they have also played a part in destroying the chances of some pretty talented drivers get a drive somewhere else in F1 by dropping them mid season (Scott Speed and Sebastien Bourdais). I just hat the way that the Redbull driver program, although giving many drivers the opportunity to drive in F1, has stopped a number of other drivers from progressing by dumping them so unceremoniously mid season.

  44. This move clearly shows how Red Bull-Toro Rosso works. I think neither jaime nor sebastian showed what the best team needs now, so they drop and come up with 2 new faces.
    I think this thing should be regulated, I don’t like big teams having a B team.
    A shame for both jaime and sebastian, they had a great year and deserve a seat in 2012.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      14th December 2011, 17:54

      Spot on. It clearly shows that Torro Rosso aren’t a competing team – they only exist to help Red Bull.

      This decision has been made purely for Red Bull’s benefit as it will destroy Torro Rosso’s chance of progressing next season in their own right.

  45. Red Bull Driver Development Program can be brutal. As Speed, Liuzzi and Bourdais have learned before. Red Bull has so many young drivers in various series they could buy HRT and rename it “Toro Rojo” and still be forced to flush down the toilet every driver that doesn’t look like another Vettel in the making.
    It is their team and they are calling the shots but you can’t help but feel sorry for Alguersuari and Buemi.

  46. Firstly, this is a very bad decision. They should at have mantained one driver from this year.

    Secondly, do you who will run with what number in Toro Rosso?

    1. I think you missed a word out from your question.

  47. I dont get this descision, i just dont. They both did a great job last year. Even if STR can produce a car like last year can these two match the perfomance and experience

  48. petebaldwin (@)
    14th December 2011, 17:50

    I am completly astounded that they haven’t kept Alguersuari… What a massive shame for the sport that drivers like Liuzzi, Maldonado and Massa can get seats but Alguersuari can’t. Absolutely shocking.

  49. Algersuari (with a little of RB backing) to Hispania then replacing Liuzzi?..

  50. I totally understand this decision. As much as I like Buemi and Jaime, they’ve never really shown anything that might suggest they’ll become anything more than simply competent mid field drivers. Other teams would do well to pick one of them up, but Red Bull want a driver to replace Webber when he decides to go. Can anyone really see Buemi or Alguersuari in a front running car? Daniel and Jean-Eric arrive with far more glittering CVs than Seb or Jaime ever did and have better long term prospects. Better to give them enough time to prove themselves rather than letting them stagnate in the feeder series for another year

    The 2012 grid is shaping up to be one of the most talented around and whilst I’ll miss Seb and Jaime, I can’t help but be excited as to what Ricciardo and Vergne can achieve next year…

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      14th December 2011, 17:55

      “Red Bull want a driver to replace Webber when he decides to go”

      And there is no problem with that providing you’re happy with Torro Rosso existing solely to help Red Bull.

      1. It’s not a matter or being happy or not is it though, because that IS the purpose of STR, like it or not.

    2. I saw this one coming at least since that Helmut Marko interview where he talked about how both STR drivers are doing a solid job but no miracles.

      Makes perfect sense from Red Bull’s point of view. Although, if the drivers found out only recently, they must now be completely gutted, as there is not much they can now do to stay on the grid.

    3. I Love The Pope
      14th December 2011, 19:32

      I suspect that the new Aussie and the new Frenchy will not do anything Seb or Jaime could have done. Its rearranging the cars on a sinking ferry boat.

      Also, without Vettel, RBR does not win. There will be no one to match him until he is done, when RBR withdraws from the sport and concentrates on making their terrible beverages even more terrible.


      1. There is no way to know how good Vettel is right now. He hasn’t had a teammate that has previously proven themselves a top driver at another team. There are questions about what has happened to Webber’s performances this year and his car (no.2 driver ?). Its possible had Jaime had Webber’s car and equal status we could have seen a different new drivers champion.

        1. Er…ridiculous. Webber’s had a poor season, but he’s still a top class driver. I feel desperately sorry for Jaime, and think he’s a super talent who deserves a seat, but he’s still a long way off either RBR driver at the moment in terms of pure pace and racecraft. If you understand the sport well, you don’t need to have seen every driver in the RB7 to be able to tell what they’re capable of. Vettel is supreme at the moment, car or no car.

          1. ? You’re saying Vettel could take the 2011 torro rosso and win with it??

            Webber struggled with the pirrelli tyres for the whole year. Alguersuari did as well but managed to adapt his driving after a few races to suit the tyres and lead the team from then on. Webber isn’t a top driver he has never really beaten a good team mate, He was outclassed by Heidfeld at Williams, Beaten by a halfhearted Coulthard.

            Vettel is good but he is no god. Put Alonso or Hamilton (who have been tested together in equal status) in the other red bull and we would see how good he really is.

          2. Webber flogged Coulthard at RBR in ’08, when the car was finally reliable. And he beat Heidfeld at Williams, despite both drivers suffering major reliability problems.
            Also, Vettel took the ’08 STR and won. And it wasn’t a great car.

          3. @Dragon Heidfeld was well ahead of Webber before he got injured twice and missed the final 5 races. In my book that means Heidfeld beat Webber. Coulthard had pretty much given up already in ’08 and even he says he wasn’t that great of a driver. The ’08 Torro Rosso was a good car and Vettel made the most of it, Boardais though isn’t much cop and his bad performances made Vettel’s look even better. Vettel really has never had a top driver as a team mate in F1 for a benchmark.

          4. @the-last-pope – I’d say Vettel has done about as well against Webber, (who definitely isn’t as bad as you make out) as anyone else possibly could. And Webber wasn’t beaten by a “half-hearted” Coulthard, when Webber outscored him by quite a bit over the two seasons.

  51. Woaw, unexpected !

    Now we have three Frenchmen (partly from Monaco and Switzerland admitedly) , will qualification be free to air again in France ? (Had to pay the odd 30€ to watch qualis and the odd practice session on eurosport this year).

    1. French drivers are coming back, also jules bianchi will have a seat in the near future I’m sure.

    2. Good point. I had to rely on exotical streams to follow qualis.
      I hope TF1 will buy the rights for them.

  52. This is a surprise.

    I had expected Toro Rosso to make a change as they had the same line-up for two and a half seasons now and I remember that when Alguersuari joined in mid 2009 the team had a reputation for changing their drivers more often than other teams.

    For me neither Buemi nor Alguersuari had shown enough to be an obvious choice as to be the one driver retained if the team had decided to drop one of them but I didn’t expect them both to be dropped.

    I remember someone mentioning lately that while neither driver had disgraced themselves they also hadn’t shown the potential to join Red Bull if Webber decided to retire at the end of 2012. Perhaps this was the main factor in the decision.

    I don’t see how this decision could be in the best interests of Toro Rosso as the drivers they will start next season with will only have half a season of F1 racing and some limited testing between them.

    Personally I think it is best to not change both drivers at the same time and at least have an experienced driver in one of the race seats.

    If this is the end of the F1 careers for either Buemi or Alguersuari when they are both still so young, Buemi being 23 and Alguersuari only 21, it reminds me of something Brundle said a while back that in his day a driver would only make his F1 debut in their mid to late 20’s yet now we see drivers whose time in F1 is at an end before that age.

  53. A bit surprised to see both of them go. I suppose this has to mean that Tost and Marko don’t feel that either driver would be suitable for promotion over to RB. Tough old business, F1.

  54. Marko’s Red Bull driver conveyor belt continues…

  55. I saw this coming from the second Vergne got a chance at Red Bull. Ricciardo was never gonna sit in a HRT for another season with the great reputation he came with. Vernge talked a good game after his test and Buemi for me has had plenty of time to prove himself and done nothing.

    The idea of STR is to find world champion drivers and weed out those who are ‘only’ race winners. Even from day 1 at RB, it was the Klien and Liuzzi revolving door. Algesauri was good this year but obviously was seen to be on a level peg with DR and JEV. After 2 and a half seasons that is not enough.

    He had to be good enough to move MW aside and he was seen not to. Crumbs said the biscuit as it was stood on.

    I think this is the ruthless approach more teams should take ie out Trulli, Massa and Barrichello for a start. As for JA, he must be a shoe in for HRT, if not it’s not the end of the world, now he has 20 seats to choose from, not just the Red Bull 4.

    1. But that would be assuming that every team had vacant seats, and that every team wanted him…

      1. Of course, @f1alex, but my point is that there are more seats at all other teams than just the red bull 4. I personally can’t see a ‘current’ red bull programme member ever being allowed to sign for Ferrari or McLaren, as that would just be a waste of the scheme. Atm it seems that its gonna be Vettel + graduate, from 2013/14 onwards. Whereas, if ALG has a strong season at say HRT, he could get a drive at Sauber or Williams in the future and progress to another top team. That is the only thing I dislike about the RBJD programme.

    2. I could perhaps live with that approach, but would have liked the drivers’ managers to have negotiated a harsh, and public, penalty to Red Bull for leaving it so late to decide, giving their drivers virtually no change to try and win another seat.

      More reason to not like Red Bull as an operation, for me (which isn’t to say I don’t appreciate their drivers or team effort, but Horner usually bores or rubs me the wrong way, and Marko is an instant-dislike-engine).

      1. @bosyber, I don’t care for Horner and especially, gods-gift-to-talent-spotting Marko. It is harsh on JA but I don’t think Buemi had any chance of keeping his seat beyond 2011 tbh. The other 2 are just seen as a different league from him and Vernge took his place. I also think the only reason DR drove for HRT was because he was guaranteed a seat at STR in 2012. IMO, JA still has the same number of seats now that he did 3 months ago, the only difference is that he is a better driver now. Around May, he was not up to standard but has then improved I think. Caterham, HRT and Williams are the only seats left for him now, he was never in with a chance at Lotus, FI or Sauber.

  56. Maybe Jaime can secure the #3 seat at RBR as they don’t have a reserve driver listed. He deserves tobe in a race seat, but that would be a good fall back. Tost kinda ticks me off. I like the team because of the Minardi link, but he (Tost) always seems to treat people like crap.

  57. Wow thats a bit of a shock to end the day with but as i’ve read through it its true that Torro Rosso are there to find the next gen Red bull drivers and hard to see either Algersuari or Buemi being top drawer.

    Didnt think we’d see Buemi there after i hardly noticed him this season. Never showed any star quality. Would nt be surprised to see him out from F1 for good.

    Algersuari on the other had ha always looked like the better driver, especially this season once he got on top of the tyres. I thought he had really come on and had done more than enough to secure the no1 seat along side Riccardo who deserves a shot in a decent car afer his training in the HRT.

    Have not seen nearly enough of Jean-Eric Vergne to judge but Red Bull Jr’s dont tend to got the GP2 route do they but still expected to see him test rather than drive.

    Hope to see Algesari in f1 again. Expecting to see him in the HRT since they’ve gone spain on the brain

  58. Boy, Red Bull sure has a luxury problem as far as rookies go. However, this only shows just why it would have been better to call Alguersuari up to Red Bull rather than feed the corpse of Webber’s career another year.

    1. In the long term, that might have been a good move – if Webber leaves or retires at the end of 2012, Red Bull aren’t guaranteed to have a proven young driver ready and waiting to take his place – but in the short term, I can’t imagine that Alguersuari would have done a better job in 2012 than Webber will. I think your reference to “the corpse of his career” was a bit harsh.

  59. Wow I am thrilled about this move! I feel sorry for Buemi and Algersuari, they were both doing a solid job, but still nothing great.
    I hope they can find them somewhere else for 2012.
    I expect Vergne and Ricciardo to produce a real spectacle, how good they are no one knows yet, but I think it is going to be a fierce battle for Webber’s seat which should be free in a few years.
    I am really looking forward to see how they stack up against each other.
    Yes two rookies in a team is a brave move by TR, but I think it is going to be a lot more exciting to watch then see a rookie desperately try to hang on to an experienced driver who hasn’t really done much him self.
    Two rookies might not be the best way for TR to collect points, but I am sure it is going to be a fun battle to watch.

    1. How do you know they weren’t both doing an amazing job and putting the car much higher than someone like Webber having a poor season could have done?

      1. I don’t, and no one knows if Chandock would actually run rings around Alonso in the same car, or if if the HRT is actually the fastest car on the grid with very slow drivers.
        But was I impressed by Webber this year? No not at all.
        I said I wasn’t impressed much by any of the TR drivers. They were good, but not great.
        I think a new shoot-out for Webber’s seat in TR with two rookies (sort off…) would be great to watch.

  60. Whilst not the most ceremonious way of doing it, I fail to see how this can be anything but good for Toro Rosso. Whilst I’m sure he’s a nice guy, Buemi has shown in his three years of Formula One that he is a mediocre driver; he can have flashes of speed here and there, but I doubt he would be championship material. I am a bit gutted for Alguersuari, after his demonstration of race pace (if not over one lap). Hopefully he will end up in the second HRT seat and can then work his way back up. I can see Vergne doing better than Ricciardo, with Ricciardo getting replaced in a couple of years time, and Vergne going to Red Bull when Webber leaves. Or I might be completely wrong. Past experience on these matters has shown I probably will be.

  61. What a nightmare this is.


    1. Done with this team

      1. Done with this team

        They don’t even know you exist!

    2. What makes you support Buemi? Great avatar, by the way!

      1. Thank you sir?

        Why? Because from what I’ve seen of him growing as a driver throughout his years at STR, his intelligence as a person, his ability to overtake and his very good (There are bad, good, very good, great, and nando-level drivers) pace, I think he deserved the drive. If his car hadnt failed him 3/4 of the last races, STR would have taken 7th in the constructor’s and Buemi could have kept his seat – provided STR actually cares about the constructor’s.

  62. Good move by the team. Both Buemi and Alguersuari have had their fair chance, particularly Buemi. It’s definitely time to give other young drivers their opportunity.

    1. I Love The Pope
      14th December 2011, 19:34

      …and also fail to do anything in a midfield car. Only Vettel could win it, and that was because he’s Vettel. These two “latest/greatest” will do no better than the last two.

  63. A bit of a shock and it’s a shame for Jaime and Sebastien, but I guess it’s the right thing for do. They’re looking for the next big talent to pair up with Sebastian when Mark retires. The two had three years at the team and apparently Red Bull thought they weren’t that great. Fair enough.

  64. Feeling very sorry for Alguersuari. I thought he had a great finish to the season and bagged a couple of impressive 7th positions. Hopefully this won’t be the last we see of him. Buemi never struck me as anything more than average, so I’m not as upset about him leaving.

    Looking to next season, I’m very excited to be able to see what Ricciardo will do in a far more competitive car.

    1. I Love The Pope
      14th December 2011, 19:34

      *looking for the next person for Vettel to beat

  65. stephenhiggins53
    14th December 2011, 19:34

    Methinks Red Bull have a backlog of drivers. Could they force Webber to retire if this is the way to go ??

    Stutil looks in at Williams, Renault-Lotus is now a no-go for Senna and Petrov, and even HRT have gone for two has-beens.

    Short of Red Bull buying a stake in HRT and using them as a THIRD team, the’re really no other way for young drivers to get in it seems, not including the limited testing milage available.

    Maybe in two years when Schumacher and Webber head for the beach, that frees up another two seats, but what do these guys do in the meantime apart for IndyCar or ALMS / GT racing ??

    Perhaps Di Mentezemolo’s idea of three car teams isn’t such a bad idea … after all … it’s not as if we have dearth of talented drivers … no 21st Century Jean-Denis Deletrazes or Goivanni Lavvagi’s anyway …

  66. Wow was not expecting that!!!Stupid from toro rosso!!!!I think Williams and may be even Catheram might end up beating them!!!!!

  67. Dropping Alguersuari is just utterly stupid. They throw him in at 19 he continues to improve season on season despite the car not been great & then they kick him to the kerb as he begins to consistently put the car in the top 10/12 as the car actually improves?

    The same thing will happen to one if not both of Ricciardo and Vergne in a season or twos time as well.

  68. This is an interview from Alguersuari after finding out about the news of the hiring of Vergne and Riccardo: (Interview in spanish)

    “I am very surprised by the decision. Just a week ago after winning the Challenge das Estrelas in Florianópolis talked with Helmut Marko and Franz Tost and they told me they had plans for me in 2012,” said Spanish.

    Alguersuari added that he sensed that the conversation would continue in 2012: “They did it with enthusiasm and showed me much confidence, was also asked me on Monday in Madrid, in a wonderful act of CEPSA crowded where I did insist on our project 2012 in F1. ”

    “So after talking with Franz Tost and Helmut Marko this morning, I thought of three things: First, I will not judge the situation because if I thought that would make me crazy debut in 2009 with 19 years and three months without have done a mile in F1 ever before, today’s news seemed to be a major misunderstanding in the best moment of my sporting life, why not judge the decision, because Red Bull gave me everything since I was 15, I formed with them, and I’ve done a complete driver in F1 at 21 years, “he said.

    The Spaniard continued: “Secondly, I am not a victim because for seven years I have enjoyed the privilege of being the best team in the world and the best means, they brought me here, they won the British F3 International Series at 18 years and they have achieved the best results from a pilot of 21 years in Formula 1in 2011. at the end of March will perform 22 years, with 46 GP played. they have taken a decision which I respect, but I am left with a enviable level sports training and emotional “

    1. Thanks for posting this!
      Glad to see from the transcript he’s taking it so well. Quite the mature response, and he’s right, he is only 21 and has shown a lot of talent. Even if he isn’t on the grid next year I believe we haven’t seen the last of this driver.

  69. As an Australian all I can say is “**** yeah!”

    As an international F1 viewer I am very surprised. I thought maybe Buemi was gone but not Alguesuari!

  70. Aussie aussie aussie oi oi oi. You can expect to hearthat chant around F1 paddocks now our boy Dan the man has picked up the STR gig. At least he and the frenchman know if they don’t perform above and beyond what the car is capable of they are out.

  71. WOW! All season we’ve been wondering if STR would drop Buemi OR Alguersuari, and then they go drop Buemi AND Alguersuari!

  72. All I hope is that Algersuari (not so much Buemi from my opinion) is not tainted by being dropped, as we’ve seen with other drivers who have seemingly been booted from the Red Bull programme.

    The guy is only 21, and has improved year on year in my view, and I think he has a lot more to give. I’ll be surprised if either of the two rookies will be able to do much better with a mediocre or worse car.

  73. Terrible decision, i hope this blows up in the face of toro rosso.

    1. That’s quite a find! Surprised no one posted that earlier.

      Marko just creeps me out in that picture. Really.

      1. @Journeyer Someone did I think, in the comments to one of the round ups just after the GP. There are a whole series of them in the article.

    2. whoa! if that’s legit, that’s crazy!
      doesn’t make sense for a contract to be signed openly in the paddock though.. i’m questioning it a little bit

  74. annoyed at the decision, hopefuly jaime will stay in f1 maybe with hrt to make a spanish national team then move up the grid again the next year

    1. That’s quite a possibility now (the HRT part).

  75. WOW!!!! Thats a shocker! Expected one of them to be dropped but not both because of their experience…..wow, wow and wow again!!!!

  76. I’m actually not surprised. I liked Buemi but neither he nor Alg were the next big things. It’s not great as continuity tends to be best to develop a car but then again they may as well take a risk.

  77. Terribly sad for Jaime and Sebastian. I can’t understand this decision. Having two rookies it’s very strange. I hope both guys find a seat somewhere, specially Jaime.

  78. This move confirms that Toro Rosso is working for RedBull rather themselves.
    Its not that Vergne and Ricciardo arent talented but having 2 almost inexperient drivers into F1 really puts in perspective what Toro Rosso role is. This type of move can be seen as tradition, if you consider that Buemi and Alguersuari got their seats in similar conditions.

  79. Wow. I did not see that coming. I expected that maybe one of the Toro Rosso drivers would be shown the door, but not both. I’m massively disappointed for Jaime Alguersuari, though – I don’t think he deserved to get the boot.

  80. Wow. Two weeks ago, we had no French drivers. Now we have three French drivers, and I’m not entirely sure how we got here. With the current state of the grid, France has gone from not being represented at all, to being the second-most represented nation in Formula 1.

    1. Germans 5
      French 3
      Spanish 2
      British 2
      Finnish 2
      Japanese 1
      Mexican 1
      Venezuelan 1
      Brazilian 1
      Italian 1

      At the moment

      For the drivers with out a seat yet:
      Liuzzi (Italian)
      Alguersauri (Spanish)
      Buemi (Swizerland)
      Di Ambrosio (Belgiam)
      Senna and Barrichelo (Brazilian)

      Am I missing someone?

      1. Yeah, Vitaly Petrov.

        1. Oh he doesn´t matter (go runingn for hidding) ;)

          1. I couldn’t be happier with that, finally !!

      2. Australian 2

        Isn’t it only 4 Germans? (Vettel, Rosberg, Schu, Glock) Am I missing someone?

        1. Sutil and probby Hulkenberg

      3. The two Australians?

        1. Oh! sorry…

  81. while it’s true that neither if their current drivers has shown the once-in-a-generation talent that Vettel did, I don’t think either of them have been disgracefully off the pace, and Jaime in the last half of the year showed some true determination, putting the car in places we didn’t expect to see it, which is about all you can legitimately expect when the top 4 teams are so far ahead. I’m not convinced that either of the replacements are going to blow buemi or Jaime out of the water.

    Just because I’m massively cynical, I wonder how much this decision is a reflection of the respective drivers’ talents, and how much is Marko finding a justification for the young driver programme that is the bedrock of his power base. If the system were seen to be failing, then he starts to lose influence in the RBR organisation. (Or, if you prefer, his influence starts to diminish towards where his actual usefulness lies).

    Cynical me also wonders if Alguersari is paying a petty price for getting involved in his own races, failing to make space quickly enough for the favoured son on occasion.

    1. @hairs

      neither if their current drivers has shown the once-in-a-generation talent that Vettel did

      I think both of them did … if you merged them together. Buemi was a decent qualifier but not the best racer, and while Alguersuari never quite had raw qualifying pace by the pound, he was the better racer. If we could add Buemi’s qualifying ability to Alguersuari’s race speed, we would have something close to that once-in-a-generation talent.

      But I’m pretty sure that doing this would violate the laws of science and religion.

  82. Wow.

    I am both surprised and gutted. I particularly champion Alguersuari and I think he’s been great to watch in only his second full season. It seems you can do no right at Toro Rosso anymore. Good luck to the team in retaining 8th in 2012, then.

  83. Very unexpected move here by Toro Rosso.

    We will see if it was the right move in the 1st test.

  84. Good for Ricciardo.
    As for this Vergne guy, if what he said about Webber is true then he FAILed even before starting.

  85. Not happy. I’m sure that Vergne and Ricciardo will do fine but what the hell will happen with Alguersuari and Buemi now?

    4 doesn’t go in 2 but this is just awful. I think 2 careers are over before they had chance to begin.

  86. I’m confused why everyone thinks STR is for finding “the next Mark Webber” – STRs goal is to find “the next Michael Schumacher” – sure Vettel is currently Marko’s golden boy but rest assured as soon as he drops the ball or worse yet moves to Ferrari or Mercedes, Red Bull will want another young, high-performance star in their cars.

    Vettel’s contract is until 2015 which is only three years away. Anything can happen in three years’ time!

    1. I read somewhere that Seb Vettel is not interested in staying at RBR post 2014. So two years for Webbo and Vettel and the RBR line up could be Kimster and Daniel Ricciardo or Vergne

  87. Now that the shock has worn off, there is one thing I’m glad about: Toro Rosso have pulled their finger out. I didn’t like what they were doing last year, placing Ricciardo at HRT. Toro Rosso was created as a kind of audition for future Red Bull drivers, but by placing Ricciardo at HRT, they were kind of setting the team up as a bit of an audition for their own team. If this had continued, drivers would have to audition for an audition.

    What I find particularly telling in all of this is the way that Jean Eric Vergne was promoted straight into Toro Rosso. The team could have easily dropped Buemi in favour of Ricciardo and kept Alguersuari in the team. And possibly sent Vergne elsewhere (as much as I might dislike the idea). But instead, they dropped both their drivers and drafted new ones in their place – but one of them had to go through HRT for “evaluation” first, while the other did not, despite following a remarkably similar path to Formula 1. Both drivers went through Formula Renault 3.5 (they were even team-mates at Tech 1 in 2010). Both drivers came incredibly close to winning the title. Both drivers served as testing and reserve drivers for Toro Rosso. Both drove for Red Bull at the young driver tests, and both were fastest in the years that they ran. The only significant difference between their careers is that Ricciardo went to HRT first, whereas Vergne did not. Unless Dietrich Mateschitz has put his foot down and said “you cannot send drivers to another team any more”, I suspect Vergne will be the favoured son at Toro Rosso next year.

    1. Wrong: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Formula_Renault_seasons#Formula_Renault_2.0_West_European_Cup_season

      In 2008 Daniel won the FR2.0 series with 192 points with his team-mate Jules Eric-Verge placing 4th on 95 points. Daniel had 8 wins to Jules’ zero.

      1. @oblong-cheese – I’m only counting since 2009, when Ricciardo stepped into the F3 Euroseries (Vergne did British F3 in 2010). I’m not counting Formula Renault 2.0 because it doesn’t really mean much. Winning it does not mean you qualify for a superlicence the way winning FR3.5 or Formula 3 do.

  88. STR technical staff won’t be happy as from what I was told recently they all love Jaime Alguersuari & give him a lot of credit for helping improve the car as much of the development this year was done based off his feedback, An area he’s apparently exceptionally good at.

    Jaime is said to be able to go right into the fine detail when talking about what the cars doing out of the track & give very precise, very clear & very accurate feedback.

    1. I remember Martin Brundle talking about it during qualifying for a race – Alguersuari is apparently very good at describing what needs to be done, and he doesn’t waste words doing so.

  89. Hey, i just had a thought and…what if one of them is getting a reserve driver role in the Red Bull team for 2012 with a sight of Webber’s seat and one remains as a reserve for STR to work on a simulator and provide some reference?
    I mean, who else is on the list of RB driver development program ready to step up to F1 next year? Surely Red Bull don’t need to look elsewhere for a driver when they have a bunch already.

  90. Ridiculous. They should have placed Jaime in the 1st seat, with Daniel in the 2nd seat. And Vergne as test driver. And help Buemi find a seat. Toro Rosso have got this completely wrong.

    I hope Jaime can get a seat now, although it looks unlikely. Perhaps he could throw a spanner in the works at Williams? Replacing Barrichello? Or he could drop by at Team Lotus and nick Trulli’s seat or go for a test role? I think he should be a 3rd driver than drive a HRT if I’m honest, although his feedback would benefit them greatly.

    I know it’s a long shot, but could Jaime turn up at Force India, hoping for Nico Hulkenburg to make way?

    As for Seb, I think his career is completely over sadly.

  91. Just been reading a little on wiki..seems Ricciadro and JEV were team mates in Formula Renault 2.0 WEC in 2008, for SG Formula. Ricciardo won the title with 192 points and JEV was fourth with 95 points. Ricciardo got eight wins, JEV got none.

  92. So looks like Ricciardo will be at RBR for 2013.

    1. Certainly not a guarantee of anything, I’m afraid. When Jules Bianchi domianted Formula 3, everyone expected him to set the world on fire. When he got to GP2, the most that could be set for him is that he nearly set a few people on fire. Vergne could easily have been hyper-competitive in Formula Renault, but could just as easily prove to be out of his depth in Formula 1.

      1. Sorry, but who mentioned Vergne? I think its more or less expected Ricciardo will win the intra team battle.

        1. Is it? I think Vergne has a lot of support, not least from Dr Marko. I’d be surprised to see him beaten.

  93. Hope Dr. Mallya brings Jaime on to FI,give him sufficient practice on Friday and once Paul di Resta moves to Mercedes promote Alguersari to the seat alongside The Hulk. I used to love this team as Minardi but not any more:(

    1. The latest talk suggests that Mallya signed Hulkenberg and di Resta for 2012, but changed his mind and is now trying to get Hulkenberg out of his seat and Sutil into it. In that case, Alguersuari’s best bet would be to hope that Nico Hulkenberg walks away from the team.

      1. That’s a big blow to the Hulk.I thought Sutil was headed to Williams-Renault

  94. What the ********? Toro Rosso, you disappoint me.

    I used to like this team, support this team, but they sure have a penchant for shooting themselves in the foot. They had a remarkable improvement over this past season and instead of building on it they choose to start back over again at zero.

    Keith, can we officially go from calling this the silly season to the mad season? The whole paddock seems to have gone insane.

  95. STR’s gotta pick the best drivers for the job, and that’s exactly what they’ve done.. Alguersuari and Buemi had 3 years to prove their worth, they didn’t set the world on fire, they get replaced.. it’s cutthroat but that’s Formula 1.


  96. Well it’s great that Ricciardo is driving for Toro Rosso. Vergne also driving is unexpected. But exciting. Hopefully Ricciardo can beat Vergne next season. Hopefully Toro Rosso have a good car.

  97. Wow.. I really wasn’t expecting that one..

    This does has an upside to it though, I was wondering about Ricciardo and where he’d go for 2012. I can’t pass comment on Vergne, I hope he’s good, but I’ve never seen him…

  98. Three French drivers? Now that’s just too many. ;)

    We’ve only got three, and one doesn’t even have a Union Flag on his overalls…

  99. Another unexpected News!!
    I’m really waiting for Force India’s driver line up now and i cant help but feel there might be another surprising news over there.

  100. Michael counsell
    15th December 2011, 10:43

    I thought alguesuari put in some great drives and im shocked to see him go. Hopefully he can stay on the grid next season.

  101. As an Australian, I’m pretty excited to see how Ricciardo will perform in a more competitive car. Also, we know Toro Rosso is just a feeder team and they’ll always be looking for the new Vettel, so I never expected Buemi or Alguersuari to be there much longer. And to be honest, they didn’t really perform at the level needed to progress to a more competitive team. Sure they had some great drives and good results, and were fairly evenly matched, but I never thought they’d get better drives than say Renault or Force India.

  102. That’s a shock. I feel bad for both Buemi & Jaime, as for the latter I was expecting him to be in RBR given Webber decides to quit in 2012.I am not taking away anything from Ricciardo and Vergne but I don’t think having two Rookie drivers for a competitive mid-field battle is a good idea. But all the best to these two young guns.

  103. Bad news for me, imho both drivers are pretty good, especially Jaime.

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