Alguersuari and di Grassi to test Pirelli tyres

2012 F1 season

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Pirelli have confirmed ex-Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari will be one of their test drivers in 2012.

F1’s official tyre supplier will also retain the services of Lucas di Grassi, who has tested for them previously.

Pirelli have acquired a 2010 Renault R30 to conduct tyre testing this year and develop new compounds for 2013.

Alguersuari and Di Grassi will drive the car at F1 race venues Spa-Francorchamps, Monza and the Circuit de Catalunya as well as Jerez in Spain.

Alguersari said: “A week ago it was my birthday, when I turned 22, and now Pirelli has given me the best possible present.

“I can’t wait to get started with this very important and challenging job of developing the new tyres for the future, which I’m looking forward to a lot. I have a huge desire to get behind the wheel of a Formula One car again and return to competition, so this is a brilliant chance for me.”

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery added: “Our commitment to providing the best possible spectacle in Formula One is underlined by the fact that we have two extremely fast and talented test drivers this year.

“Lucas will provide us with the reference point that we need from the development programme so far, while Jaime brings an extra dimension from his experience of racing at the sharp end of the field throughout the last three seasons.

“We’re going to be using the drivers for all of our single-seater testing activities, including GP2 and simulator development as well. Their input and expertise are sure to help us make even greater progress during the season, resulting in competition tyres that enhance the action further and new technologies that will eventually filter down to our Ultra High Performance road car products.

“With opportunities for young drivers to drive a Formula One car so limited, this is a great chance for Lucas and Jaime to not only hone their testing and development skills, but also to potentially follow our former test drivers like Romain Grosjean, Pedro de la Rosa and Nick Heidfeld in returning to F1 or another top flight motorsport programme in future.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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27 comments on “Alguersuari and di Grassi to test Pirelli tyres”

  1. This is great news for Alguersuari, it should really help him to get a race seat for next season.

    1. I hope so

      1. Lucas di Grassi joined Pirelli in 2011 in the hopes that his experience of their tyres would help secure him a race seat in 2012 …

        1. But Alguersuari has had pretty extensive F1 experience, so it should make for a more rounded package. You are right or course, it could come to naught, but I still think that it puts him in a far stronger position than he is in now as a BBC employee…

          1. If Alguersuari is going to return to Formula 1, he’s going to have a massive barrier to overcome: Red Bull dropped him for a reason. And that reason is not because Helmut Marko is an utter pillock. No, Red Bull have what is perhaps the best-developed young driver programme of any of the teams, and they dropped Alguersuari because they felt that after two and a half seasons, he had nothing more to show for himself. All of the other teams would have paid attention to that, so having a championship-winning team drop him because he was not championship-winning material is a massive blot on Alguersuari’s record.

          2. You’re talking extremes again. Red Bull dropped him not because Marko is an ‘utter pillock’ but maybe because simply Marko doesn’t really get on with Alguersuari. He might be thinking after the Webber ‘number 2 driver’ experience last season the last thing he needs in one or two years time is a driver that actually answers back.

            Look I could be wrong and maybe the Red Bull party line that he just wasn’t good enough is a fair honest reflection, but from what I saw the last couple of seasons Alguersuari showed real promise to be a race winner in the future, was dumped prematurely and deserves a race seat in 2013.

          3. True, but there are plenty of drivers on the grid who are not there because their team thinks them the best prospect for winning races. Some are there because they are better testers. This could give him that kind of reputation. And he is still young, only 22. Most drivers haven’t started their F1 career at 22. He could still improve.

          4. ShaneB457 (@shaneb12345678910)
            30th March 2012, 17:00


            maybe because simply Marko doesn’t really get on with Alguersuari.

            I would say he DEFINATELY doesnt get on with Alguersuari as this video shows back in Korea :)..

  2. If Alguersari gets some early testing in for Pirelli and then Perez replaces Massa mid-season, might this make the Spaniard the best bet for Perez’s replacement at Sauber?

    1. Why wouldn’t Ferrari and Sauber engage in a straight swap, trading Massa for Perez so that Perez drives for Ferrari and Massa for Sauber?

      Even if Ferrari picked up Perez and Sauber passed on Massa, I doubt Alguersuari would join them. It’s far more likely that Esteban Gutierrez would get an early call-up to Sauber.

      1. I was thinking those would be the other two likely candidates, but any team would probably think twice before employing Massa at the moment, and Gutiterrez hasn’t looked quite ready for F1 in GP2. Alguersari arguably looks better than both at the moment and Pirelli testers have been quite good at getting drives recently

        1. I don’t think there is any future for Alguersuari at Sauber. If Perez goes to Ferrari, then the team will most likely take Gutierrez. He might not “look quite ready” for Formula 1 based on his GP2 results, but if you look at Kamui Kobayashi, then you could have said the same thing for him when Toyota called him up in 2009.

          1. Sauber need the points from a steady driver though, I’d say they’re more likely to hire a known quantity, and they should have a pretty good idea of Alguersuari’s ability after racing against him last season.

      2. Why would Sauber agree to that?

      3. IMHO Massa has had enough chances at SF. While I can understand why he would hang on, I predict his season is going to be painful to watch

  3. Good call by Pirelli, these two deserve a way to stay sharp!

  4. Certainly it’s way better a than Red Bull reserve driver seat…

  5. I hope this helps Jaime get a good seat for next year. In the mean time, good job with testing!

    It might also spice up the Radio 5live commentary with fresh info about the tyres, another good point about this.

  6. Personally I think that calling up Perez to Ferrari in 2012 may ruin his carreer. Let him shine as the underdog before stepping onto the hotplate. Actually I think Alguersuari would be great for 17-ish races in the nr. 2 Ferrari. He has nothing to lose, and I think he’s been sold short by Toro Rosso really. Spain would go nuts, that’s for sure.

    1. I would love it! but I don’t think Fernando would like it too much. I’m sure wouldn’t miss the opportunity of passing his team mate.

  7. there isn’t some kind of rule that the pirelli drivers can’t compete the next year after they tested and help’d to develop the tires? because they will have some advantages (make them suit their driving style) and a lot of knowledge to share with the team who hires them…. but if there isn’t I think there is a big chance for Alguersuari for a seat next year….

    1. No, there is no such rule.

  8. Bravo! I always like Jaime, even if I never pronounced his name right. At only 22 years old, he’s got plenty of time for a second chance!

  9. “…Jaime brings an extra dimension from his experience of racing at the sharp end of the field throughout the last three seasons.”

    Hmmm. He does know what team he was driving for, right? ;-)

    Anyway, I’m not sure how this is going to be a springboard into another F1 seat. As PM mentioned, it certainly hasn’t been for di Grassi, another in a line of promising drivers who haven’t *really* gotten a fair chance to show what they can do in F1, in my opinion. (I don’t think either of the non-Glock Virgin drivers really did.)

    1. @aka-robyn D’Ambrosio certainly had more to show us I think. He managed to keep himself out of trouble which is a good sign when you’re a rookie.

  10. This is good news for Alguersuari. Hopefully this will help him keep a hand in with the F1 teams. I doubt that he can offer them much in the way of tyre knowledge, but at least he will have track time.

  11. Look at that picture! I think he should be in movies. He’d made a great vampire or any kind of insane villain!

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