Spanish driver Jaime Alguersuari has been confirmed as a Scuderia Toro Rosso pilot for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix. Should Jaime compete in the race on Sunday as planned, he will become Formula One’s youngest ever competitor, breaking the current record set by Mike Thackwell back in 1980. Obviously Alguersuari is delighted to be offered the promotion, and it was also confirmed that Jaime will continue competing in the Formula Renault 3.5 championship.
Many, many years ago, Formula One pilots would often compete in two championships throughout the course of the year, with many racing in the Tasman series over the European winter, or occasionally cropping up in the former Formula Two series. However, as demands on Formula One drivers grew, so the decline in dovetailing championships began. With a ban on in-season testing though, Jaime probably does have the time to compete in both series, and although hard work it will be, Alguersuari is determined to finish off the year with Carlin Motorsport in the World Series by Renault.
I would like to thank Red Bull for giving me this great opportunity to race in Formula One. Ever since I started racing this has been my dream and thanks to the Red Bull Junior Programme I will now realise my ambition of lining up on a Grand Prix grid.
I am aware that I’m facing a very tough challenge, because coming into Formula 1 is never easy, coming into Formula One in the middle of a season is even harder and doing so without any testing is really difficult. But already I feel that I am getting great support from the team, who have quite a reputation for looking after rookie drivers. Jaime Alguersuari.
Red Bull’s stated aim for Scuderia Toro Rosso is that, when possible, it should be used to provide a seat for products of its Young Driver Programme. We therefore chose Alguersuari as the most mature driver currently in the programme.
I am well aware that over the next few months the team and Jaime will face a major challenge, especially because of the testing ban. But Red Bull is always ready for a new challenge.
I do not expect anything from him for at least his first three races, during which he has to get used to the car, the team and to the Formula One environment. Franz Tost.
Trevor Carlin was very proud of the young Spaniard, praising his maturity and talent, and also pointing out that the World Series by Renault has given Scuderia Toro Rosso two drivers in recent times, Sebastian Vettel being the other.
We’re very proud to see another one of our Red Bull drivers make the step up to Formula One, and Jaime is following in the footsteps of Sebastian Vettel, who also made the transition from our World Series team to a race seat at Toro Rosso.
It will be a tough learning curve for Jaime this year, but he is mature enough to learn quickly and make the most of this great opportunity. Jaime intends to continue racing with us in World Series this year, but obviously his F1 commitments will take priority. Trevor Carlin.
Jaime will indeed have a very steep leaning curve, and with a ban on in-season testing his job will be made that much harder. The only time Alguersuari will able to drive the STR4 is on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of race weekends. Also on the agenda will be learning some of the circuits, although many drivers have stated in the past that it only takes a few laps to understand a new track; Damon Hill once stated nine laps was all that was needed.
This is also the first time in a while that a team has made an in-season change of driver, Scuderia Toro Rosso having given popular French driver Sebastien Bourdais his marching orders last week. The last time a team made a mid-season change was back in 2007, when Alex Wurz retired just prior to the final race of the year, and Kazuki Nakajima was given a slightly early promotion before racing for the team full time in 2008.
Also in that season, Scuderia Toro Rosso waved goodbye to Scott Speed amid accusations of assault or threatening behaviour. Spyker ditched Christijan Albers over a problem with a sponsor’s payment and replaced the Dutch pilot with Sakon Yamamoto, and Sebastian Vettel subbed for an injured Robert Kubica in the US grand prix.