Toro Rosso are coming…

As Sebastian Vettel signs up until 2014 with Red Bull, it looks like the real battle this year could be between Toro Rosso drivers Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari. They struggled down in the bottom of the midfield last year for Toro Rosso, and their future is under threat against Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo. But Alguersuari and Buemi seem confident and are more concerned with each other. Both claim that they are the better driver overall:

Alguersuari: “Yes, I think I’m ahead of Buemi,” he said. “He has a great talent and can do laps faster than me, but there are many things to put together: endurance, maturity, mental strength, rhythm … and overall I think I’m ahead.” (source)
Buemi: “…in 2011 we will see a new, toned Buemi who is also stronger in the head. Under normal circumstances, I will have Jaime under control!” (source)
The press agree that it’s Buemi who needs to watch out, having had a poor end to 2010 where Alguersuari consistently beat his teammate, even finishing in the points at Abu Dhabi, ending ahead of Felipe Massa by 0.6s. That’s the battle they forget to mention because everyone was focused on Petrov and Alonso.
For Alguersuari at least, the real battle is for a seat at Red Bull. Currently, Webber seems happy to stay there and Christian Horner seems happy with both his drivers, but Sebastian Vettel isn’t going anywhere and he’s a Red Bull prodigy, so the Australian is the one who would have to make way. He’s said he’d like to go to Ferrari, but would the red team take him? If they don’t, the young drivers will have to find themselves looking out for a race seat at another team as former Toro Rosso driver Liuzzi has ended up doing. Daniel Ricciardo is only in Formula Renault 3.5, but Alguersuari made that leap in mid-2009.
The 2011 Toro Rosso is a massive improvement on the 2010 car: something obvious just from testing. This is going to help the drivers in the beginning, but they’ll have to maintain consistent performances to stay. Toro Rosso drivers have a bad retention rate: of the six drivers they’ve had, Liuzzi has barely remained in F1, and Speed and Bourdais have disappeared. Vettel, of course, has remained and moved on to Red Bull. Meanwhile, both Buemi and Alguersuari are under threat. So where will they be at the end of 2011? Both young men have plenty of time ahead of them to return to F1 if they leave Toro Rosso and don’t go into Red Bull.
Personally, I supported Alguersuari through 2010. He’s the one I’m rooting for. Changing drivers mid-season is a bit weird for a team, and Toro Rosso would be better to wait at least until the break between Hungary and Belgium, but preferably until the end of the season. Good luck to all of them.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s