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Who is Jaime Alguersuari?
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Who is Jaime Alguersuari?
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Jul 2009   |  9:29 am GMT  |  35 comments

We await confirmation that Jaime Alguersuari will replace Sebastien Bourdais at Toro Rosso from next race onwards.

The 19 year old will become the youngest ever F1 driver, joining the ranks of Sebastian Vettel and Mike Thackwell in that list of teenagers who hit the big time.

Apart from having a name which commentators will curse as it hardly trips off the tongue, Alguersuari will be up against it a bit at Budapest, which is quite a technical track on which to make a debut. He has only had one outing in an F1 car so far, at the Portimao track in the Algarve over the winter.

Alguersuari, who is from Barcelona, does not arrive with sky high confidence as he’s had a tough season in World Series by Renault series and is not in contention for the championship. He won the British F3 Championship last season at the age of 18 and at his first attempt. He clinched it at the final round. Like most drivers he started racing karts at the minimum age permitted, which is 8.

Alguesuari is another product of the Red Bull young driver programme on which the company has spent a lot of money in recent years. So far the only outstanding product has been Sebastian Vettel, with Sebastien Buemi also in F1 thanks to the programme. Helmut Marko, the man entrusted with the programme, is very keen for it to be seen to bear fruit. With no in season testing allowed, the only option for Marko is to put Alguersuari in the car now and let him have eight races to learn F1 before attacking a full programme next year.

Alguersuari has worked hard for his opportunity and seems to have gone the extra mile to prepare himself. He spent a year at a boarding school in Ipswich, England so he could perfect his English because he knows it’s so important for getting on in motor sport today.

In an interview in the current Red Bulletin magazine he says that he wants to emulate Vettel,

“He did F3 for two years and he raced in this series, so his progression looks like mine.  His route to the top is a target to aim for and makes me think I can do it too.”

The interview was done a few weeks ago, clearly before this opportunity arose as he talks about the ‘problem’ of winning F3 at his first attempt and thus being forced to go the World Series to fill in time and gain experience before moving to F1  “I think this is my consolidation year before F1,” he says. Clearly in recent weeks, Marko, in consultation with Franz Tost the team principal at Toro Rosso and the highly experienced engineer Giorgio Ascanelli, has decided that Bourdais is going nowhere fast and that it’s time to chuck Alguersuari in at the deep end.

As for Bourdais, he was never the most likeable and engaging of F1 drivers, always finding something to complain about even on a good day. Three years ago when he was the Michael Schumacher of ChampCars in America he would never have  imagined that he would be described as a ‘struggling Frenchman’ and getting sacked mid-season.

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35 Comments
  1. He did F3 for two years and he raced in this series, so his progression looks like mine. His route to the top is a target to aim for and makes me think I can do it too.

    Except Vettel won his first two WSR races:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lGwiDnN5aU

    Whereas Alguersuari’s getting beaten by his team mate Oliver Turvey.

  2. Scarb says:

    “Apart from having a name which commentators will curse as it hardly trips off the tongue”

    indeed, it’s Al-guer-sua-ri James ;)

  3. Dank says:

    It also helps having the backing of a large Spanish oil company in the form of Repsol as well!

    Rumour has it they’ll be supplying both Red Bull teams for free next season as part of the deal?

    Oh and do you know who’ll take over the reserve driver duties now that Alguersuari has the drive at Toro Rosso?

  4. TinyJim says:

    You forget to mention the Jaime is extremely wealthy :)

  5. martin_tf says:

    I was amused all weekend by the way Leggard couldn’t pronounce his name. Could make for an amusing second half of the season.

    Shame about Bourdais, its weird how some racers can be successful in America and Europe and some just can’t.

  6. Luke Dalton says:

    No No No! the kid’s barely driven an F1 car, let alone in a competitive session, get an experienced guy in there, then give Alguersuari lots of winter testing then debut him next year.

  7. Paul says:

    I don’t understand what Toro Rosso are doing this season. If they had all of the same developments of Red Bull they would be up there taking points away from Brawn and helping Red Bull in both championships. As this is the last year STR can avail of a car designed by Red Bull Technologies, they should be using it and worry about setting up as a constructor next year.

    Even if they do get the Red Bull package, Buemi and Algersuari aren’t good enough to make the most of it. Jaime Algersuari is a decent driver but he’s taken so long to adapt to WsbR that he will struggle from Hungary onwards. I suspect that Bourdais would be performing better if they had a car capable of podiums. And what of Sato – why not get him on board for the rest of the season?

    It’s like they have settled for 9th in the constructors championship, which could easily be last when Force India start scoring.

  8. parrafone says:

    [mod] Good luck to the kid. He’s already been quite vocal about Bourdais not being good enough for the job, so he’s going to have to prove he’s worth the race seat.

  9. Red Andy says:

    I seem to remember one Robert Kubica not doing too shabbily on his debut at the Hungaroring in 2006, even if he was a couple of kilos underweight.

  10. Finn says:

    The lack of testing means that races are now just test sessions for the teams trying out new car parts and for assessing new drivers.

    That’s a poor way to treat the public.

    We pay to watch racing, not glorified test sessions.

  11. Ray.C. says:

    You’re a mind reader James. I just googled this kid. I’m guessing he’s either a bit special or he brings decent dollars with him.

    Remember when F1 drivers were old enough to be our Dads?, now we’re old enough to be theirs.
    …1990? ..geez.

  12. PaulL says:

    Looking forward to see what the young guy can do in STR.

  13. CTP says:

    what happened to super licenses? i remember not too long ago, there was always talk of whether such-and-such a young driver (kimi to name but one) would be granted one or not. now, this guy’s driven an f1 car once he gets one right away?
    i don’t care honestly, i’m sure he’ll be fine, but it’s another shining example of inconsistent policing by the fia.

  14. MikeW says:

    What about Hartley?

    Did Brendon quit as backup at just the wrong time, or was he moved aside with a focus on getting Algersuari into the seat?

  15. MikeW says:

    Superlicence: I read the Algersuari got his as F3 winner.

  16. TinyJim says:

    winning the brit F3 qualifies him for a super licence I believe

  17. John of Woking says:

    more importantly, how on earth do you pronouce his surname?

  18. artorwar says:

    Lots of negative comments. ‘lets get an experienced guy in’ etc etc. Good luck to Jamie, I’m totally biased towards the Spanish as I live here (I’m still a proud Brit mind you. Venga Luis, Venga!!)
    I have been defending Seb Bourdais for too long now, he has squandered his chance and fresh blood is needed. As a nursery TR is a fantastic concept and I wish the kid every sucess. I have a feeling the guy has a great future ahead and I cant wait to see him in racing trim. Espero que lo vaya bien para Jamie!

  19. rfs says:

    Shouldn’t Toro Rosso get an experienced driver to complement Buemi? Like Davidson, Sato, De La Rosa etc.

  20. Dank says:

    He obtained his superlicense through winning the British F3 last season.

  21. CTM says:

    Penny for Brendan Hartley’s thoughts on knocking reserve driver and hanging around in pitlane on GP wekends on the head to concentrate on his racing?

    “DOH!”

  22. Robert McKay says:

    “what happened to super licenses? i remember not too long ago, there was always talk of whether such-and-such a young driver (kimi to name but one) would be granted one or not. now, this guy’s driven an f1 car once he gets one right away?
    i don’t care honestly, i’m sure he’ll be fine, but it’s another shining example of inconsistent policing by the fia.”

    It’s not really, he won the British F3 championship and completed the relevant distance in a test and so is eligible for a superlicence.

    Comparing it to Raikkonen, who hadn’t even done F3, is not the same thing.

    However I think it’s too soon for Alguersuari and don’t see the point in swapping struggling driver for inexperienced rookie who will very likely struggle at least as much, if not more. If you’re going to destabilise the team with a mid-season sacking at least have someone come in who isn’t such a big gamble.

  23. Brown Eyed Girl says:

    Well thank goodness he isn’t called sebastien, it was becoming rather silly.

    You can hardy blame toro rosso for going for a wealth kid with a huge cash cow of a sponsor. Look at the way ferrari will be getting alonso and santander, I can’t help but smile at the way they and mclaren have swapped drivers and sponsors over the past couple of years.

    If they can get that money into the developement of the new car asap then they will hope to ‘do a brawn’ with next years car.
    What does it matter if this kid does a nakajima every race (eg chucks it in a wall etc) he can’t do worse than his predecessors performance so it makes perfect buisness sense.

  24. Rusty0256 says:

    It’s going to be extremely difficult for the Toro Rosso team to adapt to having a driver who is not named Sebastian.

    Mind you, if it doesn’t all work out for Jamie, I’m sure Sebastian Loeb will help get things back to normal.

  25. Carlos says:

    It’s pronounced Al-gair-SWAR-ee.

    Clarification, in needed:
    Gair – rhymes with air, begins with a hard g (as in ‘get’, not ‘gem’)
    Swar – begins like swim, rhymes with bar – this syllable is emphasized

  26. Carlos says:

    Forgot to mention – his first name is pronounced HIGH-meh.

  27. Ace says:

    This breaks my heart. You’d think they’d at least give Bourdais a crack at the STR with the aero upgrades in Hungary.

    Now, when Alge, Algue, Jamie comes onboard and finishes higher than 15th, everyone will be saying “I told you Seabass was slow”.

    There’s no justice.

  28. Frenchie says:

    Hi James,

    I will never understand how my countryman managed to perform so poorly in F1. I think he is on par with Liuzzi (whom he replaced).

    How do you go from top to zero in 18 months?

    I have to agree that ‘Seabass’ complains all the time though.

    …And do you remember his facial expression on the Le Mans podium? I doubt Peugeot will take him on board in the future.

  29. john g says:

    i think it’s a bad move having two rookies in the team. i’d bring back sato, he was fun. maybe even bring klien back?

    however, STR are continuing their reputation of worst team to work with from a driver’s point of view. liuzzi, speed, now bourdais.

  30. adrian says:

    Alguesari apparently commented that Bourdais “did not give it his all”. Presumably that’s a reference to Bourdais taking time out for the Peugeot Le Mans campaign. Perhaps, Bourdais was unwise to do that when his F1 seat was not secure.

  31. I’ll never forget Seabass for his punch-up with Paul Tracy after a Champ Car race in 2007. It kind of makes me wish both would get a full time seat again

  32. supposed to add a little…
    ;)
    …to that

  33. gareth price says:

    Really feeling for Brendan Hartley at this time. Met him in Bucharest last year and a really nice genuine guy as well as being a really good driver and prospect for F1 (not to say Jaime is not a good driver!)

  34. Tom Bray says:

    Hi James,

    Just wondered how many dealings with you’ve had with Bourdais in your time? From a distance, I thought he was quite likeable and friendly, therefore was disappointed to read you think he’s not particularly likeable…

  35. Janet says:

    Hi James,

    You called it…Bourdais was let go.
    A bit sad really but understood.

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