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Ricciardo breathing down necks of Buemi and Alguersuari in new Toro Rosso role
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Ricciardo breathing down necks of Buemi and Alguersuari in new Toro Rosso role
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Nov 2010   |  9:02 pm GMT  |  56 comments

Fresh from his impressive test performance at Yas Marina Circuit last week, Red Bull protege Daniel Ricciardo has been given a testing role with Toro Rosso, which will see him running in Friday practice at all 20 rounds of next year’s F1 world championship.

Ricciardo: A lot to smile about (Getty)


This is a logical but nevertheless interesting move by the Red Bull management. First it sends out a signal that the Red Bull conveyor belt of talent is in full swing, having just produced its first world champion in Sebastian Vettel.

Second it justifies the existence of Toro Rosso as it is the proving ground of young drivers. Again, Vettel came up via this route. Red Bull can finally say they have proven the concept.

Third it gives Ricciardo a chance, as Vettel had in his early days, to run on Fridays with the regular F1 drivers, get to know the tracks and the scene without too much pressure. Rather than stand around like a spare part he will have something positive to focus his efforts on. Outside of this opportunity he will also be trying to win the Formula Renault 3.5 series next year having narrowly missed out on it last year. The pressure will be on there.

Finally it will put some real pressure on the existing Toro Rosso racing drivers, Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari. Both had difficult moments in 2010. Alguersuari seemed to be steadily improving as the season reached its conclusion, while Buemi by that stage seemed to be going backwards and he’s the one standing on the trapdoor at the moment.

“I am sure that having a hungry youngster on the books will keep our current driver pairing nice and sharp!” said Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost.

Ricciardo’s presence in the team, with direct comparisons in lap time on the F1 circuits, will stimulate competition and should get the best out of the drivers, Neither of them are rookies any more, they’ve learned the ropes and now it’s time to show that thay have the quality to step up to Red Bull Racing, should Mark Webber’s seat become available for 2012.

“My main priority for 2011 is to win the Formula Renault 3.5 championship, but my ultimate aim is to be a full-time Formula 1 driver and this new role has to be the best step towards achieving that ambition,” said Ricciardo.

Toro Rosso seem to like to give drivers two years to prove themselves or be moved on; we’ve seen it with Tonio Liuzzi, Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Speed, all of whom were dispensed with when they didn’t cut the mustard in year two. So 2011 is a big year for Buemi in particular, and to a lesser extent Alguersuari as he started mid season in 2009.

It’s possible that Ricciardo could step up to replace one of them during the season, but Alguersari showed how hard that was in 2009. At least Ricciardo would have had some time in the car before being thrown in the deep end. But there is evidence that throwing drivers in too young can harm them, rather than help them.

That said, Toro Rosso has been one of the teams willing to be ruthless in dropping drivers suddenly in recent years; just ask Speed and Bourdais.

With all the talk of how hard it is for young kids to break into F1, this is a positive story for the sport, albeit underlining that you need to commit to Red Bull, or one of the big corporates, to achieve anything. After years of pouring money into the sport in vain, now everything seems to be all about Red Bull.

We will watch Ricciardo with great interest. The indicators so far look very promising.

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56 Comments
  1. Bec says:

    Mikhail Aleshin close to a deal too.

    1. VanDhloms says:

      I think this should be made compulsory by FIA that all teams should run at least 1 practice session by the test driver. This will go a long way in preparing upcoming drivers and also giving teams a good view of the available talent. Even if Saturday sessions are made slightly longer to give regular drivers enough time.

      1. malcolm.strachan says:

        I don’t think it should be compulsory… it’s really just common sense. One driver can’t race? the third driver shouldn’t go in to replace him completely cold; the teams should have enough sense that the third driver should be experienced with the car and ready to go so they don’t flounder and destroy any chance at helping the team in the constructors title.

      2. Martin says:

        It makes it difficult in other ways though. As wind tunnel testing is limited and CFD is generally believed to have some limitations if you’re not Virgin, then on a Friday you want to try out new parts if you want to win. Driver feel is important so the driver needs to know the car. So between Button and Hamilton, who do you tell to warm the bench? At tracks like Monaco and Montreal it can be important to get your eye in with the walls. Getting a driver up to speed takes time in most cases. Heidfeld in my view was below his 2009 standard in all his races this year.

  2. Adam Taylor says:

    My gut feeling it that he will step into a race seat 2/3 way through the season as he will probably show his proper potential in the practice sessions and/or the current drivers cant get to ‘grips’ with the new tires

    1. Grabyrdy says:

      Mine too. Buemi is on borrowed time.

  3. Paul says:

    Red Bull are in a tough situation. It looks likely that Webber will leave at the end of 2011 but none of their junior drivers look like they would be ready to step up to the main team at this stage. In fact, their two junior drivers knocking on the door of F1, Ricciardo and Vergne, look most likely to follow in Vettel’s footsteps than the two drivers at Toro Rosso at the moment. If Webber retires I think they will hire someone from another team, possibly Kubica.

    I can see Buemi being dropped by mid-season.

    1. Mikey says:

      Kubica is unlikely, given his manager says he wants to be allowed to drive in the occasional rally and Red Bull have already told him they wouldn’t allow it. Hulkenberg might be a possibility perhaps – he seemed to be steadily getting to grips with F1 and it’s sad to see Williams drop him so quickly.

  4. Stuart fenton says:

    I always felt very sorry for Bourdais. He is a decent driver, but at times, during his time at str, an unlucky one. That footage of him crying while talking about him fighting for his seat is heart wrenching. We rarely see that type of raw emotion in f1. Str drivers really have to look over their shoulders

    1. Robert Gunning says:

      I remember that, it was at Spa 2008, he was 3rd half way around final lap, but got passed by Heidfeld, Vettel, Kubica and Alonso.

    2. malcolm.strachan says:

      Or Monza… qualifies fourth in the rain (forgotten because Vettel was on pole). His car stalls on the grid, and has to start from the pitlane. Ends up turning fastest laps throughout the race to no avail. Spa was another one.

      I definitely had my fingers crossed that he’d get to replace Massa when he was injured… Instead, Badoer stepped in to relive his glory days at Minardi (at a similar gap from the leaders too!).

      1. Martin says:

        There are some interesting characteristics with both Spa and Monza that may have suited Bourdais. James has commented that the engineers felt Bourdais was behind the car, that basically that an F1 was too quick for his brain and reactions. While fast, there aren’t too many rapid changes in brake, steer throttle, with the chicanes although being left-right, basically being one event. Bourdais may be as good as or better than any of the current F1 guys in put in a NASCAR, but not in an F1 car. Being partnered with Sebastian “as good as Senna” Vettel didn’t help though.

  5. Chris from Adelaide says:

    Very Excited to see a young Aussie making steps into the big league. The more Australians we have making it big overseas will do great things for the sport in Australia, Its a shame that a lot of Australian talent gets stuck in the comfortable life of the V8 Supercars.

    1. Bollo says:

      Comfortable, well promoted but ultimately half baked supercars. Its so sad here (Aus) that supercars are all that most drivers aspire to and that this category hoovers up all the local media and sponsor interest. For a relatively small population we have a pretty big interest and investment in racing but it all in sedans. There only a dribble of interest in F3, our only international and relevant category for drivers with true overseas ambition. Its also ironic that most of the top end of the Australian F3 series is international drivers and not Australians. And to add insult to injury the organisers of the Australian GP would rather put on Aussie Racers (a comical category of dwarf supercars) than stage an Australian F3 race. Twas ever thus…

      1. unoc says:

        V8′s and F1 are two very different things though. Mark Webber has said several times previously that he would be prefer to give up racing altogether than end up at V8 Supercars after F1.

        V8′s in a mixed bag though, because while it prmotoes motosport it also is highly linked to certain markets in terms of aussie cars. And as such has several overwhelming social conatations that come with it. Almost every ‘hoon’ (atleast in victoria) drives a Holden Commodore, a Ford Falcon, or to a lesser extent an old honda, toyota or nissa skyline.

        Most have 22s on them and tinted wins, big spoilers on the back, bluies, modded exhausts and are driven by people who think the red line is the earliest time to change gear.

        That is the stereotype linked to the V8′s. It’s part of the ‘bloke’ culture, also linked to VB and XXXX beer and such. It’s Collingwood playing at teh MCG footy, its V8, its stupid mate-ish nicknames like Murph and GT and ‘real workmans beer’.

        That is V8 culture. F1 runs late at night, or the early hours of the morning, followers know stuff about aero and f-ducts and why ferrari are such a different ‘team’ to any other manafacturer.

        V8 Supercars is something you watch, F1 is something you follow. You can not watch V8′s for a while and youll sitll know whats happening, you can skip a season in f1 and you wont know whats happening. F1 is more involving and as such has a smaller more articulated market.

        That’s why (coming back to your point) V8s are much more predominant in Australia compared to F1 and MotoGP. IndyCar is much the same in Australia. It lacks the culture and hece no one knows who Will Power is, let alone the fact that he led most of the season and until the final race. Most people don’t know the why some drivers are better at circles and others at street tracks (think thats what they call them).

        I, as an aussie am excited about his prospects and they certainly look good. A bit sad he is sitll in FR3.5. But atleast he has a strong F1 run. Should see a bit of buemi v and alg v.

        Perhaps a British person or a German (if they come here) could commment on DTM or BTCC in their respective countries?

        Given TR’s nature including dropping hartley dispite being intimately involved in the development of the RB7, I’d be supried to see Buemi still there at the end if he doesn’t improve. Alg has a bigger buffer as he has had 1 full season so far, and it was a gooden. I can’t see them dropping him after that

      2. Bollo says:

        Chalk and Cheese. Its true, the demographic that supports V8′s is a solid sustainable sector and hey, good luck to them. It just a pity other worthy categories do not get much of a look in.

        I am so glad that Mark Webber would not consider driving V8′s. Nothing would be more sad than seeing him mid field in a Supercar grid (remember Alan Jones…).

        Cars generally have come a long way since the start of the current Supercar regulations. There are plenty of road cars (factory, or modified imports) driving around now that have similar or greater performance than a V8 Supercar and I feel this is diluting the appeal uniqueness of the class.

        And on a person whinge (Australian term for moan) the term “Supercars” has always annoyed me. Its sounds as if the marketers are trying to make it sound extra specially good. The term DeLux Car or High Quality Car are equally applicable in this instance. Stupid.

      3. MullionK says:

        Extremely well thought out and concise response(s) – can’t add much to that…..except….

        1. The AGPC have openly stated that the F1 GP is an “entertainment event” not a motorsport race (?), so pure racers like the F3′s will hardly ever get a look-in, unless other categories drop out – as has occurred before.

        2. Although the V8′s are seen by some as an agricultural wasteland of talent and technology, this is in great part due to the lack of financial backing for young Aussie driver talent wanting to compete overseas (noting some support from organisations like the AMSF et al) and in the latter case, due to a poor motorsport industry within this country (6th largest in the world – in terms of GDP). Moreover, with only two organisations providing postgraduate motorsport training (Motorsupport and Edith Cowen Uni) and the lower-level TAFE courses, there’s not enough dedicated talent to supplement the technology base – most talent goes offshore anyway. Who can blame them, with the allure of F1 etc?

        3. Being a Pom, I remember the heady days of BTCC in the early-mid 90′s. Great cars (Audi, BMW, Ford, Volvo etc). In recent years, it has turned into clockwork-orange cars, with a slimmer fan-base. Not being an expert on this category (I have been in Aus for 14 years), I wouldn’t want to commit to explaining whether this has been a good thing for BTCC, but I suspect V8 Supercars have been more successful.

        Finally, getting to the point-in-hand….I wish Dan the very best of luck in his F1 career – being a Red Bull promoted, marketed and pampered driver (much like Vettel), I’m sure he will do well.

      4. unoc says:

        Yes Supercars does anoy me too. Especially given that actual road legal supercars (like the faster porche 911s, ferraris italia lamborghini murcielago lp 670 SV etc.. are all faster than the v8′s.)

        Guess it does make up for it when they anounce the winner of the Supercheap auto bathurst 1000.

        Can you honestly imagine if F1s prize event, Monaco was instead called the Supercheap monaco? I don’t care how much they sponser, it takes all credibility out of the event by putting the title Supercheap infornt of it all.

        Australia needs a good tie in with the Asia series GP2, i.e. Australia can host a couple of it’s races. One in phillip island and one in bathurst if its safe enough. Then we can have an F3 series. Australias best efforts are lower formula isn’t properly promoted and should be redone, just like GP2 was put in place only a few years ago to have a fresh start, we need a new fresh start Formula. THere is a euro one, a british one an Italian one, there are heaps, we need, given that we are in the middle of nowhere one for ourselves, probably best to share with NZ and Malaysia (they have cash look at Lotus and Lotus :)), etc…

        But then where when would you run it? Easiest would be as a support race for the V8′s, but then given the difference, one being medieval made engines with tacky badges and the other being F3 they don’t exactly go hand in hand.

        Saw something weird on tv, a GT championship in Australia!!!! Didn’t even know it existed.

        Australians who want to drive overseas need talent and money. Money comes from overseas people giving money and from Australians wanting to stick there name in overseas. Given that overseas lower formulae isn’t covered really there is no point as aussies wont see it and otherwise its a blank canvas of people.

        RedBull as much as i hate there driver churning program, is best for Australians right now. Provides the money and opportunities they can’t get from australian cash. Explains why lately 2 of there 4 have been from over here (Ricciardo and formerly Hartely from NZ with Alg and Bue from TR)

  6. Ben says:

    Buemi had a very disappointing 2010 campaign after being one of the best rookies last year (I remember Brundle ‘forgetting’ he was a rookie at one point during his commentary)

    However, Alguersuari has no set the world alight either. I can see both of them being replaced during the 2011 season unless one of them produces as a stand out performance.

    To be fair, the Torro Rosso is no longer designed by Red Bull, so while it looks the same (being an evolution of last year’s Torro Rosso which was designed by Red Bull) it is not as evolved and consequently the competitiveness of the machine is not as high as when Vettel won back in 2008.

    The biggest pressure for the two drivers is the number of drivers competing for seats on the grid. It would not surprise me if Red Bull were interested in snaring Hulkenberg, despite him being the product of a different team’s young driver program, and placing him in one of the Torro Rossos as well. His pole in Brazil was the stand out rookie achievement of 2010 – despite flying under the radar for most of the rest of the season – and it is things like that that seem to excite the Red Bull franchise.

  7. Bottle says:

    It’s an interesting announcement – especially as ‘Autosport’ reported just last weekend that both Alguersuari and Buemi are believed to have firm deals only for the first half of 2011.

    (Then again, that information was included in an article which quoted Ricciardo as saying that his own plans for next year were not even close to being confirmed!)

    Ricciardo clearly has talent and will get his F1 chance one day. However, I tend to think that – F1 being what it is, Bernie’s commercial influence being what it is – there may be room for only one Australian in F1, in which case Ricciardo may be held back until Mark Webber retires. So… 2012, then?

  8. Paul Kirk says:

    Great to see another Ausi get a chance in F1.
    PK (NZ).

  9. Andy Gibson says:

    Great news for Ricciardo. I think he’s a real talent.

    I’d like to this as compulsory for all teams for the both the Friday sessions. Each race driver sits out one session, alternating every other race.

    F1 needs to find a way to give young drivers some seat time, and this seems like a good way to do it.

    1. Paul says:

      Agreed. Autosport had a great suggestion this week that all of the 3rd drivers do a quali style shoot out on a Friday, the fastest driver wins their team an extra set of tyres for each driver for the weekend.

      1. Andy Gibson says:

        I read that suggestion myself.

        While I’d support any initiative to give young drivers more seat time – particularly at race weekends – I think the idea is over complicated. Don’t like the idea of advantaging a team either.

      2. Jo Torrent says:

        The fastest car will have an extra advantage. How a midfield team can beat a top car even with a good test driver. The idea is absolutely rubbish.

      3. malcolm.strachan says:

        Exactly. Why do so many people think cheap gimmicks (e.g. push-to-pass, mandatory tire changes to a different compound) are good for F1?

        It should be pure racing… not Mario Kart.

  10. Jo Torrent says:

    Formula 1 has really harmed young drivers in recent years. The absence of testing has absolutely destroyed many drivers hopes for reaching F1. Schumacher is a rare example of a driver who stepped in Formula 1 without the slightest preparations and impressed straight away. Alonso had a year with Minardi, a year as a test driver for Renault before driving and Hamilton was nurtured by McLaren and Mercedes almost before he was born.
    Nowadays, testing is banned during the season and before the season starts there are so few test days that the teams have to allocate all the testing days to the regular drivers to acquaint them with the new car and to work on its setup. Even the reserve drivers aren’t allowed any testing day.

    Before the teams had enough testing days to give some youngsters a test here and there. Young test drivers were recruited and assessed over a whole year. Hakkinen, Coulthard and Alonso started that way and many others. Would Hakkinen have been world champion without his test role ?

    The lack of testing prevent new blood from stepping up but it allows olds to stay forever. The only reason Rubens is still here is because of the no testing agreement. With Schumacher it’s different as he’s an all time legend of the sport and his presence is a plus for the championship. When Jake Humphrey ask south Koreans about their favourites many pointed to Schumacher to show how great he was.

    RedBull has the solution with its B team as it allowed them to assess their youngsters before allowing them to reach the big team. The problem with Ricciardo appointment as a Friday test driver is the pressure it puts on the regular drivers and the lack of time it gives them to set up their cars and work around any issues. I read somewhere that both have a firm contract till mid next season and from Tozt opinion Buemi situation looks less and less comfortable.
    RedBull has so many good young drivers being sponsored that their success in finding some jewels is almost inevitable and ToroRosso is almost indispensable to be able to promote some of them.

    But these young drivers programs launched by every team here and there isn’t a good idea in my view. Renault had absolutely no success with its young driver program. Hamilton is paid by McLaren the same salary he would have if he wasn’t developed by them so that money spent on developing him doesn’t allow them to save money at later stages. Besides teams such as Ferrari or McLaren will always attract the best drivers so why spend money and resources on youngsters you can have afterwards.

    The other major issue with these programs is that the young talents outside the teams development programs have less and less access to F1. The latest example is the Hulk. With his talent he should have secured a seat a few years ago (he’s the same age as Vettel).
    TODT Jr (Massa and Maldonado manager) said how tough it has become to find drive in F1 for the youngsters which is odd given that there are more seats available.

    One solution I see is to allow young drivers to step up is to allow (in the European races only to keep costs down) a 3rd car driven by a youngster for the couple of Friday sessions. The big teams are allowed to assess young drivers and the little ones can rise funds with that.

    1. James says:

      From his early results, Hakkinen would not have lasted 2 seasons in modern F1. If the top 4 of each feeder or lower racing series is deemed talented enough to move up to F1, then where are these seats supposed to come from? Particularly when the time is back when you can turn up with 5 million and buy yourself a seat. I agree with you about giving young drivers car time in F1. And strangely, it’s not always about the top GP2 drivers. Look at how many times a hot driver who has finished top 2 has come into F1 and struggled, yet someone who languished in 5th or 6th goes on to really grasp a modern F1 car. I’d love to see far more young drivers tested and not just a handful.

    2. malcolm.strachan says:

      First, Schumacher raced in Group C before F1 (as did Bellof)… That gave him experience with lots of downforce and lots of power. Moving into a nimble F1 car probably wasn’t too much of a problem.

      Second, maybe this will mean that more drivers aiming at an F1 seat will take more time in their ascent to the top; perhaps they’ll spend a year or two in sports cars (Schumacher and Bruno Senna did just that). Maybe they’ll stay in GP2 for two or three years, making GP2 that much more difficult to shine in, further culling the herd.

      Experience and maturity might be prized a bit more, rather than a rawly-talented 19-year-old that jumps into an F1 car and puts in tens of thousands of km in testing to prepare for his debut… It might have to be the well-groomed 25-year-old that has already got a GP2 championship AND a Le Mans victory to his or her name.

      1. malcolm.strachan says:

        Add DTM and Japanese Super GT to that list as well… pretty much any series with high-downforce and high-power cars, irrespective of whether they have fenders or not.

        Basically, I can just see F1 teams looking to several series to evaluate not just raw talent, but skills and experience as well.

      2. Martin says:

        Hi Malcolm,

        I’ve been travelling, hence the timing of the responses. I think weight and from that the braking and lateral force of the car is critical. Different drivers have different abilities to process information and for some the current F1 cars are too quick. Pitch sensitivity is another issue. Sedan racing places more emphasis on being the last of the late brakers in terms of qualifying pace even if can hurt the tyres overall.

        My view on Hakkinen is that he made a pretty good impression. Motor magazine in Australia ran a feature in late 1992 on him and Schumacher being the new stars to take over from Prost, Senna and Mansell. He had a Ligier drive lined up for 1993, but Keke told him that McLaren was the way to go. Given the 94 and 95 driver changes at McLaren, I think Mika could have ended up at McLaren anyway.

        Cheers,

        Martin

  11. BMG says:

    Do you think he will get a start in a race as the season unfolds?

  12. Grey says:

    Great to see another Aussie coming in to Formula 1! Best of luck to Dan next year.

  13. Ben Taylor says:

    You’d have to fancy that he’ll be in the car full time at some point next year…

  14. Nadeem says:

    Great news for Australia another Aussie coming through. Daneil was unlucky in the last round not to win FR3.5 the car was a dog in the wet. I though he may end up doing GP2 instead as this follows most of the GP circuits. Obviously the FR3.5 does not conflict with F1- is this correct.
    At leats with FR3.5 us Aussies can watch it on Eurosport on Foxtel

  15. LoudHoward says:

    This is a good choice for Dan, I know there are a lot of Webber fans that wanted him in straight away, but theres a lot to be said for being properly prepared and easing in.

    James do you know if WSR conflicts with F1 much? Like at Monaco, will he be able to do the Friday test and WSR for the rest? I’d imagine that would be somewhat difficult to chop and change cars.

  16. James W says:

    Throwing Ricciardo into one of the 2011 pre-season tests might give us some indication of his speed against the “main” drivers of both Toro Rosso and the rest of the field. I’m somewhat sceptical of his pace given he was given the opportunity to test in the fastest car of 2010 on a well rubbered track in Abu Dhabi.

    I’m also not a fan of big corporations throwing in millions behind a driver (or drivers) hoping they’ll make it big one day. Other more deserving, possibly more tallented, drivers could be overlooked because of this. But then I guess academies are the way forward in all sports nowadays…

    1. malcolm.strachan says:

      It’s the other way around, my friend.

      These big corporations are giving the under-funded talents the money to compete with the well-connected, well-sponsored, or simply rich kids that can just buy their way up the ladder.

      Senna? You can thank Marlboro for him (and several other Brazilian talents). Jacques Villeneuve? You can thank Players for him.

      Lets face it… any driver has to buy their way ALL the way to GP2. There are no paying rides on the ladder (Giorgio Pantano and Luca Filippi may be the only exceptions). If the driver doesn’t bring the cash, he/she doesn’t get the seat.

      I think it’s awesome that Red Bull is giving these kids a chance at making it big. If I was 15 years old and presented an opportunity like that, I would jump at it in a second. Finding sponsorship is not easy at all… pretty much every driver in F1 now is as talented at selling themselves to a sponsor as they are behind the wheel; that’s just how the requirements of a modern racing driver have evolved.

      1. Alex W says:

        Yes, EVERY DRIVER PAYS TO GET IN, in one way or another.

  17. RH says:

    Let’s go Ricciardo! Good to see another Aussie in the ranks, especially one from my home town. Looking forward to seeing Dan’s success and the exposure of F1 he will bring to Australia. God knows we need it!

  18. Brett says:

    FP1 Melbourne 2011 – With Webber & Ricciardo we’ll hav two Australians driving around Albert Park in Formula 1 (albeit for all of 90mins)! The atmosphere in Australia is always fantastic, but doubly so now.
    Am looking forward to it.

  19. Tim says:

    Hi James. Was out to lunch in Perth and had glimpse at the young gun giving us fans a lunch time treat! Good Stuff. I tell you what not being bias but the kid looks good!The camera loves him as well. I wouldn’t be surprised that the other teams will be keeping an eye on him especailly the boys from the Prancing Horse garage. They definately have a special interest in him if you know what i mean. What are you thoughts?

    1. James Allen says:

      He has two good tests and plenty of hype around him, which is very F1. His Friday performances will tell us quite a bit. They did with Kubica and Vettel when they were in that position

  20. Andy C says:

    Sounds like excellent experience for ricciardo. It’s done wonders for Paul Di resta this year.

    I like the redbull approach of giving the guys 2 years. With very little testing and the physical stepup the first year (unless we’re talking fastest car or real superstar) is all about learning. Getting a full winters testing in after their first season is the key. If they then still struggle then pull the trigger.

    Can’t help but think the instant success push might have deprived us of some good potential drivers.

    James,
    Any news on nico Hulkenburg to force India? I was kind of expecting Paul to get a race seat with Sutil.

  21. Andy C says:

    James,

    I’m hearing rumours that ldm at Ferrari is seriously considering heads rolling after Abu dhabi.

    I think if that was the case, we will be seeing a step backwards.

    The good thing about the success under Schumacher, todt, brawn and Byrne was consistency.

    Ferrari in my opinion produced the second best car in f1 this season and had a good season of development. I think if they just keep calm and dont start jumping because of ridiculous comments and press coverage in Italy they will be well placed for next year.

    I’m expecting some passionate fire them all responses, but you show me any sporting team that had no consistency and a long run of wins over many years.

    The fact is Ferrari missed the wdc slightly to one of the greatest ever f1 cars. The rb was on rails last year….

    Simple motto. Grow a pair, move on, come back stronger next year and try to win it.

  22. James says:

    While he completely deserves to be in the car, and his presence will keep the 2 Torro Rosso drivers “on their toes”, I don’t think it’s massively fair to whichever driver has to sit out Friday practice. The TR car is not a good car and unless they’ve been going through the bins at Red Bull, I don’t expect their 2011 car to be much better. So driving a difficult car, sitting out a Friday session AND still being told to perform well or you’ll be replaced, is not a fun situation for a driver.

    1. James says:

      And while Torro Rosso is a nursery for the Red Bull team, it’s never really going to be a worthwhile team in its own right is it? The instant an engineer or driver starts to look like a star, Red Bull will just move them up. Torro Rosso will never be allowed to progress. I know that has always happened with the bigger teams buying up talent, or swapping trucks for young drivers, but while a billionaire might buy up Sauber and make them a solid team, I just don’t think TR will ever get that chance, even though they’re part-owned by the Red Bull bank account.

  23. Chris Orr says:

    James would you be able to do a post on the up and coming f1 drivers. Im interested in the potential of drivers like Paul Di Resta, who again seems to be impressing in the DTM and I reckon should have an F1 seat.

      1. unoc says:

        Also while doing that, could you comment on how drivers currently in f1 but not anywhere near an f1 seat have in terms of chances to get a race seat.

        i.e. Paffet and oliver?
        Bianhci (surely ferrari wouldn’t)
        the state of ferrais young driver program (given ferrari don’t exactly take new drivers)
        Renault’s hoards of name only reserve drivers
        etc…
        Hartely (since being dumped)

        That would be great. Thanks.

  24. gareth price says:

    If the Friday practise swap had been around 18 months or so ago, maybe Brendan Hartley would now be in a position to take Webbers seat should it fall vacant in 2012, instead of having him stand around doing nothing at each circuit for 6 months!

    1. Chris Orr says:

      I dont think Red Bull will be calling Hartley back any time soon. He may be driving in the reanult 3.5 series or gp2 this year but not under red bull backing

  25. John Gibson says:

    Is it really all that positive that entry into F1 appears to be increasingly dependent in being part of Red Bull’s junior programme? Would the likes of Alonso and Raikkonen have made it into F1 at all under such circumstances, given that they were largely self funded in their junior days? It makes me wonder who is being overlooked in the junior formulae.

  26. Iain M says:

    Hi James,

    On another topic, I just watched a program called Factory Made where they show you how they make a molded Formula ? car seat. it was an interesting program. In this case they used a bean bag with some kind of glue & all of the air sucked out. this was placed in the car followed by the driver in all his gear who works his way into the seat. After @ 40 minutes he can get out. Eight hours later they cut the mold into three pieces taken out of the car & re assembled. then they added 300 computer scanning points & scanned it, the data then was sent to a CNC machine to cut the new seat out of the correct seat material. Are the F1 seats made the same way. I thought it was an amazing process!

    All the best!

  27. paul says:

    Being a dedidated F1 fan living in Perth,I am thrilled to see young Daniel getting a shot at F1.

    Webber’s F1 history shows this, great driver in second rate cars equates to poor driver because the majority of so called ‘F1 fans’ in Australia have no idea about the sport. It’s very hard to try and explain to poeple in Australia that Webber would’nt still be in F1 if he didn’t have talent.

    My tip is Webber in a Ferrari(if he doesn’t retire) as Alonso’s No 2
    in 2012 and Daniel in the Red Bull.

    V8 supercars, not a bad catagory, very well promoted hence it’s success.

    This is only the second season that we have had live F1 qauly and race in Australia. We get very little insight into F1 on TV so it is hard to get people interested because they don’t understand all the politics and behind the scenes action.

    Coverage is getting better but we need a BBC style of coverage.

  28. Tim Parry says:

    This is a little late but, Sebastian Vettels are born, not made.

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