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Buemi stays in Red Bull family, hoping for a second chance
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Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Jan 2012   |  10:28 am GMT  |  30 comments

Red Bull Racing has confirmed pre-Christmas rumours that Sebastien Buemi will be the test and reserve driver for the 2012 season. He will carry out simulation work at the team’s HQ in Milton Keynes and will be present at all the Grands Prix, standing in for either Sebastian Vettel or Mark Webber should either of them be injured or unavailable.

It would make sense for him also to fulfil a similar role for Toro Rosso as he will be at the races, knows the team and it’s highly unlikely that both teams would find themselves a driver short at the same time. But that is not part of today’s announcement.

Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari were both dropped by the Red Bull owned Toro Rosso team before Christmas, but the Swiss driver has a lifeline with this deal which will keep him working in F1 at least.

This is a well-trodden path for drivers; it can lead to a route back to an F1 race seat; Alex Wurz did a similar deal with Williams in 2006 and ended up being given a season of racing in 2007. But back in those days the test driver actually got many opportunities to drive a car on the track.

Today there are few chances with only three pre-season tests – one in Jerez and two in Barcelona and then a new three day test in May in Mugello.

The race drivers will want maximum time in the car pre-season, with the plan believed to be that Webber will go out first in the RB8 at Jerez on day one and Vettel will take the second and third days.

That said, Red Bull don’t have any obvious stand out drivers coming up behind Jean Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo, who took the seats at Toro Rosso. So in the event that Mark Webber stops racing at the end of 2012, or moves teams, Buemi may be hoping that there might be a chance of a seat back at Toro Rosso, if either Vergne or Ricciardo gets promoted.

“It’s good to remain with Red Bull for another year and have this opportunity with the World Championship-winning team,” said Buemi.

“I would prefer to be driving at the races of course, but working with Red Bull Racing on the development of their car and providing them with feedback throughout the season is the next best thing.”

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30 Comments
  1. Jonathan says:

    I have a feeling it was Helmut Marko for Buemi to be the reserve driver instead of Jaime after what happened in Korea.

    1. CarlitosF1 says:

      Indeed…

    2. Mike J says:

      Nothing surprises me what happens behind closed doors in F1 anymore. However i really hope that selecting Buemi was based more on his viewed ability than the incidence between Marko and Jaime in Korea. (although Helmut does ‘mark’ his targets pretty well!!). Jaime performance overall this year on track i believe deserved the seat. Long term it is Buemi’s NEW lifeline in F1. How quick things can change

  2. David Taylor says:

    Why Sebastien Buemi rather than Jaime Alguersuari, who seemed the better driver last season?

    1. Andy C says:

      Exactly my thoughts. Cant understand the dropping of Jaime after such a good season. I hope Jaime makes it to the top with another team, I think hes capable and really showed great progress last year.

    2. MISTER says:

      Maybe Jaime will get a race seat at Hispania..therefore the only available driver is Buemi.
      Hope Jaime will get into the Hispania or Williams.

    3. Andrew Carter says:

      Buemi is said to have better technical feedback and is more consistent, thouhg lacks the ultimate pace of Jaime.

      1. Dizzy says:

        actually the other way round, jaime was consistently praised for his level of technical feedback. even davidson & brundle picked that up on the tv/radio broadcast when we heard jaime’s team radio.

      2. Andrew Carter says:

        I should have said, I was reffering to comments that STR tech director Ascanelli had made and were printed in Autosport back around September/October.

      1. Tyler says:

        Someone needs to punch this guy (Marko) in the face. Im afraid Buemi over Jaime may have come down to something just this trivial.. this guy needs to go.. Jaime is a racer.. let him run.. it was practice for hell sakes. what a joke.

    4. Liam in Sydney says:

      I don’t think Jamie was that much faster than Buemi. Buemi had a number of car blow ups while in points finishing positions this season, making that 11 point differential larger than it otherwise would have been.

  3. Daniel says:

    Hi James,

    Do you know if reserve drivers in Buemi’s situation earn much money, or would they have to be be self funded?

  4. Turbo says:

    I wonder if it comes down to the fact that Buemi hasn’t upset Mr Marko.

    Great news for Seb, glad to see him still in the F1 circus.

    Never know how 2012 will pan out, might see team orders at Red Bull which could result in an angry Webber like we saw at silverstone 2010 in the post qual press conference. Imagine Webber goes to Helmut and goes “that’s Bullshit Mate !!” Result = Webber dropped and Buemi given race seat

    Hope it doesn’t happen and i hope no one upsets Helmut :) )

    1. Rich C says:

      Oh, please! These are fanatically logical, coldly efficient, Teutonic ppl.

      You can’t seriously suggest that status, personality, emotion, or a perceived disrespect of der Herr Doktor would ever enter into it.

      No, never!

    2. Mike J says:

      ‘Truth’ is Webber probably already has said that to Marko. With Webber, he is highly respected within Red Bull by the likes of Mateschitz, Newey and Horner so that wouldn’t happen. Jaime didn’t have that level of support so possibly Helmut won that one.

      1. Liam in Sydney says:

        Indeed, Webber and Horner are pretty good mates, so it is doubtful (although not impossible) that the team principal’s wishes will get overridden.

  5. CarlitosF1 says:

    So James, have Red Bull oficially dropped Jaime Alguersuari from their young drivers program like they did in the past with Brendon Hartley, or no such thing has been confirmed?

    Also, any confirmation that Buemi will get any track time in winter tests?

  6. Blaize Vincent says:

    This decision was not based soley on Driving Performance last year otherwise clearly Alguesari would have that seat.

    For me its probably down to one thing and thats
    Buemi performs better off track for the Red Bull Brand, which would be suprising since Alguesari part times as a DJ, you’d think that would work hand in hand with Red Bull Promotion?

    Its clearly less performance related and more just personal things imo.

  7. Snailtrail says:

    This is why Jamie was dropped instead of Sebastien – they dont want another Webber on their hands – someone who stands up to Doc. Evil:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB8MpgDnDQw&feature=player_embedded

  8. LuckyFF says:

    Buemi outqualified ALG most of times. He retired a couple of times when he was in a good position due to various reasons but his own fault. How can people say he is less talented than ALG? I doubt if they had paid enough attention to him on the track.

    1. Andrew M says:

      Hamilton outqualified Button last year but I don’t see many people saying he had a better year. Statistics and points can be misleading. Not saying that the decision was entirely based on driving ability (indeed, I don’t think it was), but the teams have more information that people at home when making decisions like this.

    2. Dizzy says:

      buemi did outqualify jaime more often but alguersuari was the better race driver.

      on most of the occasions where buemi started ahead it was alguersuari that finished ahead. how many times in 2011 ddi alguersuari start 18th but finish well inside top 10?

      also look at the points standings-
      Algersuari – 26
      Buemi – 15

      1. abulafia F1 says:

        True, but points not always reveal the true racing performances. In fact, Buemi’s average finishing position was 11.2, whereas Alguersuari was 11.8.

        This is a more accurate picture, because it takes into account all races, and not just those where either of the drivers scored… ;)

        In small teams, where top 10 finishes are rare, the points table is a very distorting mirror through which to judge a driver’s race performances against his team-mate…

      2. Marco says:

        Are you counting also the 21st position of Alguersuari in Singapore? Because it is not representative… Btw. the “unlucky” Buemi scored 3 cheap points after Dsq of both Saubers in Australia…

      3. abulafia F1 says:

        Yes, I counted all races were drivers were classified because it tends to even out during the season. Even if I hadn’t counted it, the score would still be 11.2 for Buemi and 11.3 for Jaime – i.e. what we saw during the year; both drivers pretty much equally matched.

        As for Buemi in Australia, he wasn;t “lucky” to inherit the points… Jaime finished 11th, which means he was running 3 places behind Buemi. If Jaime had done a better job, he’d be the one to inherit the points; that’s the way F1 works…

        :)

  9. Marco says:

    Hamilton outqualified Button 14:5, and?

    Alguersuari had also bad luck in Spa where he qualified himself 6th or short memory?

    1. Frans says:

      ahem… http://en.mclarenf-1.com/index.php?page=chart&year=2011&dr1=Sebastien%20Buemi&dr2=Jaime%20Alguersuari&ycha=6

      Yes, qualifying maybe didn’t mean much…
      But at race day, although Alguersuari wins by a small margin (Alg 10 – 9 Bue), but Buemi got 5 retirement vs 3 for Alguersuari.

      Alguersuari might have the ultimate pace, but race craft wise, I still believe Buemi got the edge over Alguersuari.

  10. I find it rediculous that people think that they can extrapolate the decision making skills of Helmet Marko/Red Bull Racing, from watching a YouTube video.

    Grow up folks. You have no clear idea why Jamie wasn’t given the seat, but the fact was that he wasn’t.

    1. Marco says:

      So, please tell us what was the reason?
      Because in terms of performances it was clearly his best formula one year to date… Or maybe me and some other people are just blind?

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