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Angry Alguersuari has his say on Toro Rosso
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Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Feb 2012   |  2:18 pm GMT  |  121 comments

On the day that Toro Rosso began testing its new F1 car, the team’s former driver Jaime Alguersuari has told his side of the story of how he was abruptly dropped by the team.

Alguersuari, who looks likely to appear in the F1 paddock this year as reserve driver for Mercedes, thought he had been given verbal confirmation before the end of the season that his seat at Toro Rosso was secure. But two weeks after the last race he was told that he was out.

Speaking on his own website the Spaniard said, “On December 13th, when Red Bull Racing told me that I was no longer part of the family I said that I was not going to judge them, neither I was feeling like a victim and that this was not a drama.

“But let me say just one thing: they hurt me, and moreover, it was unnecessary.

“I was verbally confirmed during the Brazilian GP. Hence, being confirmed by Red Bull and STR, I rejected a very good offer. Back on December 11th, Toro Rosso sent me to a PR event in Madrid, in the Cepsa headquarters to participate in the awarding medal ceremony to the employees with the longest seniority in the company and the Christmas dinner, with a very well prepared script from Faenza where I was supposed to talk about Toro Rosso, Cepsa and myself in 2012. Two days later, I received a phone call saying that they were not counting on me. They were two phone calls no longer than two minutes each.

“Neither I nor anyone else will ever understand why, having largely fulfilled all expectations that the team asked for, having improved my position from 2010 and having beaten my team-mate, I was ceased on December 14th when there was no reaction time to have a good option to run in 2012.”

The man in charge of Red Bull’s driver programme, Helmut Marko, explained his reasons for dropping Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi at the time thus, “Toro Rosso was created to give young drivers a chance. Alguersuari and Buemi had that chance for three years and after that period it’s possible to evaluate a drivers’ development.

“We didn’t see in them any possibility of growth. Both are Grand Prix drivers, but for us that’s not enough. We want Grand Prix winners.”

Toro Rosso now has Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne in the cars for 2012 and they started testing today in Jerez alongside the other contenders. It’s a great opportunity for both men, one of whom will aspire to fill a seat at Red Bull alongside Sebastian Vettel at some point in the future, depending on what happens with Mark Webber.

“I am not thinking about 2013…obviously there is probably a chance for 2013 with Red Bull Racing but I will not answer these kinds of questions because at the moment I don’t want to see too far ahead,” said Vergne.

Ricciardo, meanwhile, is the more experienced of the pair, having driven half a season with HRT last year. “It’s a bit emotional actually, seeing the first F1 car that will be mine to drive from the start of the season,” he said.

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121 Comments
  1. Nick says:

    I hope Jaime gets another drive in F1 soon, shabbily treated in my book, and why should these two newbies be any better than him? A massive waste of his experience letting him this young driver go. Thanks for posting this article on Twitter.

    1. Wayne says:

      Agreed, especially as Williams have two inferior pay drivers on their books. Poor, sad Williams.

      1. Liam in Sydney says:

        Yes, but that is not what STR is for. It is to uncover the next MS, or SV. After two years, it was obvious that JA was not it.

        However, I agree he was shabbily treated and should have been given word before the season was out. Marko has a lot to answer for that.

  2. Slammy says:

    It should be Ricciardo and Alguersuari this season, let’s face it. They earned these seats over Buemi and Vergne. Something strange is afoot.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Its nothing strange at all its just typically the way that Red Bull clearly work.

      I reckon this same owner/group owner of 2 teams will be outlawed quite soon. Dont be surprised to see jamie at ferrari for the start of next season i think he would be an ideal no2 meantime.

      Cant see either Rosberg Di Resta or Hulkenberg happy to take such a role.

    2. Raymond Yu XB says:

      I can see how you meant in terms of the Buemi vs Alguersuari battle. I’m curious as to how you figure on Ricciardo beating Vergne though. Ricciardo is more experienced, and is 1 step up from Vergne in the Red Bull drivers. The drive *should* go to him based on that criteria. But how do you figure that Vergne was “beat?”

  3. Frank says:

    James,
    Do you know by any chance what the offer was?
    He claims: “I rejected a very good offer”.

    1. Z says:

      Obviously the offer was from a team lower down the grid, otherwise he would have taken it!!

      Nice try, but every F1 driver in that situation always says the same thing to make themselves look better and the team look bad.

      1. madmax says:

        Not necessarily Z, He might have been thinking of the chance to get in the Red Bull if he impressed this year in the Toro Rossa and there is no better seat right now than the Red Bull.

    2. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Lotus Renault

      1. Kevin Green says:

        That would be my guess or poss Caterham

      2. peru-kowalsky says:

        lotus renault is the one kimi signed for, not the one trulli drives for, right?

  4. MISTER says:

    I understand how TorroRosso works, but why didn’t they told Buemi and Alguersuari earlier that they will not be part of their team anymore?

    This is exactly why I very much dislike RedBull. Hypocrites (for accusing Ferrari of team orders and then doing it themselves last year) and really really bad management for ruining the chances of two drivers of getting race seats in 2012…possibly 2013 also.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Yeah probably because they are there or thereabouts to challenge in some of the competitor cars But not quite a Vettel or Hamilton in there eyes so remove the danger and drop them at last minute terrible treatment these guys certainly are good enough to mix it with half the drivers in like for like equipment. Shame on Red Bull.

    2. Persi says:

      My thoughts exactly.

      1. Persi says:

        Oh that’s to both MISTER + Kevin.

  5. Chapor says:

    All in all a very mature response. I really hope I see him back in an F1 car in 2013. He does deserve his chance. Holding thumbs for the Mercedes deal.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      reckon we are going to see Alguersuari back but not so sure about Buemi.

  6. It’s a shame for Alguersuari and I can understand his frustration, but I never got the feeling he had what it took to be champion. I don’t think Sebastien had any more potential, but I think I’d choose Buemi over Alguersuari.

    I’m not going to miss them, as harsh as that may seem.

  7. Keith says:

    The way i see it its a good chance for new drivers to be discoverd more teams should have a jnr team like redbull. I would liked of seen alguer in a williams or mercedes as he is a great driver to good for a test driver i can confirm that my self

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Wow Wow Wow son you have got that all wrong that’s what the progressive junior ranks are effectively for F2 F3 GP2 etc etc rather than this debatable form of cheating in having 2 teams on the grid call it feeder/testing team or whatever, They should reintroduce more track testing and try to cut the amount of cost and time on Aero whether it be Aero design or wind tunnel time the latter would be relatively easy to monitor.

  8. MrNed says:

    There was a time when most major driver contract decisions were sorted out around the middle of the season. Nowadays it seems the teams want to leave the decision until very late in the day. Jamie highlights why this is so unfair – he said he had an attractive offer on the table, but due to the verbal confirmation from TR that he had a seat for ’12, he turned down the new offer. In any other line of business TR would be open to being sued for such behaviour – a verbal contract is binding – and Jamie is showing great maturity by staying (mostly) cool about it. I wish him luck and would like to see him on the grid again.

    1. I think the more the driver gets paid, the earlier the contract negotiations are. Alonso? A year in advance. Kubica was a similar deal (Ferrari had an option on him for a year).

      Red Bull kids? They’re getting paid peanuts and Red Bull can move them around whenever and however they want; they don’t have to worry about them getting snapped up by another team. Force India? They weren’t paying Sutil much, if at all (net money flow was negative, since Medion was providing some good cash while Sutil was there).

      It’s all down to demand. If a team knows that another team isn’t likely to steal them away, they can wait and maybe get them for less money or get someone better who turns up. If a team wants a World Champion, they’re going to have to get in line and start bidding early on.

  9. Godfather says:

    Wash your face and get over it son. This is F1.

    1. Michael says:

      Absolutely agree. Not a big fan of this kids attitude and seems to talk of his firing as a kind of romantic break-up -”they hurt me”.
      Thought he had a verbal agreement ? what a joke, you should’ve had it in writing or else have taking up this apparently ‘big offer’. I can understand you hanging around as long as you thought possible under the redbull wing with hope of webbers seat but the gamble didn’t pay off. Suck it up and move on you are only damaging your credibility and reducing your employability by still making an issue of it.

    2. tim says:

      Yes it is. Which means a team has an obligation not to keep you if you’re sucking, but to at least say, “Hey, we’re dropping you. Good luck.” To give a verbal confirmation and then drop a driver is just sloppy. Hopefully the car isn’t as badly engineered as the handling of all of this has been.

      1. GarryT says:

        The thing is though verbal confirmation, all it could have been is .
        yep mate should be ok for next year

        How would we know it’s just his interpration on the story I always take these things with a grain of salt.

      2. Pyaare says:

        Which means a team has an obligation not to keep you if you’re sucking,
        >> The car at disposal of Buemi and Alguersuari was best capable of 9-12 place finish (relative to other midfielders FIF1, Sauber, Mercedes) and both the kids were flattering the car by consistent point finishes.

        [mod]
        STR management, instigated by Helmut Marko unfairly treated both the drivers Period.
        Only reason probably they couldn’t jettison Buemi was probably due to all the mechanical failures that resulted in spate of DNFs, there must be something in his contract about team failing to give him reliable car, that must have forced them to hold on to him as reserve driver. It could have very well be Buemi instead of Jaime we would have been talking right now.

  10. Well, if that’s all true, I feel sorry for the guy.
    While Marko is known in the paddock as a tough man with rough character, there are certainly better ways to handle that, if you really care about the drivers that you’re presumably giving chance to.
    If you know the guy is under question – at least tell him, so that he can move on?

  11. Pasquale Mendoza says:

    Pretty rotten treatment if true. Why tell the guy his seat was safe in Brazil if it wasn’t? If it caused him to lose out on a drive for another team, shame on Toro Rosso.

  12. Galapago555 says:

    I still can’t understand why TR had to wait so much to tell him that he was not on their list.

    I still can’t understand that TR are accepted as a team on F1, while they’re obviously RBR cars #3 and #4. I think it would be better for the show to have a 3rd car per team.

    1. MISTER says:

      Bad management. That was all. I don’t think it was their intention to knowlingly delay their decission until that very late. I think they changed their mind very late in dropping Buemi and Alguersuari and getting the new drivers.
      That is very bad management.

  13. Igor says:

    That is a shame. Surely Helmut knew that Toro was not use the same drivers months before dismiss them. What he did practically, well, indeed took them out of the 2012 season. It is obvious that F1 is all about business, but it didn’t have to be like that. It seemed like personal and after all, led Alguersuari to refuse, as he says, a good offer, and probably he lost a good money. It should be put on Helmut account.

    1. Webbo says:

      If Jaime or Sébastien were the next Sebastian, surely Marko had not dropped them! Jaime got a big chance through the RBR junior program, unlike Vettel he wasted his chance and now he whines about life being unfair to him. He’ll never get an F1 drive again with such a childish attitude. F1 is for real men, not for kids.

      1. How did he waste his chance? He scored lots of points in a midfield car.

        Vettel was in a Newey car from the start. His Toro Rosso was essentially a customer Red Bull chassis.

        Rules change, and Toro Rosso had to build their own car, using some Red Bull insight, but largely the team that used to be Minardi. Imagine trying to say that Alonso was a failure because he didn’t win in a Minardi… crazy.

        The Toro Rosso is no longer the equal of the Red Bull, so Vettel’s performance in a Toro Rosso should be considered impressive, but it shouldn’t set a precedent for junior Red Bull drivers that are actually in a bespoke Toro Rosso rather than a rebadged Red Bull.

      2. Kevin Green says:

        +1 and at the end of the day how much of what Torro Rosso’s cars are getting ultimately overlooked by Newey not to mention in a round about way Red Bull parts getting tested on Torro Rosso in say a rough outline. Could not ever be properly monitored simple Should be one team/one owner organisation. Time for a rethink!

      3. David A says:

        “Vettel was in a Newey car from the start. His Toro Rosso was essentially a customer Red Bull chassis.”

        Yes, but we’re talking about a time when Red Bull finished 7th in the WCC.

      4. James Allen says:

        And TR won a race before RBR did

      5. Then perhaps Bourdais wasn’t as much of a slouch as many suggest he is. He qualified fourth and had fastest lap for a good portion of the race (until near the end). Had it not been for the car stalling on the warm-up lap, it may have also been STR’s first and only double-podium.

        Also, Webber qualified third for that race, so it shows that the Red Bull was close to the Toro Rosso on pace (so Newey’s design must not have been so far off). Also, the Ferrari engine was quite strong that year, compared to the rather weak Renault (that subsequently got a rules break for the following year). Monza, as we all know, is a power track, Vettel to be marginally ahead of Webber on pace isn’t that extraordinary. Impressive, like I said, but not some miracle.

        Fact remains, that Toro Rosso was a lot more competitive than what the team is producing these days. Alguersuari and Buemi didn’t have the power advantage that Vettel had. They didn’t have a chassis that’s as good as the Red Bull like Vettel did. The rest of Vettel’s season actually closely resembles Alguersuari’s 2011 season, in that there were a lot of points finishes – the discrepancy between points systems being easily offset by the differences in reliability between 2008 and 2011 (easier to get into the top 8 when a bunch of cars retire than it is to get into the top 10 when there are almost never any cars retiring).

        Vettel’s talented, no doubt, but writing off Alguersuari because he didn’t run with the Red Bulls or snag a win, or even get a podium is quite unfair as Vettel had the odds in his favour to do well that year.

      6. David A says:

        “Vettel’s talented, no doubt, but writing off Alguersuari because he didn’t run with the Red Bulls or snag a win, or even get a podium is quite unfair as Vettel had the odds in his favour to do well that year.”

        I also think it would be unfair to write off Alguersuari for not getting a win. It would have been foolish of Red Bull to sack him for not winning. But the issue is that STR aren’t doing what most teams would do- hold on to two solid, decent drivers. They’re looking (arguably pretty naively) for the kind of talent that can turn heads and be touted as a future champion. Someone like Vettel, or giving another example, an Alonso, who didn’t even need to score a single point, but was seen as outperforming his car, which got him noticed.

        In three and two and a half years respectively I can’t think of much that Buemi or Alguersuari did to get people raving about them. Basically they were good but not great drivers, which is why they weren’t deemed worthy enough of a ride with RBR.

      7. David A says:

        And I don’t agree that Vettel’s and Alguersuari’s results were that similar. Vettel would have had 93 points under this system, with 7 top 6′s. The difference is simply too great for it to be explained away as a better car.

        Also bear in mind that SV finished 4th in China 07, when there were 17 finishers and 4th at Brazil 08 with 18 finishers. Unreliability didn’t account for much of the difference either.

      8. It’s not just a better chassis; it’s a better engine (relative to the other engines of the day), greater reliability when a 50% finish rate was common (relative to now where it’s likely closer to 90+% of cars finish races on average).

        Like I said, it’s easier to score a top-8 when six or seven quick cars retire, than it is to score a top-10 when only one or two midfield cars retire. There were 79 retirements in 2008, compared to 50 retirements in 2011.

        Given that, I think it is reasonable to compare Vettel’s number of points finishes (top-8 with greater attrition) to Alguersuari’s number of points finishes (top-10 with less attrition).

        The 2008 Brazilian GP was rain-affect, and like I pointed out earlier, that chassis is very effective in the rain (2007 German GP, 2008 Monza, 2008 Spa and now 2008 Brazil). It’s like saying Fisichella is one of the greats because he almost won at Spa in a Force India… the car was very well adapted to the track, and he was able to take advantage of that – just like Vettel did in the rain-affected races in 2008.

        China in 2007 was another rain-affected race in which Liuzzi finished sixth, 20 seconds behind Vettel. His results in the dry that year were 16th, 18th and 19th – hardly stellar, and behind Liuzzi.

      9. David A says:

        Except that Vettel performed well in quite a few dry races and qualifying sessions as well as wet ones. Brazilian qualifying was dry, and he was 7th on the grid, suggesting that in normal conditions, he would have been close to the front anyway. P6 on Saturday and Sunday at Valencia with only Raikkonen having a problem, and with all of the usual suspects in the running, held off guys like Trulli and Alonso at Hockenheim for points.

        I can accept that the STR3 was good by STR standards, but SV himself was stellar over the 1.5 years he spent there, and certainly better IMO than Jaime was. However, taking the point in your other post into account, not every champion driver bursts out of the blocks like Vettel or Hamilton, so STR’s philosophy is pretty flawed. For all we know, Alguersuari could have improved further from 2011 and bloomed into the sort of driver Red Bull would have wanted.

      10. Webbo says:

        They are looking for a driver of a similar quality like Vettel and Alguersuari is not that man. Neither is Buemi. Hence they were not retained.

      11. Pyaare says:

        a) [mod] STR management has a known history of driver abuse, Liuzzi (who was brought in by his F3000 team boss horner after winning title for his team), Scott Speed, Bourdais all were unprofessionally treated by the STR bosses, Tost-Berger duo, the drivers were blamed for inadequacies of the car.

        Only driver that survived STR was Vettel who came from Sauber BMW (after scoring points on his debut subbing for Kubica) and probably was dealing directly with Didi and not with the three stooges in the middle tier…
        As such Vettel was able to get from STR management what he and Didi wanted, unlike the rest whose fate was resting in hands of deadly trio

        [Please don't insult other posters; we will simply delete your whole comment next time - Mod]

      12. Kevin Green says:

        Agree with your points but you point the blame in the wrong direction. I reckon the Big shots in particular driver contracts/sacking etc is directly Red Bull in whatever guise you put it.

  14. JimmiC says:

    I suppose you could say he was naive to turn down an offer when he had nothing more than a verbal agreement rather than an actual contract (assuming his version of events are true) but regardless, it is very harsh on him to be misled like that

    1. Z says:

      Every F1 driver on the grid who has a contract expiring this year should be of the mindset that they will not be driving next year until they have a signed contract. Even then that doesn’t guarantee they will be racing, only that they will be paid (look at Liuzzi and Raikkonen for prime examples of that).

      So, yes he was extremely naive. When he was told he had a drive for 2012 his only response should have been “Sign this contract”.

    2. Kevin Green says:

      Same time you have to remember they are in that seats in the hope of getting a call to one of the Red Bull seats for the start of 2012 (webber’s clearly and justifyably) which would have been very believable and worth holding hope for. So with the team clearly telling them they were getting retained for this year why would you risk jumping out of the best pram in town????

  15. Athlander says:

    While I can’t argue against Marko’s defence of the Toro Rosso/Red Bull driver programme, it really is unforgiveable if they misled Alguersuari and as a result he lost a good opportunity to race this season. Any idea which team he turned down? Presumably not HRT, as he seemed very keen to rule himself out of that.

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      The team that offered him a seat was Lotus Renault. He would have driven for them instead of Grosjean.

      1. Athlander says:

        That’s a shame that. No wonder he’s unhappy with Toro Rosso!

  16. Kevin Green says:

    Back to what I was saying in an article a few weeks ago about the so to put it “Battery Hen” society probably 1st most noticeable in the arrival of Lewis Hamilton and then Sebastian Vettel this current long term product production in drivers is all wrong when your seeing multiple young talent brought in tested and if they don’t quite match up the the current finest regardless of if there better than half the current field they just get disposed of in a flash to make way for the next hopefuls! Simply not good enough the drivers should be sourced with experience if need be coming through the normal ranks rather than this way its real people’s hopes and dreams there playing with and on that hence why i think its simply unacceptable that 1 person/group should be allowed to control/own 2 teams on the grid looking at Torro Rosso its clearly a grooming/feeder testing team. Things need to change great more drivers are reaching and experiencing F1 but at the same time its potentially and most probably destroying people on exit.

    1. Pyaare says:

      correction Vettel is not a lab produced test of a corporate racing house. He was pretty much a free agent, its just because of Dr. Mario Theissen and his love for Nick Heidfeld resulted in situation where Sauber-BMW didn’t have race seat for Young Vettel. Vettel who manages his own career decided to take his business to Red Bull.

      All drivers in Red Bull Stable have been abused at some point or other in the STR team, its just that Vettel made sure he was not dealing with riff raffs in the middle management and was directly dealing with the top boss, and apparently that was the only reason why STR gave him complete support in his year with the Jr team.

      I am sure if he was in safe hands(??) of Toast, Burger and Marko, he would have been spat out on the curb just like the rest of STR drivers for no fault of his own.

      1. Kevin Green says:

        [mod] he was backed from Red Bull way back in 2005 Before Torro Rosso was formed/started racing hence the the test was taken with Williams due to it being a prize due to Williams using Bmw engines and the F3 using Bmw engines as a prize. he was always being guided so to speak by Red Bull and more than just financially!

      2. Pyaare says:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sebastian_Vettel

        Vettel is not groomed in Red Bull Jr driver program led by Helmut Marko. He has always been a free agent, decided on his own all the moves he has made in his career.

        His only association with Jr Driver program was when Sauber BMW was not able to give him race seat for longer term after Kubica returned after his injury time off in 2007. It was when he first drover for the Junior Red Bull team (STR) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Bull_Junior_Team

        If indeed RedBull is claiming to support him as a driver of RedBull Jr driver program its wrong information. They simply hired a really good talent off the shelf.

      3. Kevin Green says:

        Yeah and The team he drove for in F3 prior to F1 was Red Bull backed anyway JAMES could you put any light onto any sponsorship differential from Red Bull Between Paul And Sebastian at this point. Got a feeling he was getting further support then too??

  17. goferet says:

    Yeah Formula 1 is a cut throat business that has seen the rise & fall of many innocent young men that dared venture in those shark infested waters.

    Actually any business that involves lots of money & thus creates a situation where by their is higher demand for few vacancies, this will always be the result.

    Now Alguersuari being the young lad he is has learnt a very important and free life lesson i.e. Trust NO ONE EVER when it comes to £££ and whatever contracts you get yourself involved in, always get it in writing that way you will always have a soft cushion filled with millions to ease the pain once they turn around and stab you in the back.

    But to be fair to Torro Rosso, they had given both Buemi & Jamie enough time to prove their metal & in that time they didn’t exactly set the timing screens alight more so last year, Jamie benefited a lot by dropping out of Q1 & using his saved soft tyres to get into good positions.

    All said & done, I think his sacking was a blessing in disguise for the Mercedes ride is a much sweater one & looks to have an opening real soon while I doubt Webber plans to let go of his Red Bull energy bottles anytime soon judging from his passionate words about getting itchy feet & whatnot during the winter break.

    Yes the name of the game now is to squeeze every ounce of money out of the sport then retire for good, no comeback nonsense —> That’s only reserved for former champs & pay drivers.

    1. Pyaare says:

      Yeah Formula 1 is a cut throat business
      >> Good Pun, given that Franz Toast is the STR boss (at least on paper).

  18. Andrew says:

    Alguersuari did all that really could have been expected of him and had a pretty decent second half to 2011 in truth. The way he has been treated isn’t pretty but the truth is there are more drivers out there than seats and a long queue of people coming in every single year. The teams are in the box seat in this case and really can pick and choose at will. In that case Jaime may look back and feel lucky he got 3 years to do what he did. I get the feeling that for the next few years at least drivers will only have a small window to prove themselves.

  19. “We didn’t see in them any possibility of growth. Both are Grand Prix drivers, but for us that’s not enough. We want Grand Prix winners.”

    Someone should explain to Marko that F1 is 95% about the car. First give the drivers a race winning car, then expect them to start winning races. Not the other way round.

    1. Precisely. It’s not fair to compare Vettel winning in a rebadged Red Bull at Monza to Alguersuari “merely” scoring consistent points in a real Toro Rosso (that actually came up with their own design out of the old Minardi team).

      Put him in a Red Bull and see how he does.

      On the flip side, if he “didn’t reach expectations” in 2.5 years, why did it take them that long to realize he wasn’t worth keeping?

      Seems weird to me. Maybe French sponsors are more sought after than Spanish ones?

      1. Liam in Sydney says:

        Exactly! Tell the guy he is out before the season ends so his 2012 is not ruined as well.

      2. David A says:

        STR in their current guise still aren’t as far down as Minardi, and the “rebadged Red Bull” was based on a car that finished 7th in the WCC.

      3. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Un-reliable, and had a weak engine. The Toro Rosso had a much stronger Ferrari engine. On pure pace the two teams were pretty much up there with Renault and BMW.

      4. Minardi would score points on occasion, back when it was top-6 only.

        Also, it wasn’t based on one that finished 7th; it was an updated chassis from the previous season, where that car finished 5th in the WCC despite many retirements (or 6th, if you count McLaren). 7 out of 19 finishes were in the points (top-8) and they scored a podium with that chassis. That podium (and Coulthard’s 5th place) was in a rain race, which shows how good that chassis was in the rain.

        Webber qualified third for Monza in 2008, one spot ahead of Bourdais, so it shows that the Red Bull was close to the Toro Rosso on pace (Newey’s designs around that time were still competitive). So for Vettel to be marginally ahead of Webber on pace isn’t that extraordinary. Impressive, like I said before, but not some miracle.

        The rest of Vettel’s 2008 season actually closely resembles Alguersuari’s 2011 season, in that there were a lot of points finishes – the discrepancy between points systems being easily offset by the differences in reliability between 2008 and 2011 (easier to get into the top 8 when a bunch of cars retire than it is to get into the top 10 when there are almost never any cars retiring).

        Let’s go over Vettel’s advantages with the STR3 over Alguersuari’s STR6:

        1. Vettel’s re-badged Red Bull had a much more powerful Ferrari engine in 2008, rather than the 2008 Renault engine that was good on fuel but seriously lacked power. We all know Monza is a power track, where that Ferrari engine could more than make up for a slightly superior Red Bull chassis.

        2. Renault and Ferrari are a lot more even these days on power, and Renault had a bigger advantage in 2011 with their exhaust-blowing settings, giving Toro Rosso’s STR6 a comparative handicap. Vettel did not have to overcome this discrepancy in 2008 with his STR3.

        3. Vettel had a chassis based off previous year’s Red Bull-Ferrari that scored a podium in 2007… a reasonably competitive design that was then optimized for the following season. That chassis was proven by all four drivers (Vettel, Bourdais, and previously Webber and Coulthard) to be fast in the rain.

        4. Vettel’s Toro Rosso was clearly aimed at the faster tracks (as well as being fast in the rain) as evidenced by Bourdais qualifying fourth at Monza, and also having the fastest time of the field in Q2 at Spa that year, followed by both cars running in the top five until a torrential downpour on the last lap while they were on intermediates (Bourdais was ahead of Vettel until the final lap, by the way). Alguersuari’s Toro Rosso was never designed to be fast at a specific circuit or in the rain, and therefore didn’t give him an opportunity to have an upset finish in perfect conditions like Vettel.

        Vettel’s talented, no doubt, but writing off Alguersuari because he didn’t run with the Red Bulls or snag a win, or even get a podium is quite unfair as Vettel had the odds in his favour to do well that year.

        Apples and oranges.

      5. David A says:

        @Spinodontosaurus – STR definitely wasn’t on a par with Renault or BMW.

      6. David A says:

        Even with all of those comparisons, I am still not convinced that Alguersuari showed enough, or showed as much as Vettel did to earn a promotion, regardless of whether it was entirely JA’s fault or not.

        Four of Jaime’s seven points finishes in 2011 came from the 18th place grid slot, which effectively rewards a poor qualifying session with extra sets of tyres for the race. Quite a few others got points from that position as well.

        I do not believe that STR were naive enough literally demand a podium/win from Jaime, or the same results as SV managed. However, to be given a Red Bull ride, he would have needed to consistently shine in the circumstances he was given, which didn’t really happen, with a qualifying record inferior to that of Buemi’s.

      7. The one area I’ll agree with you on is the poor qualifying record (apart from his sixth-place effort at Spa). He showed a weakness there (though he was able to usually recover). He showed Buemi was ahead of him there, but then Buemi showed that Alguersuari was stronger in the races.

        Had they both been good at qualifying or the races (consistently), at least one or the other would likely be racing this year. Since they each showed each others weaknesses, unfortunately they both ended up getting canned.

        Personally, I could see Alguersuari being another Button or Mansell in the longer term. Strong driver, shows talent, but then really makes it count when he’s in a good car after maturing for a few years. Sadly, that’s not how the Red Bull system works. If jaws don’t drop with your performances, you’re out.

        In that regard, I disagree with Marko; I think Alguersuari is better than just a “GP Driver”, but I think he’d a winner as well. Perhaps not a multi-time world champion that sets the world on fire year after year, but a winner nonetheless.

  20. peru.kowalsky says:

    can you imagine if he was a british driver? Even marko would have been afrais to give him this kind of treatment.

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      That’s sadly true.

    2. Pyaare says:

      Unless he was Gary Paffet getting kicked in nuts for his loyalty to a British team. At peak of his youth Paffet was not touched by other team, since he was committed to McLaren.

      McLaren never gave him a fair shot in a race seat. Now all that he is reduced to is status of Marc Gene, Fisichella and likes who warm benches of maranello, drive around corporate guests at high speeeds in Company’s sports car and test parts in a simultor.

      1. James Allen says:

        I understand Paffett will not attend the GPs this season

      2. Pyaare says:

        So there you go, Gary is indeed reduced to same fate of Marc Gene and Fisico, to warm benches, puke in simulator and chauffeur corporate guests at high speed :)

        At least for Gene and Fisi, they did get race driving experience in F1.

        Paffett is good example why it is always lose-lose situation for drivers in F1. If they express their side of story, they are deemed as whiners, if they keep quite about bad treatment from team, the team still goes about with its head held high like STR and the uninformed fans simply insult the drivers.

        PS – Moderator has warned about not disrespecting the posters. Can we have same code of decorum and civility when it comes to the drivers?? Its ok for posters to ignorantly insult the drivers, but wrong to tell these posters that they are wrong.

      3. Kevin Green says:

        Well to be fair this where we have to be realistic and look at all the facts not just within F1 Especially as a team owner picking drivers. 1st point Vettel and De Rista same team f3 in 06 Paul wins fair and square.

        09 Dtm a still very very young De Rista who has allways been single seat going into a field of well accomplished dtm driver (inc Paffet) and ex F1 drivers DC RS etc quite a mine field.

        Anyway finishes 3rd on the heals of Paffet following year Wins the title Quite a feat! with Paffet 3rd and last season Paffet finishes 7th.

        So in reality folks did Paffet really justify a shot on race day? more so due to the fact he knows the car and has obv constantly been monitored on progress/skill over the yrs???

  21. CanadaF1fan says:

    Completely disagree with most of these comments — this is F1 and there is no entitlement just because you competed for a few years. If we want the best drivers in the world in this sport, we need to accept that those who do not show potential for domination should be moved on. STR may be among the most ruthless in making these decisions, but all teams have that “up or out” mentality.

    Furthermore, I suspect that STR was not behaving maliciously — in fact, Alguersari’s comments confirm that the team believed that he was going to have a seat in 2012 (otherwise why have him prepped for the PR event?). Obviously things changed in the interim — this happens all the time in the business world (i.e., a new strategic direction) and Alguersari was a casualty. In that vein, for STR to re-commit themselves to new driver development seems completely reasonable.

    What is not reasonable was the timing of the decision. Alguersari clearly got shafted and he is certainly justified in his frustration about how things played out. That said, there were plenty of other seats available in F1 this year, and his name did not come up – I presume the folks in the paddock know more than I do, so there must be a reason for it.

    Put simply, STR needed to make this decision earlier, out of respect for their drivers. This sets a precedent that could hurt the team — if Ricciardo or Vergne gets offers from another team in the coming years, they may be more likely to accept just in case their agreement with STR vanishes like it did for Alguersari (and Buemi too, I presume).

    1. Athlander says:

      To be fair, most of the comments have been critical of the way Toro Rosso allegedly misled Alguersuari into thinking he would be continuing with them, rather than that he was entitled to stay with the team.

      I think Alguersuari needed to be a bit more ruthless and he should have taken the opportunity with this other team. Webber clearly isn’t retiring yet and Toro Rosso aren’t going to be building race-winning cars any time soon. Without a cast-iron contract (if such a thing exists) that Alguersuari would inherit Webber’s seat, his place in Toro Rosso was never going to be secure – the fates of Speed, Bourdais & Liuzzi are testament to that.

    2. Pyaare says:

      Hmmm how would it feel if you are working for an employer who has expectations disproportionate to the investment they make in the business, physically abuse you and then bad mouth you around diminishing your job prospects? All because of there are more drivers in market than available seat.

    3. Kevin Green says:

      You have got half that right and half very wrong Canada.

  22. Toporso says:

    Obviously Toro Rosso didn’t want to see Jaime running for another team this year because they feared his success. That would make them look pretty dumb.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      +1 ish

  23. Andy says:

    I’ve never liked Marko or Red Bull that much, since their unflinching loyalty and incomprehensible defence of Vettel after Vettel crashed into Webber in Turkey.

    1. K says:

      You have my backing there on Vettel crash into Webber.

  24. CarlH says:

    James,

    Is there any indication on what Red Bull are expecting from Vergne this season? I was quite impressed by what Alguersuari managed to do in the latter part of 2011, and going by his account of events it seems they were ready to keep him on. Have they seen something extra special from the Frenchman to push Jaime out?

    1. James Allen says:

      He’ll have a year to learn then a year to impress, that would be my guess

  25. Chris C says:

    If this version of the story is true, it paints the management of Torro Rosso in a negative way. Their treatment of their employee was totally unethical.

    I think the new 2 guys in TR (Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne) are watching this and when the time come if they have some real potential they will abandon TR for the next opportunity that comes along, instead of sticking around till Marco gets bored with them and starts to look again for the new Vettel.

    Good luck to Jaime for the Mercedes deal.

    1. Arya says:

      Sorry to say that the image of STR management was already tarnished long ago. Remember what transpired between Scott Speed and Tost?
      Lucky that Tost is not in any other sport. Otherwise he would have been reprimanded heavily.

    2. Kevin Green says:

      I would think certainly. must have the F1 puppet masters thinking too. Does not swallow well as for other issues with the “Split team” too.

      1. Arya says:

        I do not know what is that link provided for. I, for one, have no intention of reading about Franz Tost. Rather want to know what does that link prove!!!

  26. DMyers says:

    I have a lot of time for Alguersuari. He is one of the most articulate and seemingly intelligent drivers on the grid (which is an impression I’ve garnered from seeing him interviewed), and the decision taken to drop him at the end of the year was very peculiar. However, he has handled the situation admirably and I hope he has every chance to stick two fingers up at Marko in the future.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Got serious visions on Ferrari next season cant help but think Rosberg is glued in and Schumi is keeping Pauls seat cosi. and would seem the most ideal candidate without hacking offf Alonso

  27. Rafael says:

    I can see where Jaime is coming from, he has a right to be angry after being treated as such.

    As for “Dr.” Marko’s “We didn’t see in them any possibility of growth. … We want Grand Prix winners” BS, what exactly did he have planned for Algersuari and Buemi anyways? Was he even ever going to move them up to Red Bull after their “rookie stint” in Toro Rosso? So in reality, Marko never had a solid plan for the two since the line-up at RBR was obviously going to stay as it was. Marko should have just really informed the two that they were going to be sacked a lot earlier.

  28. Craig in SG says:

    This must be what Marko was referring to previously when he accused Alguesuari of not being an intelligent driver!

    I mean, if you’ve got a “very good offer” in one hand, and a verbal from Marko in the other, knowing Marko, which would you rely on?

  29. C-M says:

    I don’t have much sympathy, really.

    He should have valued himself more. Why turn down solid offers, when you don’t have a contract signed for next year?

    He could have been promised 100 million a race and ten WDC with Torro Rosso, but if he hasn’t signed a contract then it’s meaningless.

    1. madmax says:

      If he impressed in the Toro Rosso he had a great chance of being in the Red Bull the next year which is the number 1 seat so why sign for something else if he was sure he was going to be kept on. You have to remember also he is just 21.

      1. Kevin Green says:

        +1

    2. Why rustle feathers within the Red Bull family when he might be the next one to be called up if Webber moves on?

      I think he made a wise move in waiting for them, as another year in a Toro Rosso might allow him to then move up into a Red Bull. I’d wait for that, even if there were other offers presented.

      The only way I would step out of Toro Rosso to move to another team is if they were Ferrari, McLaren, or maybe Mercedes or Lotus… if it was anyone else, I would stick with Toro Rosso and hope I get promoted to Red Bull. He clearly didn’t have an offer from Ferrari or McLaren. Mercedes isn’t exactly doing all that well (basically as well as you could expect a Honda chassis with a Mercedes engine). Lotus isn’t bad, but with all the stories surrounding their ownership and money issues, I’d be wary stepping into that mess unless I was super-established like Kimi.

  30. james encore says:

    Helmut Marko has a point. We’ve got plenty of drivers trying to get into F1 and a fair number of seats filled by drivers for whom competing in F1 will be the summit of their acheivement. Red Bull have a top car and I imagine they’d ask “When a seat in the senior team is up, might this be the guy to fill it”. If they’d decided the answer was no for Alguersuari it was time to give someone else a go in the STR.
    Telling him so late wasn’t the summit of fair play though.

  31. madmax says:

    Disgusting behavior by Marko/Red Bull.

  32. Mart Anthony says:

    In fairness to STR, we’ve only heard Alguersuari’s side of the story on this. Despite me being a staunch supporter of Jaime, what he interprets as ‘verbally confirmed’ may not have been as clear-cut as that. I think it’s only fair to reserve judgement on STR/Marko until their side of the story is public.

    1. NutBallRacer says:

      Ahhh….Mart…..STR/Marko’s side is very public, and was aired first.

  33. Tom says:

    And the lesson of the day (or should that be year?) for Jaime?

    Get it in writing!

    1. Pyaare says:

      Liuzzi has plenty of papers to counter that theory, from both FIF1 and HRT. I heard papers make good fodder for fireplace in his home…

  34. Paul says:

    I have sympathy for Alguersuari, but Marko’s reasoning is correct. Anyone who has seen Alguersuari, Vergne and Ricciardo in junior formulae would concur that Alguersuari was the least impressive.

    I am very intrigued as to who the other team Alguersuari was in talks with. Williams might be the most logical, but could it have been Lotus (Renault)? Would make sense timing-wise. I hope he gets picked up somewhere next year because he could be easily forgotten about

    1. Kevin Green says:

      No chance! he will be straight into a seat next season wait and see.

  35. Aaron says:

    They forgot to mention the minor detail that his seat is safe if they beat Sauber.

  36. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    At the end of the day, despite the circumstances, its hard to feel sorry for JA. Getting to F1 is not just a story of talent, but also of dollars. He and Buemi were both given all the support possible to succeed in F1. There is probably no better driver development program than RB’s. They would have known what happened to Speed and Bourdais before them and gone in with open eyes. If the never drive in F1 again, they will always have that on their resume which will certainly open doors for them in other categories. This is not the time to whinge, but to restock, get a good ride in another category and if their hearts are truly on F1, then fight for another seat in a year or two’s time. If someone like Pedro can keep getting seats, anything is possbible! Alternatively make a name for yourself in Indy, sports cars, Le Mans prototypes, etc. Look at what McNish has been able to accomplish since being dropped by Toyota.

    1. Pyaare says:

      ANJr – You seemed to drinking too much from F1 Kool Aid. Other racing series have their own challenges and having F1 on resume opens all doors in bit of overhype.
      Likes of Alan McNish, Bourdais are talented individuals in their own rights, to succeed in F1 or that matter any team sports, there are many many more factors involved and just individual talent will not change the situation.

      Alan in Toyota and Bourdais in STR was simply a case of wrong place at wrong time, and even if they had not been in F1, they would have got ample opportunities elsewhere and they were going to succeed anyways.

      As a long time F1 fan (25+ yrs), I am proud of what F1 offers, but the whole hype of “pinnacle of motorsports” is a myth at least in case of modern F1, 50s-80s yes F1 was really at the peak not now

      1. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        Reading between the lines, I think we’re in agreement. Ie that JA (and other dropped drivers) should use their experience in F1 to move on to other categories and make the best of it. I still think a lot of teams would want the cache of having an ex-F1 driver, much like F1 teams like having ex-WDCs.

        Interestingly, I think there are several drivers, perhaps less talented, who have been able to use their off-track “talent” to find their way back into F1.

        Maybe James could shed some insight into how one Spanish driver keeps popping up with teams even though the arm chair critic thinks he is not worthy.

  37. Pyaare says:

    Jaime should consider himself lucky that they bothered placing a phone call worth 2 mins. This is the team, where team boss has physically attacked a driver and in another instance, the driver was texted of his ouster from the team.

    Looks like STR management gets more sophisticated and professional in driver management…

  38. K says:

    I will never buy a Red Bull product as long as Marko is there managing people in such a bad and rude manner, not honouring his words and contracts and bad-mouthing people.

  39. Rich C says:

    The PR Master Marko is revealed to be a [expletive deleted].

    Nothing new here.

    G/L to Alguesuari and lets hope he burns no more bridges behind himself.

  40. Matt says:

    As others have said, decision was correct but timing was awful, almost criminal taking into account the negative effect it would have on their careers to be told so late in the game that they don’t have a drive for 2012.

  41. Kevin Green says:

    That would be silly lets see what happens in the end of season musical chairs, Im certain he will be back in F1 on race day next season and dont count out Ferrari!

  42. Kevin Green says:

    Above comment Reply to 36

  43. Aaron James says:

    I think Joe Saward raised this point a while back- Red Bull have a poor record in looking after their young drivers once they “mature”.

    Unless your Vettel. Enrique Bernoldi, Brandon Hartley to name two.

    1. BoV says:

      When Kimi was 21 Marko decided he has no future in Formula One because star of the future is Bernoldi. Jaime is stil 21 and thanks to Red Bull he has more experience from Formula One then Kimi had had. Now everything is on his hands.

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