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Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Sep 2013   |  8:59 am GMT  |  213 comments

One of the most poignant thoughts to arise from the promotion of Daniel Ricciardo from Toro Rosso to the Red Bull team is the role that timing and opportunity play in a driver’s career.

The announcement from Mark Webber in June that he was to retire at the end of 2013, created an opportunity at Red Bull, the first since the end of 2008.

In the intervening period a number drivers have been through the Red Bull young driver programme – some have done a spell at Toro Rosso – and then headed for the exit with no promotion in prospect.

One wonders what Jaime Alguersuari in particular musy be feeling today. The Spaniard won the British F3 championship, sweeping aside Sergio Perez, now a McLaren driver and was continuing his development when he was dropped into Toro Rosso at just 19 years of age, when they suddenly dropped Sebastien Bourdais days before the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Alguersuari has since said himself that he was not ready for F1, but as you never know when a chance may arise again you never say no to an offer to race. He struggled initially, but by his second year, 2011, he was developing into an impressive racer.


He scored 26 points that season in a Toro Rosso car that, like this year’s, was capable of qualifying in the top ten from time to time. He did that several times, like Ricciardo has done, and from Canada onwards he was in the points 7 times in 13 races, with outstanding drives in Italy and Korea and strong runs in Canada, Valencia and India. He scored 63% of his team’s total points, which is another strong sign.

You have to improve as a Grand Prix driver and he just got better and better to the point where you had an eye on him in every race in the second half of the season, as he took the improved Toro Rosso and made some bold strategies work for him.

He had the right approach for the Pirelli tyres; the key was his strong pace on worn soft tyres, which he pushed for long middle stints. Because this site goes into depth on race strategies, with the UBS Strategy Reports strand, we could see close up what he was doing. Rival midfield teams’ strategists would often comment on it admiringly.

But the problem was that there was no opening in the senior team; Webber and Vettel were a strong pairing at Red Bull, so the opportunity for promotion simply wasn’t there. He had an offer from Lotus, but having been told at the final race of the year by Helmut Marko (above right) that he was safe for 2012, he figured he would do another year there and see if Webber decided to retire. A call at Christmas time telling him he was no longer wanted ended his F1 career.

18 months year later Webber called time on his F1 adventure and Red Bull found themselves with an opening. And so it is now Ricciardo who finds himself in the right time at the right place. Good luck to him, that’s life.

So far Ricciardo has scored 12 points this year, one less than his team mate, but Red Bull has seen enough of his speed in testing and on the simulator to believe they know what they are doing.

I’ve not seen as much from the likeable Aussie yet as I did from Alguersuari that year, but his qualifying speed is undoubted and his drive through the field to 10th in Spa hinted at the quality in races which he will need to mix it with the big beasts like Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel and Raikkonen at the front.

So is Alguersuari the one who got away? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s academic now.

The point is that had Mark Webber decided to retire in summer 2011, Alguersuari would probably have been in the same position Ricciardo is in today.

Daniel deserves his chance and it’s positive to see young drivers getting an opportunity to make a name for themselves.

Such are the twists of fate and fortune in sport.

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213 Comments
  1. Rob Newman says:

    Jaime was a good driver but apart from Lotus, I don’t think many people were scrambling for his service. That also shows something doesn’t it?

    1. Wayne says:

      There’s also the supposition that, despite what teams say, they do not necessarily want the two fastest drivers available in their cars. RBR have a winning formula with a clear lead driver and a solid points scorer in the other car. It works, why on earth would they upset that?

      That principle has allowed Ferrari to challenge in the past when really they were not fast enough as well.

      1. Erik says:

        Marko talked about signing the 2 best drivers for the team. Horner talked about the 2 best drivers.

        No wonder Horner looked like he had swallowed a lemon at Spa. He looked disgusted about what happened. He built the team and Marko makes the decisions.

        Mercedes will probably take the fight to RB next year. It will be interesting how 2 quick drivers compare to one quick and a clear nr2 driver.

      2. Rob Newman says:

        Not sure which 2 quick drivers you are referring to. In case you are referring to Mercedes, does the following rings any bell from Malaysia 2013 ..?

        “Remember this one …”

        One wonders why that came from a driver.

    2. Would Daniel have received offers from other teams? No one knows.

      I only met him briefly last year and what you see on TV is what you get.
      I wish him well at RBR, but I think James has got a point, even if from the outside.
      What RBR knows that we don’t is the key to that answer. I guess we’ll have to wait until next year to find out.

      1. Wayne says:

        RBR might not know anything more than us. It may well be that they do not want the fastest driver available in the car to upset the team dynamic. I wopuld imagine that they are seeking like for like WEB replacement, nothing more.

        All this ‘poor Jaime’ and ‘timing’ stuff presupposes that RBR WANT the fastest driver available, and I don’t think they do.

      2. One would think that there should be some loyalty on the part of the RB Driver Prgram, and especially with the promise and ability shown by Jaime — wouldn’t ya think? But as pointed out, no one knows what really made the dice fall the way they did.

      3. Mad Kiwi says:

        Whether they want the fastest driver or not is a bit null and void.

        They can easily ensure they have the one fastest driver internally anyway.

        Were I Daniel I would be fearing for my reliability, start capability and other “ingenious” methods of control/manipulation……

    3. Sebee says:

      BTW, didn’t Jaime already drive the RBR?

      Wasn’t his time at Torro the time when RBR was sharing the chassis design with Torro with Adrian providing his “input”?

      1. James Allen says:

        No it was just after

    4. Spyros says:

      They weren’t scrambling for his services because by December (i.e. when STR fired him) they were all set for the following season.

      1. Wade Parmino says:

        That didn’t stop Caterham from dumping Trulli for Petrov at the very last minute before the 2012 season begun.

      2. Spyros says:

        A different situation.

        Petrov=Cash.
        Trulli=No Cash.

    5. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      Wow James, I had thought that ALGUERSUARI’F1 End was directly caused by an argument with MARKO related to ALGUERSUARI in the little sister team Toro Rosso blocking VETTEL in the Red Bull on track. There was a video of that.

      For MARKO, Jaime “does not listen” and that’s not good as a comment for any employee…

      1. JohnBt says:

        And that was just during practice session. So far I’ve never seen a post that someone likes the helmut.

      2. James Hunt says:

        Yeah I remember this as well. I figure Marko got rid of Jaime cos he spoke his mind and stood up to Marko’s bullying.

        If I also remember correctly Jaime accidently blocked Vettel in free prac, so it wasn’t crucial time loss like it would have been in Quali or the race. But ah well, those are the politics inside RBR…

    6. Wade Parmino says:

      Agree. If he was so fantastic, surely at least one of the smaller teams would have given him a drive.

  2. Grant H says:

    I too was surprised no one pickedup jaime, cut throat business f1

    1. Wayne says:

      It’s also not very in keeping with RBR’s brand image of thrill-a-minute excitement and extreme living is it? I’ve always found that RBR fail to live up to the image that the guys that make the can portray in TV ads.

      Had they have put Raikonnen in that car they would have been able to capitalise on that ‘risk vs reward’ image they cultivate in main stream advertising for the can. Thereb would have been huge respect for them in fan-land as well, but they went with the safest and most boring choice (even if it is the ‘right’ one).

      1. Lockster says:

        Ironically, if Ricciardo does really well then they will have epitomized the “risk vs reward’ image that you refer to…

    2. Andrew Carter says:

      When he was told he’d lost the drive there was nothing left but HRT and for this year he needed money, of which there is sadley not much of in Spain at the moment.

  3. JPS says:

    Sweet I think Webber will enjoy an Aussie beating Vettel.

    1. Wayne says:

      This driver has been recruited precisely because he will NOT upset VET. Rightly too, that’s the way it should be. F1 is a team sport, although people really struggle to understand it, and the team should do what is best to secure the championships. An F1 team should favour one driver at some point in the season and hold its head high when doing so.

      1. Nick says:

        Yeah its a team sport….even when you team mate is leading a race, being told by the team that your position is safe, turn down the car and bring it home…

        Then BAM, you just pass them because they are going too slow for your liking and you don’t like listening to the team when they tell you look after your tires and just keep station.

        I hope Vettel is in the position Webber was in Malaysia and Ricciardo overtakes him and leaves him for dead…..I really want to see the team react to that.

        It’s a team sport, but when one driver doesn’t respect the team and its decisions because he wants to win everything (which is something you want in a top class driver conversely)….you open up a whole can of worms.

      2. Wayne says:

        I could not agree more.

      3. SteveS says:

        Give it a rest …. Webber defied team orders repeatedly at Red Bull. If he had been a loyal and obedient team player you’d have something resembling a point, but the fact is that what we saw in Malaysia was Webber getting his well-deserved comuppance for his own ignoring of team orders over the years.

      4. Bartholomew says:

        Well, Webber hardly respected the team when he ignored team orders in Silverstone 2011. Some team player he prived himself to be. Why should Malaysia always be brought up to tarnish Vettel?

      5. Rob Newman says:

        Team Sport .. Webber always ignored team orders when asked not to overtake Vettel. When Vettel ignored team orders and overtook him, it was a bitter pill to swallow. So he quit.

        Webber continues to disrespect the team. If he continues that way, he many not drive another 8 races in F1.

      6. bk201 says:

        SteveS (aka Bartholomew)

        As I’ve explained before, the Red Bull intra-team squabbles can be traced – chronologically – back to Turkey 2010, when Vettel crashed into his teammate, yet Horner and Marko shamefully tried to blame Webber.

        Aside from his error, Vettel further exacerbated tensions with his “crazy” gesture towards Webber immediately after the crash which Vettel himself had caused.

        Not long after that, Vettel was infamously given preference for new parts in the 2010 GBR GP. In such a context, why on earth would anyone – apart from Vettel’s strange fanbase – expect any degree of compliance from Webber towards Vettel and Red Bull!?

        Both Vettel and Red Bull behaved dispicably towards Webber in 2010. In a strategic sense they got it horribly wrong in thinking only of their short-term scapegoating of Webber. Worse still were Horner’s and Vettel’s denial of any wrong-doing towards Webber.

        Which is actually one of the main reasons why Vettel and Red Bull struggle for respect. Red Bull’s treatment of Webber is all too reminiscent of Barrichello’s treatment at Ferrari.

      7. SteveS says:

        bk201 (aka Mr Proxy Server, aka Mr IP Anonymizer)

        Your “chronology” is flawed. It pretends that the 2009 season, where Vettel quite clearly demonstrated his superiority over Webber, never happened. It pretends that the incident in Turkey was all Vettel’s fault when it was at least 50% Mark’s fault. It pretends that there is something highly unusual about an F1 team giving the best available parts to their driver with the most points, when in fact this is the normal course of events in F1.

      8. Sebee says:

        That Vettel “robbery” was one of the most exciting things to happen this year so far. People everywhere are still talking about it.

        MORE PLEASE! :-)

      9. Bartholomew says:

        “Not long after that, Vettel was infamously given preference for new parts in the 2010 GBR GP.”

        And the fake Jon Sandor brings up this old chestnut again! If in doubt, scream “2010 GBR”! The decision was said to have been made based on driver feedback from Friday Practice.

        “Red Bull’s treatment of Webber is all too reminiscent of Barrichello’s treatment at Ferrari.”

        Because they asked Webber to pull over for Vettel on the final corner for a win, oh wait…

      10. KRB says:

        SteveS, “at least 50% Mark’s fault”?!?! I would say Webber was AT MOST 40% culpable in that coming together. He just held his line on the run down to the corner. That was Vettel not wanting Webber to go up 3-1 in wins at that pt in the season, simple as that.

      11. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        Webber was unique within the team. His agreement was with Mateschitz not the team or the other figures behind the scene. Therefore he had some ability to speak and act without necessarily worrying about the consequences. There is no way that any incoming driver would have the same ability. At least not until they had proven themselves.

      12. Simmo says:

        Yes. This is one main reason why Ferrari want Massa. He is a great team player. At McLaren, we have seen the drivers constantly tripping each other up (one’s gain is the other’s loss), and when Red Bull used to promise no team orders they were getting in each others way too (Turkey 2010, etc.)

      13. bk201 says:

        SteveS, aka Bartholomew.

        You seem to know a lot more about computers than me. By the way, “projection” is treatable you know?

        2009 is completely irrelevent as they were close in the WDC standings at the time of Turkey 2010. As they were indeed in first and second position in that race until Vettel crashed into Webber. Your “50%” comment ably demonstrates your complete lack of objectivity about Vettel.

        “The decision was said to have been made based on driver feedback from Friday Practice.”

        You’re also not aware that there were TWO new front wings for the GBR 2010 GP. When Vettel’s failed in QUALIFYING (nothing to do with your invented claims of “decisions made in Friday practice”), Vettel was given the one from Webber’s car.

        At a point when they were separated by only twelve points in the WDC. That’s clear no.1/no.2 driver bias right there. Especially coming so soon after Vettel causing the intra-team crash in Turkey. For which Red Bull tried to scapegoat Webber.

        Watch the races before commenting, please.

      14. Bartholomew says:

        @bk201 – For the record, I actually disagree with SteveS’s “50%” comment. In fact, from a past thread, Turkey 2010 was one of the times where I considered Vettel to have been to blame for an incident.

        “You’re also not aware that there were TWO new front wings for the GBR 2010 GP. When Vettel’s failed in QUALIFYING (nothing to do with your invented claims of “decisions made in Friday practice”), Vettel was given the one from Webber’s car.”

        Vettel’s wing clearly failed in Saturday practice, not qualifying. And Horner justified the decision based on the fact that Vettel felt more comfortable out of the two using the component on Friday (look it up yourself). In China 2012, Vettel similarly used an older exhaust setup purely because he felt more comfortable.

        So another of your cheap attempts to tarnish SV, this time with three year old stories, gets thrown out of the window.

      15. Ricardo says:

        I saw the crash and it looked 100% Vettel’s fault. Then Vettel makes the crazy sign and then the team blames Webber and it all came back to me. Webber was ordered to let Seb go (remember team orders were not openly allowed then). This was, in fact, the first time Weber openly disobeyed team orders. Seb made the mistake of trusting Webber would back down. This was the last time he made that mistake. In Malaysia Webber got exactly what he sowed.

    2. Rob Newman says:

      Even though Vettel had won a race for Torro Rosso (The first vicctory for the Red Bull family), I wonder if anyone ever expected Vettel to beat Webber when he joined RBR.

      At Red Bull Webber was the man to beat. Many drives came and went including David Coulthard but Webber thrashed them all. And then came Vettel.

      Ricciardo is fast but soon we will see if he is a match.

      1. KRB says:

        I remember exactly what commentators were saying, and they were saying (as was DC too) that Webber would have his hands full with Vettel. Seeing as I never regarded Webber as an elite driver, it didn’t surprise me at all that Vettel did well against Webber in 2009.

        Someone on here claimed that Webber was arguably the 2nd fastest driver after Vettel. What a crock. Webber has never been Hamilton fast, Alonso fast, or Kimi fast, and I’m sure Mark would be the first to concede that.

      2. Yak says:

        Many drivers including DC? Webber drove for two years with RBR alongside DC before Vettel came on board. And while he beat DC both years, I wouldn’t say he thrashed him.

  4. Simon Donald says:

    James, so you think Alguersuari may have another chance in F1? Grosjean was widely panned in the few races he did for Renault, but got a second chance a few seasons later and now looks pretty tidy.

    1. JTodt says:

      It helps if your manager is the team boss.

    2. JK says:

      Totally different Situation.

      Not because Romain is any better than Jaime, but because of his manager who happens to be boss of Lotus.

      Had it not been for Eric.B, I GUARANTEE you Romain won’t be around.

      As JA says, it is about timing. Also connection and money. Talent is about 4th on the list at the moment.

  5. Matthew Cheshire says:

    It is a pity for JA but similar stories apply to many drivers who never had the chance to reach F1. Or like Kobiashi who would have kept his seat if he was racing a few seasons ago, before the GFC. Webber’s timing was right to be in red bull but bad timing too with Vettel appearing.

    Red bull were harsh to drop JA but he got further than most and there are no guarantees in 1.

    The could have/should have debate in this sport is a topic without an end.

    1. Sebee says:

      Spot on. Perhaps he may feel hard done by the way things played out, but meanwhile what is forgotten is the 2+ seasons of support Red Bull gave him when they took him on to get going. If he had believers and money backing him beside that invested by Red Bull, he would be driving. That’s the reality of today’s F1.

      These guys are now mostly drand ambassadors who “drive” the message home, so to speak.

      1. Matthew Cheshire says:

        Yes, another (of many) angles here are pay drivers. If all drivers earned and kept their seats on merit alone, then there would be no complaints about who gets in and who is out of the field.

        But F1 is big money, and that is a big part of the attraction. The most advanced, the fastest, the best will always be the most expensive. Corporate money provides the spectacle and will need its investment to return more than podiums and lap times.

        If we don’t accept that we should be watching racing without corporate compromises in the junior formulas. But we don’t do we?

  6. Paige says:

    Algersuari, in retrospect, really made a poor career decision to not take the Lotus offer- especially given Red Bull’s history of chewing up and spitting out development drivers. He would have had a car that suited the Pirelli tires (just as he was able to do), and he would probably be doing what Grosjean has been doing, but without the recklessness. And Grosjean has at least built himself a great profile as a quick and talented driver with some of his performances. Lots of people believe he will be winning races in the future. That could have been Algersuari.

    The moral in all of this, though: don’t ever trust Helmut Marko. Period. The guy has shown that he will be ruthlessly dishonest, double-crossing, and back-stabbing- and he does not care what you think about it. I would never have this guy as a business partner, even if to some degree he knows his field.

    1. Dimi_ths says:

      I totally agree with you, regarding Helmut. I still wonder what the heck he’s still doing in RBR.

    2. JCA says:

      I thought Marko wanted to keep JA and SB, but was overruled by Mateschitz.

    3. Elie says:

      Paige hindsights a great thing but Jaime was not to know that he was going to be dropped at Xmas time was he..he was given assurances that he would be driving prior to that. I recall he sought legal action at 1 point ( which is more than reasonable).. If it was indeed Marko then I couldn’t agree more with your last para.!
      The trust matter is my single biggest relief for Raikkonen- he’s an honest bloke and would have wanted a very clear upfront deal- that’s why talks stopped ages ago- thats not in Red Bulls “interests” !

    4. alexyoong says:

      Marko is a ruthless character. I wasn’t aware of this assurance, and if true it makes me even less keen than I was before on the bloke. If you give your word it should count.

      On the other hand, unless there was some settlement behind the scenes, it seems odd Jaimie didn’t pursue legal action. That suggests that the assurance may have been less than concrete.

      Whatever, he thought he would be driving in 2012, and he was only told no when it was effectively too late to bag another seat. That is a selfish way of operating for sure.

      Red Bull, for all their marketing nonsense, are a corporate outfit, and are as determined a set of businessmen as your likely to find. For me, infinitely less preferable than a McLaren, Ferrari, or a Williams, teams set up with the sole aim of Grand Prix racing.

  7. MJSib says:

    Would this pro Alguersuari article have been posted if he wasn’t a co-commentator!

    1. Tara says:

      Hmm have to agree…

    2. Random 79 says:

      Would your comment have been published if James was biased?

      Having said that, I’m sure that James does have a soft spot for Algersuari, but you can’t argue with the facts: Dan has been very lucky, Jaime less so.

      1. James Allen says:

        Lucky with timing. The rest he has done himself, giving them something to think about with his quali and test performances in particular

      2. testgate rules says:

        jaimes father, is a very difficult guy to like, and i wouldn’t be surprised if Dr marko, didn’t like the guy at all. He was a bike rider in the 70′s, owns the best motorcycle magazine in the world, Solomoto, and is the promoter of the world series by renault, before by nissan. I can see those two being like oil and water.

      3. James Allen says:

        Doesn’t Marko send all his GP3 drivers to WSR instead of GP2?

      4. testgate rules says:

        i don’t know what are you trying to imply, but the reason has to be because it is cheaper, not because he is in good terms with alguersuari sr. I would say quite the opposite. the more both those guy get in touch, the more they repel.

      5. Sebee says:

        NOBODY can write this guy’s name correctly! F1 Gods know we’ve tried. It’s a copy/paste name!

      6. Random 79 says:

        Algersuari: Easy.
        Luca de Montemozolo: Cut and paste time.

      7. Yak says:

        Easy? You spelled it wrong! Alguersuari. There’s a sneaky U before the E.

        Montezemolo is basically spelled how it’s said. “Montemozolo” is… not how it’s said.

      8. Random 79 says:

        @Yak

        Yep you have to watch those sneaky Us :)

        Gonna stick with Jaime from now on, much easier :)

      9. Bartholomew says:

        “Algersuari [...] Luca de Montemozolo”

        *Alguersuari *di *Montezemolo

      10. Sebee says:

        Yak, I being a great fan of Montezuma’s Revenge on C64, I always say it Montezumolo. ;-)

      11. Sebee says:

        Rodman 97,

        It’s Alguersuari not Algersuari! :-)

        Make sure you copy and paste someone who’s copied and pasted, like James’ original text, not your mistype.

        BUSTED! 90 minutes – no comments is your sentence.

      12. Sebee says:

        I just wikipedia checked him.

        He should have gone with Víctor Escudero instead. Both spell like they sound. Wonder if that name would have kept him in F1?

    3. Andrew Carter says:

      James has long been a fan of Jaime and made a point of highlighting his good performances back in 2011.

    4. Matthew Cheshire says:

      Yes it’s extreme arrogance and favoritism on James’ behalf. Who would have thought James would air his own views and experience with an F1 driver on a site called JA on F1?!?

      I for one was expecting cooking tips. :)

      1. Kieran Mathers says:

        I agree, after all I also come here for cooking tips!

        James, what is your tips for cooking chicken and lemon grass? ;)

      2. James Allen says:

        Plenty of ginger, a dash of chicken stock, cook slowly

      3. Awesome – will give it a go for dinner tonight. You just don’t get this kind of insight from any other motorsports site.

        But I have to agree with James – I think Jaime deserved better, was capable of better and was just in the wrong place when the music stopped – no chairs left. We’ve all had “luck” like that and it is far, far fewer people that have had Ricciardo’s luck of being in the right place at the right time. So sweet when that happens but means that it is not necesserily the best or most deserving person gets the break. Better to be born lucky than talented, my dad used to say – but it doesn’t hurt to have some talent in reserve and I sense that Ricciardo has what it will ultimately take.

      4. Peter A says:

        What about Alonso and Raikkonen, simmer gently do not leave to boil over!

      5. Matthew Cheshire says:

        Italians do tend to boil everything.

        Where as the red bull frying pan may be on high heat next year. Apparently Riccardo was a fraction quicker than Vettel’s time at the Silverstone test. (that’s the kind of timing that counts)

        We just Webber to come back as Riccardo’s motivational coach and we’ll have Flambé!

    5. bk201 says:

      When it comes to F1, I think Alguersuari can legitimately feel a bit hard done by.

      I remember at some point in 2011, Alguersuari was publicly told to (paraphrasing) “buck his ideas up” (by Marko? he is the usual suspect) and his performance after that was very good.

      Indeed, in the second half of 2011 Alguersuari had a number of top ten finishes – a few more than Buemi managed in the second half of 2011. He really seemed to have taken a step forward…only for the carpet to be pulled from under his feet in terms of being dropped by Torro Rosso.

      I don’t know if Alguersuari showed race-winning potential or not but certainly he is better than a number of drivers currently on the grid. I hope somehow he finds his way back into F1 at some point as he definitely deserves another crack at it.

  8. Martin says:

    The vibe I got was that several of Alguersari’s race performances were partly caused by him and Buemi being further down the grid than they should have been. Toro Rosso’s tendency at the end of the season to reduce the wing levels to aid passing seemed to be an admission that the cars were going to be out of position anyway, so losing five places rather than three wasn’t so bad when the race performance and the ability to pass meant the places could be made up again.

    Jaime not having the last couple of tenths in qualifying seemed to be his problem based on the messages I picked up on. Determining this from outside the team is difficult, but the Red Bull view seems to be that Ricciardo has it and Alguersuari and Buemi don’t. Vergne might if he can get his mind management together in qualifying.

    Still, at the end of 2011 the question would have been who else was an option? Raikkonen was a Red Bull funded rally driver at that stage, so he could still have been a contender.

    1. Yago says:

      I think you go the right direction here. Pirelli tires have had special characteristics: the correct car with the correct set up, and a driver that understands how it has to be driven, can do impressive things in the races due to tire conservation. We have seen it this year with Lotus-Raikonen, last year with Sauber-Perez, and two years ago with Toro Rosso-Alguersuari (as the three most evident examples).

      It was evident that Perez was doing a good job in that regard, but you could see by comparison with Kobayashi he was not a super fast driver, and that is being proven now at McLaren. The same can be said of Alguersuari. He and his Toro Rosso, as Perez and his Sauber, were doing a very good job on the tire side, in those special circumstances Pirelli tires provide. But he was not a super fast driver, he was not a special talent.

      The thing is, a special talent in the 2012 Sauber would have done better than Perez, as he would have qualified better and done a better first couple of laps. But this way his recovery would not have been that impressive towards the end of the race. Something similar than what has happened to Kimi Raikonen at some races. Had he qualified better at Bahrein and Hungary and done a better first couple of laps at Barcelona, he would probably have won some of those races. Instead, one sees an spectacular recovery towards the end of the race, but not the best possible result. (I am not comparing Kimi to Perez and Alguersuari, he is much better).

      Ricciardo seems to have that speed Perez and Alguersuari lack, at least that’s what Red Bull think. But I doubt he is a special talent, as I have not seen anything spectacular from him in the races or in the wet. This probably is in part due to the characteristics of the Toro Rosso car, very different from what Alguersuari had. So very hard to judge if Ricciardo is good enough. But I think he is probably better than Alguersuari.

      1. Martin says:

        Hi Yago,

        I don’t recall enough about 2011 to say with any confidence that a special affinity with the Pirelli tyres was a significant factor in Alguersuari doing well. My recollection of many races was that the softer of the two compounds was regularly the preferred race tyre and it was only once Pirelli tried to create strategic options by making the tyres closer on performance. When that happened in 2012 is when I recall the Perez-style performances occurring. Alguersuari just delivered some strong races – aided by the race-focused greater top speed to make up places (think Vettel in Abu Dhabi last year as an example) and James clearly got feedback from teams that they regarded those drives as strong too. James rated Alguersuari as his 5th or 6th best driver of 2011 from memory – before they joined up in the commentary booth.

        Judging talent to my mind isn’t easy for fans, which makes it easy for people on this site to state “Raikkonen is the fastest driver in F1″. David Coulthard’s honest opinion on Hakkinen, Raikkonen and Webber and their relative speed would be interesting (it may already be written), but the main argument for that claim seems to be Raikkonen versus Montoya. The idea that the cars don’t suit Raikkonen when Massa was out qualifying him in 2007-2009 apparently aren’t applicable in 2005 or 2006.

        To be really fast over one lap a driver presumably needs a really good feel for grip levels to be able to anticipate the track evolution. Presumbably this should carry over to driving in the wet. Which does raise an interesting question about Ricciardo as he seems to be fast in the dry but Vergne has been better in the rain. But there are limits to my theory in the first place. Hakkinen was fast in constant wet conditions, but I remember comments that Schumacher would gain a lot of time in dry to wet transitions. I imagine that few rational F1 followers would argue that Hakkinen was slow.

        Anyway, it wasn’t entirely his call, but I’d take Adrian Newey’s advice on Ricciardo vs Raikkonen ahead on anyone on this site’s.

        James is right about opportunities too. If Montoya hadn’t quit in 2006, there’s a pretty good chance 2007 would have been Alonso and Montoya in the McLarens. Hamilton may well have been farmed out to a smaller team, Alonso would probably have been a McLaren driver for much longer and Raikkonen would not have been forced out of Ferrari. I think James could be wrong about Alguersuari though in that it was only the two races before British GP that he got his first points of 2011. The long list of drivers would have had Alguersuari, but the good drives came from the Italian GP, which is getting really late to start making a case to drive in the top team in F1.

      2. Yago says:

        Alguersuari had a lot of troubles with tire degradation the first couple of races of 2011. Then, the second half of the year he got on top of that making a radical change on car setup and driving approach. He told this himself to spanish journalists. Actually he did more than getting on top of it, he was able to understand the car-tires better than Buemi and this allowed him to do some pretty impressive races. He and the engineers where able to find a sweet spot on car setup which, although the car was not too fast, allowed them to work the tires very well and do some strong races.

        However, what I wanted to point out is that, back then, even if he was understanding very well how to drive the car to get the maximum of the tires in the races, it was pretty clear for me that Buemi was a bit more talented, in the sense he was naturally faster but Alguersuari was outsmarting him. Pure speed is what Red Bull prioritize (after all it is Buemi who was hired by Red Bull as reserve driver for 2012), and I think it’s the correct thing to do. Then experience and hard work will probably bring that kind of understanding of how the car has to be set up and driven to get the maximum of the tires in the races.

        The Kimi thing, it is pretty obvious he is not as fast a driver as some people think. By fast I mean fast on average, over the years, with different cars and tires, different rules, etc, what ever you throw to the driver. Of course if everything is to his liking, Kimi can beat anyone, but also other drivers. The thing is, even if Kimi was the “fastest driver ever” during his years at McLaren, then there are two and a half years where he was not faster than Felipe Massa. That is valid data and has to be included to make an image of his driving skills and average speed. Actually, it is very telling and contradicts that reputation he got at McLaren of “supreme speed”.

      3. Martin says:

        Hi Yago,

        The commentary on Alguersuari was new to me and quite interesting – I’ll take a look back at Autocourse’s team review.

        I don’t have much of an opinion on Buemi and the third driver role. Red Bull could be taking the McLaren path where Paffett and co aren’t really picked on race potential.

        Without access to telemetry data we are really just having fun guessing about driver speed. I made the point in one reply here that Hamilton’s ‘adapting’ to Mercedes brakes is really no different to any driver adapting to a Cosworth engine, as McLaren has a exclusive contract with Akebono.

        Cheers,
        Martin

  9. that is true james, but only to a certain extent. it is never possible to construct a meaningful, like-for-like, structure by which to compare with any accuracy.

    sometimes i read the most ludicrous comparisons by people who should know better. the argument put up by some that vergne should somehow have got the seat are a perfect example. the team would know exact details of every lap that ricci has driven and on top of that they would be privy to a mountain of data as to how he operates.

    one of the telling indicators as to a drivers potential is, to me, the activities undertaken by the other teams. if a driver is hot and has that’streak of potential greatness’in him then he is on the market. i know of no other teams that broke the sound barrier getting to algi’s front door with enticing offers?

    there will always be some controversy surrounding the choice of drivers by various teams and more so today with the proliferation of ‘pay drivers’. i just happen to think that ricci has all the ingredients to be a major success. if not then so be it. he will have given it his best shot and that of itself is all one can really ask.

    vergne should zip it now and get on with doing his best. his comments do nothing to advance his future in F1.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      What comments, I don’t think Vergne’s spoken on the matter at all.

      1. Glennb says:

        He did say a few things maybe 1 or 2 weeks back. He claimed that he blew Dan away on track etc. Words to that effect anyway.

  10. sw280 says:

    This is surely a failure of the red bull young driver program, they fail promising talents and effectively ruin their careers. I heard the other day it has cost red bull $200m since its inception. That is hardly a decent return, for half that money they could have paid Fernando Alonso for 5 years and still have won the WDCs and WCCs.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      Thats a rather simplistic view, how many of those drivers would have dropped off the ladder at the first rung without Red Bull? Take Antonio Felix da Costa who will almost certainly be Vergne’s team mate next year, he would have stopped racing altogether two years ago if Red Bull hadn’t picked him up.

    2. Glennb says:

      I don’t see the failure personally. Two vacancies in the RBR team have come up since ~2008 and both seats went to drivers from the Toro Rosso (program) team. Vettel & now Ricciardo. Where is the failure there? If you are referring to Jaime and Buemi’s tenures, nothing came up in that time for them. Just timing as James says. I can’t imagine how many young guys out there wouldn’t give their left nut to get a drive at STR, promotional opportunities or not.

  11. Scuderia McLaren says:

    Yeah what happen to Jaime was pretty rough. Marko could at least get him a drive in Indy Car with Red Bull sponsorship.

    James, what is Jaime doing now racing wise? Surely his quality could find something despite Marko destroying his F1 career.

    WRC? WEC? Indy?

    1. James Allen says:

      Don’t know. I think he still does tyre development work for Pirelli

      1. Random 79 says:

        Good to see him keeping busy, but I can’t help but think it’s a waste of talent.

    2. JCA says:

      There was a story a week or so ago that he could get an Indy drive next year. I think him thumbing his nose at DTM and the smaller F1 teams wasn’t smart.

  12. Sebee says:

    Did lack of sponsorship, Spanish economy at the time, marketability, ability for Spanish fans to support someone beside Alonso all play a role as well?

    It’s a marketing sport, and the balance has shifted toward driver marketability and sponsor package more than simple ability. Sucks, but so it is.

    The story also shows that loyalty was not rewarded and that Algascuari should have looked out for #1. Easy to say in retrospect about the Lotus door he could have walked through, but door was there to be walked through and he should have.

    1. Glennb says:

      I don’t see where Jaime was hard done by Sebee. The TR team obviously have a turnaround policy and expect drivers to achieve certain expectations within that time. If a seat in the big team is / was vacant they (he) would have been given serious consideration. As it turns out there wasn’t. Out with the old, in with the new. Dan’s fortunate that Mark called time when he did is all. Nothing against Jaime, just timing.

      1. Sebee says:

        Yes, TR did support him and got him into F1. He was loyal, as you would expect and that perhaps was the problem when he was dropped late. No Plan B.

        I guess like we’ve read here a few times – that Paddock is a competitive place. Perhaps Jaime didn’t read the signs correctly.

  13. Bru72 says:

    It’s part of life.
    Alguersari needs to try his best all the time to try and get back in to F1 so he is available next time a good seat comes up.

  14. Harshad says:

    There are more examples like this!
    A certain driver called Kartikeyan had beaten Ricciardo by 31.5 seconds in the only race they raced together in the same machinery (India 2011).
    But Kartikeyan is no longer a part of F1 and Ricciardo is heading to a top team.

    Luck is important(and so are the sponsors) and some people are just born lucky!

    1. Garryt says:

      You can’t be serious ?

      1. Random 79 says:

        I think he is being serious.

      2. Harshad says:

        ?
        I’m not disapproving Ricciardo’s talent; I’m just giving another example to support the point in the thread. Ricciardo was Test driver for TR in 2011, but midway through the season RBR decided to back him and hence payed HRT to give Ricciardo a racing seat. So Karthikeyan or Liuzzi had to make way, Liuzzi brings in more sponsors and hence karthikeyan made way.

        Ricciardo got better of Liuzzi, however, Karthikeyan got better of Ricciardo (in only one race). I’m not saying Karthikeyan was/is better than Ricciardo by virtue of one race, but just pointing out as to how luck & sponsors go a huge way in driver’s career i.e.

        1)Liuzzi/Karthikeyan bring in sponsors and get the seat in HRT.
        2)Out of the blue, Ricciardo comes in to HRT because he has backing of RBR Young driver program!
        3)Next year he makes way into TR(2012), and in 2014 makes his way in RBR.

        Talent yes!, but Luck—->major factor in his career so far.

        (If karthikeyan/Liuzzi had better sponsors, HRT may not have accepted Ricciardo as their driver for 2011 and who knows today we may have had Vergne/Kimi joining RBR 2014!!)

      3. Tyler says:

        Harshad, you’re talking about the 2011 Indian Grand Prix, when Ricciardo had an extra pit stop because of a problem with his right rear wheel hub? Karthikayen was being thrashed up to that point.

    2. Andrew Carter says:

      Thats got to be a joke. Karthikayen has had several bites at the cherry and though not a bad driver has never been deserving of more than he’s had.

    3. Rob Newman says:

      Karthikeyan …. isn’t he the back marker who never had side mirrors on his car and never recognised the colour blue?

      1. KRB says:

        More an example of Vettel deciding to get too close to the back of a horse, figuratively speaking. Vettel didn’t need to be anywhere near him, nor cut in so sharply after passing him. Needless.

      2. Yak says:

        I think he’s referring to more than that one incident. Being in the slowest car on the grid certainly doesn’t help, but there were two of that same car out on track (well, sometimes). Kartikeyan seemed to have a talent for getting in the way.

      3. Bartholomew says:

        Karthikeyan got wheelspin and caused that contact. That’s why he was penalized.

    4. Matthew Cheshire says:

      Man, that’s one fast cucumber.

      I do note that they were 3 laps down and NK finished one place ahead. When you say “same machinery” were both cars 100% or was one a bit worse for wear at the end?

    5. KRB says:

      For some on here that would be conclusive proof of Narain’s permanent superiority over Ricciardo!!

    6. Wade Parmino says:

      Karthekeyen had been in F1 longer than Ricciardo had been out of go karts for crying out loud! Of course he outraced him. If he hadn’t, NK would be even more of a sub standard driver than he already is. His only points were from that farcical race at Indianapolis; all he had to do was finish as there was only six cars in it.

      2011 was a half season of learning for Ricciardo; going the race distance, managing strategy, etc.

  15. Nick says:

    The analysis is certainly valid and agree with the fate element but slightly harsh to say RIC has “just” 12 points in (as compared to ALG’s 2011 season) in circumstances where there are plenty of races left this year and races in which STR is historically strong (eg Korea).

    But no doubting that Alg got shafted by marko in light of the lotus offer (was it a race seat?)

  16. Bart says:

    Maybe they thought he had hit the ceiling in terms of his racecraft. Strange, given his age…

    1. Bart says:

      Sorry, “reached”, not “hit”

      1. Random 79 says:

        Mark Webber, Valencia, 2010.

        If any driver could hit the ceiling it would be Mark ;)

      2. Bart says:

        He actually went through the roof there ;)

      3. Sebee says:

        He can also land on it. CLK-GTR days. Seriously, one of the most beautiful race cars in my view.

      4. Random 79 says:

        Heard about that, but never saw it ’til I just looked it up – that one puts Mark’s Valencia flip to shame.

        I thought these cars were supposed to generate downforce, not liftoff.

      5. Sebee says:

        It did. I think apparently too much at the rear at high speed, which made the front lift and result in the miracle of man in flight.

      6. Random 79 says:

        “The miracle of man in flight”

        If they ever make a Webber doco, that should be the title :)

  17. Stuart Harrison says:

    I guess one could make a similar comparison with Vettel and Coulthard’s decision to retire. If Coulthard had stayed on for another year or so, maybe Alguersuari would be the one with 2-3 titles under his belt…

    I wish Daniel luck, but I feel we’ve all been robbed of the opportunity to compare Vettel with a known quantity in identical machinery. You can’t deny a Vettel-Raikkonen pairing would have made for an electrifying season.

    1. JCA says:

      I don’t think DC would have kept his ride in any case. He looked passed it, and Vettel had just won a race and had already been pursued by Mclaren the year before, so maybe more of a case of jumping before being pushed.

      http://www.planet-f1.com/news/3213/6384284/-McLaren-wanted-and-still-want-Vettel-

    2. SteveS says:

      People keep saying this, but what exactly makes Raikkonen a “known quantity” and Vettel, presumably, an “unknown” one?

      1. Stuart Harrison says:

        Forgive me if I don’t take the bait on that one.

    3. Bartholomew says:

      As JCA implied, Vettel was simply better than DC. Webber outscored him 21-8 in 2008, Vettel scored 35 points for Toro Rosso and was the youngest ever racewinner. They would have pushed a driver out for Vettel anyway. As for Alguersuari, his lack of qualifying pace compared to Webber, Vettel or even Ricciardo and Buemi would have seen Mark Webber beat him, making it impossible for JA to win the title.

  18. Anil Parmar says:

    Hi James. When we spoke at Spa last year you seemed confident that Jaime would be back on he grid for 2013, and so did he at the time, however you couldn’t mention which team this was going to be for.

    Any chance of shedding some light on what happened to his comeback? Was it lotus again that wanted his services?

    1. James Allen says:

      No, I think it was either Caterham or Force India

  19. Elie says:

    James thanks for a terrific post and I might add very timely. It is quite often lost upon many fans “the nature of the beast” that is formula one and the circumstances that befall All drivers and in this case drivers in a mid field team.

    I personally could not agree with you more on Alguessuari and have many times stated this during Red Bulls current deliberations on driver line up. As an Australian Im really pleased for Daniel and hope he takes it to Sebastian next year. Do you still keep in contact with Jaime?

    It is this great perspective that keeps me hooked on this site and the ability of several posters here to see beyond the regular news headlines.

  20. John Gibson says:

    One wonders what the implications of this will be for Jean-Eric Vergne, then. After all, there will be no Red Bull vacancies for some years now and he’s approaching the end of his second year with the team with da Costa and Sainz Jr knocking on the F1 door. STR has never kept a driver for more than 3 seasons and that will be the position Vergne is in come the end of 2014.

    Does this mean that the longevity/brevity of STR drivers’ overall F1 careers is essentially determined by whether or not one of the RBR drivers moves on?

    1. Random 79 says:

      I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again:

      If I was JEV I’d seriously be looking for another seat pronto, otherwise we’re looking at the next Algersuari.

    2. AuraF1 says:

      The Red Bull young drivers programme is like The Running Man – a huge prize on offer but virtually zero chance of survival. You get put into a decent mid-field car but your entire career is then dependent on the current (very young) multiple world champion either quitting for Ferrari, or, (up until this year), the still semi-successful late 30s driver deciding if he was going off to enjoy sportscar racing or not.

      Now with two mid-20s drivers in the ‘senior’ team, with no realistic prospect of either retiring for maybe another decade, what have the young drivers got to hope for? Unless Vettel leaves for Italy (which would seem to depend as much on Alonso’s career plans in the endless domino game) they get a limited shot in the average STR and then that’s it, off you go, career life expectancy curtailed.

    3. SteveS says:

      TR drivers are not locked into working for Red Bull. If JEV, or any other TR driver, displays enough ability then he will draw the attention of bigger teams. This is no different to the way things work at Williams, Caterham, or Force India.

  21. Peter says:

    That is the situation in many sports, motor racing is just very complex and changing all the time with other categories coming up or going. There are another important factors that sportsmen peak in different phases in their career etc. I think we are lucky to see that in the cases of Raikkonen, Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel raw talent found the way to the very top, I fear however that in this respect F1 is not in the best shape right now, also I can`t see today the mega talent like those guys are. There are 10 very good, promising drivers, but If you look at the careers of those four, they all have some unusual points in their career which show the exeptional talent. Raikkonen being competitive out of the box in F1 after 23 car races, Hamilton going for the WCH in his first year, Vettel winning with Toro Rosso, Alonso beating Schumacher etc. It would be great to see the next talent like that. Is there anyone in the lower categories like that?

    1. John Gibson says:

      Given the absence of F1 testing opportunities for younger drivers (even after they are signed to F1 teams), I wouldn’t have thought it possible for anyone to replicate Hamilton’s first season, even if they were drafted straight into this year’s Red Bull.

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Very true. With the current financial situation I think we’re likely to see a crop of drivers sticking around into their late 30s/maybe even 40s touting their experience even if they do start to slow slightly. At the other end we’ll have very young drivers with rich backers.

        Vettel may be amongst the last of the ‘very young’ champions. I can only really see more and more late bloomers like Jenson showing up, who show more talent after 30 than they did before.

      2. Glennb says:

        Hamiltons first season? I’m definately not president of his fan club but I doubt there’s been a better first season ever. I dont follow the other categories and had never heard of him. I was astounded that this ‘unknown’ was being given a top shelf drive straight out of the blocks. They subsequently showed several interviews with him in Australia and it was immediately apparent that this kid was very likeable and very, very humble. I liked that. His performances over the following 2 seasons are now legendary. It helped that he went straight into a top team but he did the doing and proved his worth…. with change to spare.
        I need a new driver to support in 2014 and would love to support him but his fans are too hardcore for me ;)

      3. KRB says:

        Definitely helped having a great car that year, no doubt the best car he’s had to date. He scored 9 straight podiums out of the gate. He hasn’t come close to repeating that (4 on the trot once, a couple of 3′s). Does anyone really think that he was a more consistent driver then, than he is now? Of course not … it’s just that when you’re in the fastest car – and I believe the 2007 McLaren was equal fastest with Ferrari that year – it’s that much easier to bring home big points consistently.

        It’s why Alonso had big podium runs in 2005-06, and Vettel in 2011-12.

        As for letting hardcore fans affect who you like or don’t like, seems silly to me. There’s as many silly hardcore Vettel fans, Alonso fans, etc. on these boards.

  22. John says:

    I wonder whether he had someone to advise him that he should not abandon negotiations with Lotus before he signs for TR. Perhaps after very strong season he felt very confident that he will keep the TR seat. Would be very interesting to know his thinking at that time.

  23. Rory Muller says:

    So who replaces Ricciardo? Second chance for Alguersuari? Buemi?

    1. Glennb says:

      Doubt it. Think more along the lines of rookies mate.

    2. Rich B says:

      It’s between Felipe Nasr and António Félix da Costa apparently

  24. Matt says:

    I take your point on timing James although you often state what a loss Alguersuari is to F1.

    I understand he’s your friend and probably a great guy but if he was that big a deal surly he’d be driving for another team? Just because RedBull didn’t have an opening until now doesn’t mean they would get rid of him unless they felt they had just as good or better drivers coming through. There are loads of drivers who are good enough to be in F1 but not good enough to demand a seat.

    That’s life.

    1. Kirk says:

      Agree in general terms, but also, F1 currently has some pay drivers that affects the drivers markets, I’m not saying those guys are bad and don’t deserve to be in F1, but is different to see just talent than talent+money which is what we have today and don’t let us judge the F1 drivers market as if was as pure as you try to put it here.

  25. goferet says:

    And that’s why they say life isn’t fair for it sure didn’t smile on Jamie and not only that, life was particularly cruel to him because the wool was pulled over his eyes when he was promised the drive only to get a blade in the back.

    However, life is very complex with all kinds of under the table deals going in dark alleys so who is to say countryman Webber didn’t play a role in Ricciardo’s appointment.

    I have no evidence to back my theory but supposing Webber had the younger gunner at the academy in the back of his mind all along and decided to act as a seat warmer in 2012 whilst Ricciardo came up to speed in the Torro Rosso.

    Yes, it was very confusing as to why Webber would renew his contract for one more season after a difficult 2011 season >>> maybe he knew Ricciardo was fast and with Vettel slated to move on at sometime, Ricciardo would ultimately end up as the number 1 driver at the team = #winwin for Oz i.e. The country would still have a representative and better still in a top team = The Australian Grand Prix would be safe on the calendar.

    It’s true, Webber may have left the door ajar but Ricciardo still had to walk through it by doing the business at Torro Rosso especially in qualifying.

    As for Jamie, from what I recall, he didn’t have great qualifying pace in the dry and most of his good results were a byproduct of getting knocked out in Q2 which left him with an abundance of new tyres which he put to good use during the race.

    P.s.

    The Kimi talk to Red Bull was simply that ~ ”talk” ~ cooked up by the Kimi camp to make Lotus nervous and thus up their offer.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Finally a conspiracy theory that makes sense!

      1. Sebee says:

        Hey! All my theories make perfect sense! :-)

    2. Glennb says:

      Yes. I recall reading on the ‘net somewhere ;) that Mark fronted Marko and said that he would leave only if Dan was given his seat. Marko signed up on the spot apparently.

  26. Jay Jacob says:

    Kudos James ! Another interesting POV.

    Does anyone know what Alguersuari is doing now?

  27. Fellowes says:

    Why does it have to be the end for Alguersuari? He is still young, but with a decent amount of experience. Why aren’t any of the other low-midfield teams looking at him – is it more a case of lack of money rather than lack of talent/potential?

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Even the data-driven men and women of F1 are human and have a failing for hype, momentum and the lure of big cash backers.

      McLaren hiring Perez is a clear case. Even if the eventual goal was getting his financial backing it wasn’t going to hit straight away and his tyre-friendly performances in the Sauber just made him the ‘flavour of the month’. He seems to be getting better, and the experience of struggling in a big team should round out his character a bit, but does anyone honestly think Perez was the best short term replacement for Hamilton?

  28. Spyros says:

    I suppose that RB deserve to be given some credit for having such a driver development programme to begin with.

    But given the current state of F1, with pay-drivers being the only option for such a percentage of the grid, it is truly sad to see that in the few cases where someone can emerge to the top on merit, it is still possible for talented people lose their chance like this.

  29. Justin bed says:

    I have been told that the Webber / Porsche link goes back to the beginning of 2012. Surprise he didn’t leave end of 2012 as his height makes him one of the heavier drivers. Has been heard to say post F1 he was looking forward to eating.

    I now surmise that he waited for Daniel to develop into the seat that he was eventually to vacate.? Worthy guess as to Webber’s timing?

    1. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

      I think Mark felt he had unfinished business in F1. In my opinion this is what led him to sign for another year. Vettel’s Malaysian move was a calculated psychological blow in order to avoid any potential challenge for the season.

      However, if he ever had the idea of staying for more that one more year (ie next year as well), I think looking back he is probably regretting not signing with Ferrari.

    2. Ben says:

      After a few of the comments above referring to the 2010 Turkey crash I went on youtube to watch it and there was an interview with Webber where he said that if he felt like he wasn’t getting a fair treatment in the team he would leave. So I think the multi 21 fiasco may have been a bigger moment in his decision than keeping the seat warm for Ricciardo

    3. All revved-up says:

      Webber’s Porsche link – how he gives a sheila the ride of her life.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jc_34-Io-M&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  30. dufus says:

    Love your articles usually James but dont see the relevance in this one. Timing ?
    Everything in life is about time and thats something none of us have control over.

    1. Anil Parmar says:

      His point is that, like you say, timing is something that none of us control and for Jaime things didn’t fall into place but they did for Daniel, despite Jaime beimg equally/more impressive.

      It makes you wonder how many potential WDC or contenders have fallen through the cracks.

      1. Mbrazel says:

        In your opinion

  31. Luciano says:

    Full disclosure: You are a good friend of Alguersuari… right? Granted, Marko screwed Jaime. But I think Ricciardo has earned this fair and square.

    1. James Allen says:

      No I’m not a good friend of Alguersuari. I worked with him in 2012 on BBC Radio, but that’s it.

      I also believe Ricciardo deserves this opportunity, but I’m just pointing out how timing is everything

      1. Sarvar says:

        James,
        Yes, timing is everything but also you make your own luck.
        Last year many of us (fans) noticed Alguersuari seemed to be a kind of boaster (like his “I have a little notebook at home with Pirelli test secrets”, etc). Moreover he was telling he likes recording music, etc. But you have to have dedication and commitment to one goal to reach it instead of being today here and tomorrow elsewhere.
        I think this is an obvious difference between RIC and ALG, isn’t it?

    2. AuraF1 says:

      I think James was writing more of a wistful ode to the fates that govern chance – than a direct sporting story. There’s already a post up about Ricciardo. This is more about the fact that we’ve probably lost a few potential greats due to bad timing in their careers.

      I don’t know if Jaime was one of those ‘potential greats’ but I like that James posts these more ‘philosophical’ pieces now and then. It doesn’t always have to be technical analysis.

  32. djohnson says:

    Tragic that Jamie was offered a drive with Lotus but he turned it down. He would have done a much better job than Grosjean – who in 2012 was involved in no less than 8 racing incidents.

  33. ozherb says:

    Very true James about the timing of it.

    Interesting to read about the verbal assurance from Helmut to Alguersuari in Nov 2011, only for him to be dumped weeks later. This either means Helmut cannot be trusted, or no longer had any (valued) input in the decisions. Odd considering his Red Bull role of identifying the Young Driver future stars.

    I think you could remove Helmut from RBR, and their racing program and F1 team would run as well, if not better, than it currently does.

    Good luck to Dan. I wish him all the best. Every F1 driver would want that seat!

  34. UncleZen says:

    Its a shame about Alegsuari. I hope he gets a seat back in F1 one day. Never say never.

    As for RB wanting RIC over JEV I cant see the logic, other than:

    1) JEV would be a threat to the golden boy, so lets have RIC and show that their young driver programme is working
    2) JEV may replace the golden boy when he moves on.

    1. TJ says:

      Im not so sure I see your logic. JEV’s qualifying is significantly worse than Ricciardo’s, Only have to look at silverstone, hungry and germany to see how RIC takes an inferior car and puts it in amongst the top teams. Was almost 1 sec faster than JEV in Germany and Britain and 10 places higher on the grid. As for the races Ricciardo has finished in the points 10 times JEV 6 in the last 2 seasons. Sure JEV has more points (3 over the two season so far) but when you’re scrapping for small points at the bottom of the 10 finishing in the points on more occasions seems more important to me.

    2. Glennb says:

      The selection criteria between RIC & JEV was not just down to who qualified better or who had the most points. There were many points to be considered between the two. It’s not always just about speed.

      1. James Allen says:

        Speed is the first consideration

      2. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        James’s point is the key.

        Both J-E and Ric might be underperforming given their relative inexperience. However, the true test for RB was putting Ric in the RB car and seeing how he went. They could then guage that against Mark’s and Seb’s times. The interesting question would have been if they had put J-E in the car as well….

      3. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        Effectively Ric beat J-E not on the track, but in the team HQ by getting the opportunity to drive in the test.

      4. Rob Newman says:

        Consistency I would have thought.

    3. UncleZen says:

      Its the points that count and the facts speak for themslves last year, and so far this year, albeit closer.

      1. Bartholomew says:

        Not always. Would you say that Button for instance, was better than Hamilton over 2010-12 because he scored 14 points more over that time?

    4. Robb says:

      I think it’s clear that Red Bull’s philosophy is to place a high priority on raw speed.

      While I’m sure they can appreciate a driver’s ability to work his way through the midfield from a poor start position, they apparently would prefer a driver not need to.

  35. AlexD says:

    Actually….I just had a thought:-)
    I am looking forward to see how Helmut will be dropped from Red Bull and what is the story that they will put in place to explain his desire to “pursue other career interests”. You never know…but what an irony would it be:-)

    1. Elie says:

      What story??- he’s 70 -well past retirement age- I would think he doesn’t need one

    2. JTodt says:

      Dietrich Mateschitz is the head of Red Bull.

      Helmut Marko is Dietrich’s right hand man when it comes to F1 motorsport.

      Doesn’t that tell you who is really calling the shots are Racing Bull Racing?

      Hint: It isn’t Horner.

      1. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        Before people have a go at Dr Helmut, people should consider his background, experience and achievements. He has personally accomplished a lot more than other participants in F1 management! We might not agree with his comments or decisions, but he does deserve respect.

  36. clive says:

    Since we are talking about timing, this clip marks a very important time in Jamie’s career. Perhaps it was at this very moment when Dr Marko made up his mind about Jamie’s future at RBR.

    It emphasises Dr Marko’s philosophy on the 2nd RBR seat. Anyone who get’s in the way of Sebastian Vettel will not last long.

      1. All revved-up says:

        Thank you very much for this insightful information! Which incident triggered this difference in view?

  37. Liam says:

    I really liked Alguersuari and I think what Marko done to him was disgusting! He was showing so much promise and he was turning into a proven racer with great race craft. I thought these were signs he could have been a future race winner.

    I hope someone gives him the opportunity to return!

  38. madmax says:

    2011 at TR Buemi out-qualified Jamie 13-6 and in races Jamie was ahead 6-5 in races both finished.

    Buemi’s two highest qualifying positions were a 6 and 7, Jamie’s were two 9s.

    Buemi’s two highest races were two 7s, Jamie’s were two 8s.

    Contrast against Riccardo who has shown some massive gaps in qualifying this year against Vergne. I think Riccardo is under-rated alongside Bottas especially against over rated drivers like Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Perez and Di Resta.

    To sum up, I find it exceptionally hard to believe timing was all that was wrong here.

    1. Rob Newman says:

      I thought goferet is the only one who always comes with statistics …

  39. Rob Newman says:

    I thought goferet is the only one who always comes with statistics …

    1. Rob Newman says:

      (this was a response to madmax)

  40. reader_333 says:

    I have a source that says that Renault never made an offer to JA. He offered himself at a stage he was not confident TR will keep him. Then it cooled down when he thought RB will keep him. Comparison with Grosjean isn’t right. When RG was sacked he went to win in AutoGP, GP2 and even FIA GT races. JA stayed at home waiting for F-1 teams to call him, and believing -naively- promises of a drive from teams that talk to 20 drivers a year.

  41. Rich B says:

    I think red bull expected JEV to be an instant superstar so they put him in Jaime’s seat, obviously it turned out to be the wrong decision.

    1. Me says:

      Really the chap who is currently in front of Ricciardo in the table and who beat him last year?

      1. James Allen says:

        We’ve asked you before – please use a real email address. Your posts are not passing moderation as you continue to use this one.

        We do not accept posts from made up email addresses. We test them randomly to check.

        This one has been allowed through in order to communicate this message to you – Mod

      2. Rich B says:

        JEV scored more points and they choose Danny, it’s their performance that counts.
        I do think JEV’s got great potential but I think it would’ve served Toro Roso better if they kept Jaime for another year and run JEV in Friday practice.

  42. Irish con says:

    I happen to think JEV has much more potential than Daniel. I like Daniel but I think the only thing that he has better than JEV at the minute is experience and in 2 years time JEV will be a better more outstanding driver. Still can’t believe they didn’t take kimi tho. Kissing good bye to a constructors championship next year in my opinion.

  43. ShaBooPi says:

    This is hilarious and predictable. Red Bull are a one man team…Vettels. Now they have a suitable pawn in the second seat who will register a few points along the way but never really challenge. I think this means Hulkenberg is definitely joining Ferrari. Oh well, so much for competition in the Red Bulls… the only competition we’ll see is if the red Bull isn’t miles faster than every other car.

    1. SteveS says:

      “.. so much for competition in the Red Bulls”

      I don’t see any competition in the other teams. For some reason that seems not to bother the people who are irate about the lack of competition at Red Bull.

      1. KRB says:

        No competition at Mercedes? Lotus? McLaren?

        So I guess it was all to plan that Rosberg would gain 2 wins and 3 poles, but thereafter everything must go Hamilton’s way?!?! This is just plain STUPID.

        Merc are in a 3-way fight for 2nd in the WCC … they need every point they can get. If you’re complaining that the cars don’t race each other near the end of races, then I’m sorry, that’s just smart team management. The boys can race ’til the end when 2nd is sewn up in the WCC.

      2. ShaBooPi says:

        You don’t see any competition…? Rosberg and Hamilton had duels, so did Button and Perez, Di resta and Sutil, Raikkonen and Grosjean. Maybe you aren’t seeing clearly. Vettel has the fastest car and therefore should win the WDC, but fans still want to see a contest. The other teams are just fodder right now so competition with them is less important but still existent. Webber has clearly in past shown his discontent at treatment so this new teammate was a chance to break the mould. Keep clutching at straws though with your brilliant theory.

      3. Bartholomew says:

        Mercedes and Mclaren, yes, Ferrari and Lotus, no.

  44. jmv says:

    This is what killed Jaime’ s career.. Marko’ s unconditional love for Seb:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXDI2HNLqoo

    Jaime did have opportunities elsewhere plus he got assurances to stay at TR.

    Very sad.

    1. KRB says:

      The dangers of the FIA allowing sister teams in F1.

  45. Tyler says:

    Despite all the comments this article stirred up…your point is well taken James, timing is everything in F1 both literally and figuratively.

  46. shri says:

    Jamie – It seems you are not that fully convinced that Daniel is significantly better than the past Torro Rosso drivers or maybe other drivers in the market.

    And yes we all can agree right place right time situation was very critical.

    Of the current drivers on the grid, I feel Nico Hulkenberg certainly has NOT been at the right place at right time.

  47. Random 79 says:

    This just in:

    Toro Rosso in no rush to appoint Ricciardo replacement

    http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2013/9/14928.html

    Tomorrows headline:

    Raikkonen’s manager seen talking to Franz Tost

  48. João Ornelas says:

    There are 2 good things coming out of Ricciardo’s new seat at RBR:

    - British commentators will finally learn how to pronounce his family name…

    - … and AFCosta will be at Toro Rosso!

    1. Random 79 says:

      Rik-e-ar-do, Rich-e-ar-do, or Rik-kar-do?

      Because the latter is how Dan prefers it to be pronounced, and considering it’s his name his say should be the final say.

      If you’re not happy with that should we tell you how to pronounce your name?

      Why are people hung up on this? Let it go.

    2. KRB says:

      It’s Ricciardo himself who wants to go by Rih-car-do instead of Rih-key-ar-do.

  49. João Ornelas says:

    Closer to the discussion:

    - Jaimito missed his chance to obliterate competition, as did JEV this year. Now it will be AFC’s turn to do it next year, or else…

  50. Mikeboy0001 says:

    I often visit this Web Page, so I obviously find James Allen’s articles and points of view interesting
    In Alguersuari’s case, I have to say it’s not the interest that moves me in sharing a thought, but the exact same feeling for a wasting a talent that was never properly revealed
    I remember Jaime’s first races in F1 well, as he was only 19, and at the time I wondered what a hell was a teenage boy doing in a F1 car? Was he a new Hamilton to get an F1 drive so soon? Well, no he was not
    He was a rookie, and he showed that several times in his first few races. In 2009 he was placed in a difficult F1 car with no preparation and only 8 races left in the season, so he didn’t show much speed, consistency or even awareness of other cars. But he was just 19!!
    In 2010. his first full season at Toro Rosso, he was OK, maybe never more than an average driver, but showed good signs over the year
    But I believe in 2011 we he showed enormous progress race after race, and although maybe not a prime qualifier, he was turning out to be a prime racer, with great, consistant and intelligent driving
    I could never understand how Red Bull dropped him, because the potential was there to reward the investment, and they didn’t took it. It was like having all the trouble in making a cake, pouring and mixing the ingredients, and when it was just finishing growing in the oven, they opened it before it’s time, ruined it and throw it away
    Maybe Riccardo is a stronger qualifier than Jaime, but I really doubt he’s a stronger racer
    You see, Alonso and Räikkönen are good but not superb qualifiers, but they are both superb racers. And qualifying can be greatly improved with good training, whereas race craft is much more driver dependent
    Alguersuari wasn’t a Hamilton, Vettel or Alonso, but I believe deserved to be in F1, as he had the potential to be at least as good as Button!!!
    I hope some day he get’s the chance to prove me right.

  51. JohnBt says:

    Daniel is a nice chap I have to say. Let’s wait for the points tally of him and JEV when the season finishes. That’ll will be interesting. It’s the points that count most.

  52. howardm says:

    James, I wonder if DR getting the nod at RBR is something of a marketing ploy as well as a deserved drive as well as timing. I would like your marketing guru to think on this though. We Australians do drink a lot of Red Bull, sales run the various things that Red bull have on the go. I am glad that Dr has MW place at RBR and wish him well BUT!!

  53. John Humrich says:

    James, any chance we may see Ricciardo in the RBR proir to seasons end. Porsche are currenty testing their car without Mark due to his F1 contract, any chance they may come to an agreement and release Mark to give Ricciardo a run in the RBR if all parties agree?

  54. R Haynes (Rajah) says:

    I for one, and I would bet there are more like me, hope Daniel Riccardo proves all the naysayers wrong, and is competitive in the Red Bull. Doesn’t it occur to all the armchair experts that maybe,just maybe,the boffins at Red Bull are not a bunch of fools? Perhaps there is a small possibility they have knowledge that we, the unwashed are not privy to? Go for it Danno, and thanks for everything and best wishes to Mark Webber.

  55. AlexK says:

    its a shame Alguersuari has disappeared of the map a little. If he was putting in good performances in another series somewhere a chance could pop-up in f1. I know he thought he had a seat for 2013 in F1 but it fell through. Hopefully we will see him in Indycar, DTM or sports cars next year. He is still young and could make a return.

  56. TS says:

    Toro Rosso should have hired Takuma Sato in 2009

  57. Ian N says:

    Excellent article James. I suppose it’s the nature of F1 that with only 22 seats available, timing and an element of luck unfortunately play a part. Do you think Jaime Alguersuari has a chance of making his way back a la Grosjean?

  58. iceman says:

    James, just to clarify, did Jaime have an offer from the team that was Lotus in 2011 or the team that was Lotus in 2012?

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