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Massa says Alguersuari debut is ‘wrong’
Massa says Alguersuari debut is ‘wrong’
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Jul 2009   |  8:34 pm GMT  |  73 comments

Felipe Massa is one of a number of drivers to react with concern to the debut of 19 year old Jaime Alguersuari in the Toro Rosso. Alguersuari has done very little mileage in an F1 car, and what he has done was in a straight line, but he qualifies for a superlicence because he won last season’s British F3 championship.

“For me he’s too young,” said Massa. “He’s never driven a Formula 1 car, or he has driven it in a straight line, or whatever. For me it’s wrong. It’s not good for him. He can burn himself very quickly.”

Massa started at the age of 20 with Sauber, but had enjoyed a whole winter of testing before his first race. He had a troubled first year and was dropped by Sauber, so went to Ferrari as a test driver. He has never really shaken off the tag of ‘wild child’ he picked up in that incident filled first season, despite fighting for last year’s championship.

It is a huge ask for Alguersuari, to learn simple things like the steering wheel, will take time, as Jenson Button pointed out,

“It’s not just about driving quick, there’s a lot more to it and I’m sure that he doesn’t understand all the electronics on an F1 car. The steering wheel to start with is very complicated and to get the pitstops sorted in two days is going to be very difficult. There’s a lot to learn and a lot to take in. Not having driven an F1 car around a circuit, I’m surprised he’s been allowed to race this weekend. I say good luck to him – it’s a risk he’s willing to take and for his sake I hope he does a good job.”

I have heard both Button and Massa say in the past that on reflection they came in too young, but both survived and had long careers.

We will all be watching to see how early or, late, he brakes for turn one on his first flying lap tomorrow. I shall be paying close attention to that first flying lap. It will tell us a lot. I expect him to do a lot of laps on Friday.

Alguersuari’s fellow Spaniard Fernando Alonso was more positive than Massa or Button, saying that the 19 year old is a talent and should not worry about his age or experience, “I’m in favour of  beginning as young as possible, ” said the man who once held the record as youngest pole sitter, winner and world champion, before even younger men came along. Such is the march of the youth cult in F1.

How close will Alguersuari get to Buemi’s Q1 time? Send me your answers and we’ll see who’s closest on Saturday afternoon.

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If the talent and raw speed is there, then age and inexperience will soon get ironed out. I remember in 2001 some questioned Peter Sauber for signing Kimi Raikkonen, who had yet been

issued with a superlicense from the FIA.

Not only was Raikkonen ready ofcourse, but he would go on to replace two multiple world champions in Hakkinen and Schumacher, and would himself become champion in 2007.

I can understand some of the drivers points of view. I would be concerned going toe to toe at 200mph with a driver with that low amount of track time, but at the end of the day, with the 2009 rules on testing as they are, how else is this guy supposed to learn?

Playing on Nintendo or what!!


I predict that Jamie will be 0.657 off of Buemi’s pace.

Buemi’s time + 0.657


0.657 is about 4.381 (circuit length km) times 0.15 (how much slower per kilometer I believe he will be)


+0.4 seconds


1.2 seconds slower. Of course must not forget the possibilty that Jaime may not complete a flying lap.


I recall all these concerns being expressed when Kimi Raikonen showed up in F1. He had no problems as I recall. This is not the F1 of the ’60’s when a virtual amateur could show up with a used Lotus and race in a Grand Prix. This young man will have spent time in a simulator comparable to preperations for the first moon landing. I reckon +0.38 on Buemi. He will be going slower than he could to avoid doing something silly.


Well so far and it’s early days (Friday lunchtime UK) he is already only 0.3 seconds away! Go Algie! Yet another turn of events for Bernies script to go with the closing up of the championship – funny how more often than not they seem to end going down to the wire


I think he will be close to Buemi, something around 0.400 in buemi´s favour.



Why do some people call him “Jamie”. His name is Jaime (pronounced “hi-may” if you can’t say the spanish “J”)…


Two things : first is that while he’ll have done oodles of simulator time, and likely driven some older F1 machinery around real tracks, he’ll never have driven an F1 car into turn 1 with 19 other more experienced drivers around him – this, I feel, will be the true test of his worth, very much make or break.

Second is regarding engines – each driver gets 8 engines to last the season, so how does this work when you start halfway through? Does it get pro-rated down, does he have to use Bordais ‘ old engines, or what?


Yes he takes Bourdais’ allocation


lol@ people saying he would be 1+ seconds off!

F1 cars are no where near as hard to drive as some like to make out. Ok they will be tricky, but for an experienced driver like Alg it isn’t a problem!


i see on ITV that Rosberg has the choice of McLaren and BMW.. you got any inside info on this and do a story on this? Dont really think he will work well with Hamilton…


I’m hearing more BMW than McLaren. Why would he want to drive in Hamilton’s team?


Because McLaren is probably going to build the faster car again?


As a mathematician, I shall go for pi/2 seconds, which is around 1.571s.


I don’t think Massa was being horible to Alguersuari. You’ve missed out alot of what he said. Massa knows he was lucky to get a second chance in F1 after being fired by Sauber. I think Massa see’s himself in Alguersuari, being a bit too young on debut and sometimes making mistakes. I think he was just trying to calm expectations on him.


Who said anything about Massa being horrible?


No one, its just if you are going to quote someone, you must quote everying they say.

You chose quotes to fit your article, but your article is giving the wrong message. Massa is not moaning about Alguersuari age, but about his experience. Nicolas Todt managed Bourdais so Massa obviously knows that Todt is upset about him being fired.

The ‘Wild Child’ claim is about 4years out of date.


AH, and just to correct some who said he just did straight line testing, here is the video of him lapping around Portimao back in November:


What is very interesting is that Massa &co. words will in fact benefit Jaime.

As they will point out how difficult his task will be (joining F1 with less than 300km experience), if in the end he doesn’t do that bad he will look great, while he doesn’t deliver it will be considered normal and expected, as predicted by the Massa &co.

So far he is doing quite well in FP1, just 2 tenths behind Buemi. He is alredy at the pace (almost) in Sectors 1 and 3, just struggling in the 2nd one, which is the trickiest.

However by FP2, after telemetry analysis and set up work (remember that the TR guys haven’t ever yet tested which set up suits Jaime!) he will most likely sort it out.

Looking forward to Qualifying!


2 Questions:

1. Why has Brdgestone decided to change to only one step between prime & option tyres (or which team pressured them into it)?

2. With limits on testing, how are young drivers supposed to learn how to drive an F1

Alguersuari 1.9 slower in Q1

Simon of Melbourne

Whoa, 15 minutes left in opening practice and Jaime Alguersuari is within two tenths of Buemi…the boy is special

Racing not Politics

in-season testing might well be deemed necessary after this weekend. There’s no way Alguersuari can be considered properly prepared and therefore if he has a crash-free weekend I think he’s done a fine job. Next race you can start worrying about whether he’s on Buemi’s pace


He will out qualify and race SB..Jaime is a real talent


I agree, it will be a great risk, but at least I expectRed Bull has simulator, that might help to prepare him for the race, i.e. steering wheel buttons etc.


Oh by the way….I can’t see him being less than .5 away from Buemi, Bourdais wasn’t a slouch and he rarely managed much better.


I wonder why Torro Rosso haven’t let him try last years car at a track. Surely they would have the data from previous drivers to compare him to. That wouldn’t be seen as testing as it is a completely different car but at least he would be then starting from the same position as the experienced lot did in pre-season. He would get used to brakes/steering wheel.

Is there something in the rules about that?


Hello James

I have been trying to download your excellent toolbar for Internet explorer but the page is missing. I used it all the time on my old computer so really miss it.

Can you ask your webmaster to reinstate the download page please ?


I personally think hes way to young and doesnt have the experience.

A winter test is the minimum and i also think they should bring back mid season testing so other teams get the chance to fix there issues.

You would never have a Doctor, Engineer, Accountant, Lawyer or any skilled person at that age at the top of the sport or their area of expertise.


ill take 1.2 secs

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