Posts Tagged ‘bourdais’

Jaime Alguersuari to be the youngest ever F1 driver

July 20th, 2009 No comments

Jaime AlguersuariThe worst kept secret in Formula One is now official.  Jaime Alguersuari will replace Sebastien Bourdais at Toro Rosso from the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend.

The Spaniard has been competing in World Series by Renault and is the reigning British F3 Champion.  He will also be 19 years, 4 months and 3 days old on Sunday 26 July.

This will make him the youngest ever driver to compete in the Formula One World Championship, beating the previous record held by New Zealander Mike Thackwell of 19 years, 5 months and 1 day although this record is debatable.

Thackwell did line up on the grid at the 1980 Dutch Grand Prix but he was involved in an accident on the first lap which caused the race to be restarted.  According to the regulations, if a race is stopped on the first lap, that lap is annulled and the race is started again.  As Thackwell’s car didn’t make it to the grid for the restart, technically his first race was not until four years later.

This means the record was really held by Ricardo Rodríguez, the brother of Mexico’s only Grand Prix Winner Pedro Rodríguez, who was 19 years, 6 months and 27 days when he started the 1961 Italian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel remains the youngest Formula One driver to appear at a race weekend, though.  In August 2006 he was BMW’s Friday driver at the Turkish Grand Prix when he was just 19 years, 1 month and 22 days old.

It is going to be hard for Alguersuari to make his debut half way through the season when he has never driven the car before and will have zero testing time but he seems to know what he is getting himself in for:

I am aware that I’m facing a very tough challenge, because coming into Formula One is never easy, coming into Formula One in the middle of a season is even harder and doing so without any testing is really difficult. But already I feel that I am getting great support from the team, who have quite a reputation for looking after rookie drivers.

Team boss Franz Tost seems to have limited expectations anyway:

I do not expect anything from him for at least his first three races, during which he has to get used to the car, the team and to the Formula One environment.

It seems a strange choice to me to drop (an admittedly struggling) Sebastien Bourdais for a rookie halfway through the season.

Toro Rosso will be bringing their new double diffuser to the Hungaroring this weekend.  It will be interesting to see what the two young drivers can do with it.

Image: Getty

Categories: Drivers Tags: , ,

Toro Rosso confirm Bourdais

February 6th, 2009 No comments

Sebastien BourdaisFrenchman Sebastien Bourdais will return for a second season at Toro Rosso this year.  This means that, barring Honda’s return, all F1 seats are filled for 2009.  It also means that for a second year in a row both Toro Rosso drivers will be called Sebastien.

While team-mate Sebastien Buemi was confirmed at STR last month, both Bourdais and former Super Aguri driver Takuma Sato were competing for the second seat.

Despite Sato performing well in testing, it seems money was the deciding factor in choosing to go with Bourdais.  With two teams to run, Red Bull needed a driver who could bring in the lucre.  Sato’s manager Andrew Gilbert-Scott:

Taku had showed tremendous speed and commitment during the three tests he did for the team and I believe he proved to be the faster driver. Unfortunately however the team made no secret about the fact that they would need the drive to bring a substantial amount of funding to the team to secure the drive. We have all been working very hard and have been able to attract a significant amount of sponsorship to support the team but unfortunately it was obviously not enough to secure the drive.

Scuderia Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost said:

We are pleased that Sebastien will be with us again for another season. After one year with Toro Rosso, we expect him to profit from the experience he gained last season. He now knows the F1 environment, the race tracks and the team. In addition, the slick tyres, which make a comeback this year, should suit his driving style very well. Therefore he will tackle the coming season with much more experience under his belt. This will be especially valuable given that our other driver, Sebastien Buemi, is an F1 rookie, who has come up through the ranks of the Red Bull Junior Driver programme.

So Taku joins the ranks of talented drivers without a seat in Formula One this year.  Speaking on Friday, Sato said he still feels he has “unfinished business in F1”.

If the Team Formerly Known as Honda manage to find a buyer could Sato find a job there?  They will obviously want to retain Jenson Button but is Rubens Barichello’s seat so secure?  Sato has a history with Honda and as I’ve said before, I’d like to see him on the grid this year.

Categories: Drivers Tags: , ,