Jaime Alguersuari set to take Bourdais’ place at Toro Rosso in Hungary

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jaime Alguersuari is expected to race at the Hungaroring next week
Jaime Alguersuari is expected to race at the Hungaroring next week

Jaime Alguersuari will join Toro Rosso for the next race at the Hungaroring, several sources are reporting this evening.

We took a look at the Red Bull Junior driver’s biography last week and he’s been on the radar for some time. But the consensus in the comments was he looks promising but might be a bit inexperienced for the drive.

As well as being the youngest driver ever to start an F1 race if he gets the nod for Hungary, Toro Rosso will have the youngest driver pairing ever in Formula 1.

Alguersuari will be 19 years and 125 days old on the Sunday of the Hungarian Grand Prix. He will be the first driver born in the 1990s to start a Grand Prix.

Although I can’t find any record of him driving an F1 car at an official session he may have done at one of the team’s straight-line tests. He has at least driven the Hungaroring this year, finishing fifth and 16th in his two World Series by Renault races.

Youngest F1 drivers

The youngest F1 driver to date was Mike Thackwell, who made his debut for Arrows in the 1980 Canadian Grand Prix aged 19 years and 182 days.

Alguersuari will become the seventh teenager to start an F1 race, joining Thackwell, Ricardo Rodriguez, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Tuero, Chris Amon and Sebastian Vettel.

Drivers as young as 19 in F1 may be nothing new but it’s striking how many of today’s driver made their F1 breaks at a young age. Here’s where some of them rank on the current ‘youngest ever’ list:

Fernando Alonso – 3rd
Sebastian Vettel – 6th
Jenson Button – 7th
Sebastien Buemi – 11th
Nico Rosberg – 13th
Rubens Barrichello – 15th
Felipe Massa – 17th
Kimi Raikkonen – 24th
Robert Kubica – 28th
Lewis Hamilton – 37th
Timo Glock – 40th

Alguersuari will join Sebastien Buemi at Toro Rosso. This will give the team the youngest driver pairing in F1 history.

Too young? Too inexperienced?

Inevitably, questions will be asked if having drivers as young as this is good for the sport and for them.

I think you have to judge them on their own merits – it clearly didn’t do Fernando Alonso or Sebastian Vettel any harm. Others perhaps should have had longer in the junior categories before stepping up.

Toro Rosso must be confident that, in Alguersuari, they have another Vettel on their hands. But looking at Alguersuari’s career to date it’s hard to see the same sparkle.

Yes, he’s the reigning British F3 champion, and plenty of those have made it into F1. But he’s not really produced the goods in World Series by Renault this year. Vettel, on the other hand, dominated Formula BMW in 2004 (18 wins from 20 starts) and won his first two races in the same series Alguersuari races in now.

Do you think it’s too early for Alguersuari to make his F1 debut? Is there much point in dropping Bourdais for an even less experienced driver when the team’s cars are stuck at the back of the grid to start with?

Or is just more proof that Toro Rosso exists merely to blood young drivers for Red Bull? Have your say below.

Read more: Jaime Alguersuari (Meet the Rookies)