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

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)

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

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  1. When on Earth did he get his super licence?

    This is a stupid, stupid move by a team that has completely no idea. Perhaps they want to use him in a practical training scheme to teach trainee mechanics how to mend busted-up cars.

    Let’s just hope no-one gets hurt when he crashes.

    • TommyB said on 13th July 2009, 21:27

      How do you know he’ll crash. Piquet crashes in every race and he did well in the lower Formulas. Don’t judge him till you see him drive.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th July 2009, 21:40

        Piquet, of course, was the last British F3 champion to graduate to F1. And the one before that was Takuma Sato. Not that there’s a pattern here…

        • TommyB said on 13th July 2009, 21:48

          Haha thats pretty funny :P

        • Achilles said on 14th July 2009, 6:50

          Rubens Barrichello, beware! in fact any driver over the age of 30 in F1 should be thinking hard, there are lots of these hungry young drivers out there looking for the opportunity……

          • Incidentally, Barrichello is also a British F3 winner, and his overtaking style does leave some to be desired as well, especially this year…

          • TommyB said on 14th July 2009, 10:10

            People saying he is too young look at

            Fernando Alonso – 3rd
            Sebastian Vettel – 6th
            Jenson Button – 7th

            He is starting in a smaller team like these guys and could learn a lot

    • frecon said on 13th July 2009, 21:44

      He got the superlicense when he won the British F3.

      Without test in F1, is really hard for young drivers have some experiene with F1 cars.

  2. Daniel said on 13th July 2009, 21:25

    Lets hope he knows what a blue flag means…don’t want him getting in the way of a championship battle or even worse take one of the Brawns/Red Bull’s out of the race….

    Though another thought, maybe they are bringing him in to help Red Bull win the championship….?

    eg – hold up cars in qualifying, hold up cars in the race, take out a few brawns…at least they’d have “he is inexperienced” as an excuse.

  3. TommyB said on 13th July 2009, 21:30

    So please with this. I’m a big Toro Rosso fan. Me and my gf went to World Series and tried to see Jaime in the hope he’d drive for Toro Rosso one day. We met him and he signed our tickets along with Brendon Hartley :)

    I was sick of Bourdais at least Toro Rosso know when to get rid of useless drivers. Renault have been keeping Piquet, Williams keeping Nakajima, Mclaren keeping Kovalinen.

    So many average f1 drivers in f1 now.

    • Kovy said on 13th July 2009, 23:58

      I feel sorry for Hartley. He picked the worst time to quit his job as Toro Rosso test driver.

      • Williams 4ever said on 14th July 2009, 2:51

        I feel sorry for Hartley. He picked the worst time to quit his job as Toro Rosso test driver.

        He didn’t quit team released him in favor of Jamie Al who is rumored to get Repsol Monies Redbull’s Toast

          • Ronman said on 14th July 2009, 7:48

            Renault have been keeping Piquet, Williams keeping Nakajima, Mclaren keeping Kovalinen.

            TommyB, It’s all about the Money, markets etc etc. well except for Kovi, Mclaren needs someone average so that he doesn’t interfere with Hami’s conquests.
            Renault are doing a big push in Brazil and they need Piquet’s name to help move metal off the showroom floor.

            Williams are stuck with Nakajima because of Toyota… you should know that.

            and in case alguesari does turn a wheel in Hungary, it’s because his dad possibly invested in the team in someway or the other. because as i see it, he cant get the drive on merit(he’s got none in F1), so money is the driving force…

          • TommyB said on 14th July 2009, 10:03

            I do know that I’m just saying it is a shame they hve to pick rubbish drivers

  4. DaveG said on 13th July 2009, 21:35

    I’m not apposed to young drivers.
    I am disappointed in Torro Rosso for wanting to cut Bourdais loose. They don’t have a quick car, and they are slow with the improvement upgrades. They’re supposed to have a major update for Hungary so I don’t see why they can’t give Bourdais an updated car and see how well he can do.
    There’s not much coverage on Red Bull, I would love to see how hard he is trying to drive that car. You can see Alonso and Hamilton pushing they’re troubled cars very hard.

    • TommyB said on 13th July 2009, 21:51

      Hmmm everyone said he would do well this year with the new rules (like slicks) because of how good he was in America. He gets beaten by a 20 year old consistently and has been at the back of the grid more often than not

    • just me said on 14th July 2009, 5:34

      Bourdais drove well in the 24hr LeMans this year. That’s the kind of car he belongs in. In F1 I was disappointed to see him outqualified by a rookie 7:2 (I believe). He had plenty of chances but did not deliver. Time for STR to move on.

      STR’s move now in mid season is optimal given the silly testing constraints which force teams now to provide ‘on-the-job-training’. How rebuilding the car 3 times per race-weekend helps to cut costs I have no clue. But rules are rules, not?

      It will be very interesting to watch STR again. No risk, no glory. Keep my fingers crossed ;-).

    • Hakka said on 14th July 2009, 15:12

      I think should Bourdais should be relieved this disaster doesn’t continue any further. He is incredibly talented and he needs to go to a series where he can play from his strengths. Going by his performance in Le Mans, I have no doubt he’ll do well for a while to come.

  5. Boston F1 Fan said on 13th July 2009, 21:43

    - Wasn’t there some other Toro Rosso/Red Bull driver who they introduced too early and then burned out? It was some years ago.

    • Enrique Bernoldi. My only positive recollection of him was when he held his composure .. and David Coulthard .. (for 40+ laps!) in Monaco.

      There was almost a repeat of the Schumi-Coulthard Spa 98 dust-up afterwards. Funny that DC did not remember when they brought the issue back up during BBC’s coverage last weekend…

  6. Sush Meerkat said on 13th July 2009, 21:46

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

    Burger has gone hasn’t he?, since he’s gone its been an all out domination of Torro Rosso being a test platform for other teams, Bourdias’ “redundancy” merely reinforces that.

    New drivers bred from STR, old engines used, things like that.

    • Sush Meerkat said on 13th July 2009, 21:50

      edit I meant to add that their is no point in STR existing like it does using old Red Bull parts and old Ferrari engines if all they are gonna do is not be used for given a driver “another chance”

      DeDe MakeShift wants it as a test bed for his Red Bull sponsored talent that he can train up to championship standards under the Red Bull “Wings”. It would be he ultimate marketing coup, what if Bourdias then went on to win the Championship?, it wouldn’t be thanks to Red Bull.

      But if Vettel, Buemi or Algeuierissesses (him on the pic) goes on to win the Championship, guess what? they are Red Bull talents and Red Bull get to say they helped them greatly.

      • Ronman said on 14th July 2009, 7:55

        very sharp view on things…plus you have to factor in the can selling variable…

      • Patrickl said on 15th July 2009, 0:59

        Oh come on, Ferrari asked (told) them to put extra mileage on their friday engines.

        You make it sound like they are driving with hand me downs from Derrari.

  7. frecon said on 13th July 2009, 21:48

    I think is too early for Jaime.

    Last two years i have read some interviews with him, and he always said that he want to drive in F1, but he also wanted to complete all the previous phases. I hope Toro Rosso doesn’t burn one of the most talented young drivers.

  8. Hammad said on 13th July 2009, 21:56

    They shouldnt be dropping Bourdais at all. Why go for an unproven commodity? I guess they are just a testing ground for Red Bull..

  9. Oliver said on 13th July 2009, 22:08

    Perahaps Bordais has a performance clause in his contract that stipulates he must win a race this season. The team as a whole seems to have lost direction.

    • Williams 4ever said on 14th July 2009, 2:55

      Perahaps Bordais has a performance clause in his contract that stipulates he must win a race this season.

      He may fare better if FIA deems his Panoz pwoered Champ car campaign car legal. I am sure that will be more faster than what STR are offering him right now as car that is just Work in Progress model to test part for Senior Redbull team

  10. steve o said on 13th July 2009, 22:11

    It is sad to see Bourdais go although he wasn’t doing himself any favors by acting negative. I understand his race engineer from Newman Haas,
    Guillaume “Rocky” Rocquelin was brought in to help him. I think he just couldn’t get a grip on the car which requires a different driving style than in Champ Car. Added to fact that car was just not fast enough and it makes for a bad situation. Remember he finished second at Sebring and Le Mans and probably should have won the latter.
    No small feat.
    Jaime is not going to be any faster . Could be even worse by getting in the way .
    Toro Rosso is just trying stuff because they have a F1 version of
    Attention Deficit Disorder ” .

    • Williams 4ever said on 14th July 2009, 2:57

      Toro Rosso is just trying stuff because they have a F1 version of
      Attention Deficit Disorder

      I think you are referring to someone known as bitter burnt toast :D

  11. Chalky said on 13th July 2009, 22:41

    I’m not agianst young drivers, but in this case I would be disappointed to see Bourdais booted out half way through the season.

    Both Buemi & Bourdais have had 2 collison accidents.
    Spain was due to Trulli spinning taking both out.
    Monaco – Buemi hits Piquet
    Britain – Bourdais hits Kovi
    Bourdais has one other mechanical retirement.
    Otherwise Beumi may have qualified better, but Bourdais raced better. It’s pretty even in my eyes and would rather see them continue for the remaining season. Why jump half way through?

    Maybe what sealed his fate more was his 2008 season in comparison to Vettel?
    Maybe Torro Rosso will now just go for a quick fix rather than improve the car. Is Alguersuari a ‘quick fix’? I’m not so sure.

    • Williams 4ever said on 14th July 2009, 3:00

      All valid points, Biggest problem is Tost didn’t like Sebass to start with, remember the time he took to sign the Frenchmen almost the day before the season started in March.

  12. Keirdre said on 13th July 2009, 23:06

    People were talking in this way when Kimi Raikkonen got his F1 seat with only 23 car races to his name, and having never driven a race longer than half an hour. He was given a 4 race superlicense (I think), and lots of the older drivers were complaining about his experience…and then he drove to 6th place in Melbourne on his debut!

    • If this guy does that, I’ll eat my hat. And it’s a damn big hat.

      • frecon said on 14th July 2009, 0:18

        Be careful, Toro Rosso will have new aero from Red Bull next GP… ;)

        By the way, I have read that Alguersuari is going to drive only two GPs, and in case Toro Rosso would be happy with his performance, then he’ll finish the season. Apparently this is only a test

    • Jay Menon said on 15th July 2009, 9:44

      This is exactly what I was thinking. When Kimi was coming in, everybody was against it, I guess he showed them.

      I don’t know, I kinda have a good feeling about this kid, he looks confident and he must have something to him. I just hope that something isn’t a certain corporation called Repsol. We know he’ll bring in good cash, but I don’t think STR need cash too badly now do they?

      We have to ask ourselves, out of all the dirvers out there, why would the replace an under performing driver with an unknown kid? There’s more to this…we’ll wait for the Hungaroaring before passing judgment.

  13. John H said on 13th July 2009, 23:41

    Everytime I hear Bourdais he just moans, so perhaps the team just got fed up with him. Fair enough.

    But with no testing, this is going to be pretty crazy going for Alguersuari – but this sort of thing used to happen in the olde days so why not… it’ll be interesting viewing that’s for sure.

    • Williams 4ever said on 14th July 2009, 3:03

      Everytime I hear Bourdais he just moans, so perhaps the team just got fed up with him. Fair enough.

      Every time I hear Tost, he just moans, perhaps dietrich mateschitz should do to Tost what Tost has been doing to STR drivers ever since the toast-burger duo took control off the team on behalf of Redbull magnate from Paul Stoddardt

  14. F1Outsider said on 14th July 2009, 0:25

    With Friday drivers being a thing of the past and test drivers amounting to being errand boys, it makes sense to bring in a young inexperienced driver in the middle of the season.

    So to have 7 or 8 no-pressure races to get aquainted with the car and team will give him a chance fine tune his race craft and hit the ground running come Australia 2010.

  15. pride said on 14th July 2009, 0:47

    I was a big fun of Bourdais. I do believe this season has not been good, but not that bad. I think it is very silly to drop him as many has said when the new pakage is comming and the team needs point. I find strange that first they choose Hartley and then all of a sudden they decide to change him for Alguersari, and then put him in a race car with no test experience at all. When they dropped Speed first he got many clashes with Tost, while Bourdais not. They replaced him with a guy like Vettel who had the kaiser backup, many miles of testing, a gp and a fastest lap on a Friday practice. It was a wise risk.
    With Buemi pretty much the same in the testing side. But putting a 19 year old in a car with nearly nothing of F1 experience is a crazy decision.

    I think that a intended rumour from the Spanish press has sparked this and Bourdais with his bad attitude with the press has made his situation worst.

    I have many doubts that he will be dropped, and I will beleive it when there is an official confirmation.
    Otherwise I think its pure media speculation.

    • Williams 4ever said on 14th July 2009, 3:09

      I think that a intended rumour from the Spanish press has sparked this and Bourdais with his bad attitude with the press has made his situation worst.

      You are right on Money, its just not enough to be good driver in F1, how you keep PR with F1 Press/Pundits decides how your career will pan out. If(and while) you are good with them you will get all sorts of titles “Smoothest driver” and what nots, else what starts as “mur mur campaign” rests only after your F1 career is done with

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