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

  1. jess said on 14th July 2009, 0:52

    STR Car is junk this year, Too bad for SeaBass, but this is typical of STR. Kick the driver out mid way. Well Once that is confimed I bet IRL Owners are going to light up his phone. Then again there is a chance of another team picking him up but I dought it. Well there also the ALMS series he could shine in.

    • Ronman said on 14th July 2009, 8:06

      good thing they didn’t kick Vettel out when he crashed into Webber 2 years ago…. seeing the volatility of their driver roster.

      although Torro Rosso were my favorite B team last year, this honor goes to Ferrari this year. but I’m very disappointed to see them let Bourdais go knowing that it’s not all him but the crap car he’s driving.

    • TommyB said on 14th July 2009, 12:34

      Kick a drive out? Its good. Because Bourdais was crap. Scott Speed was crap.

      More teams should kick there crap drivers out. The grid is full or rubbish drivers this year

      • Damon said on 14th July 2009, 13:07

        No, the grid is full of rubbish cars this year.

        • TommyB said on 14th July 2009, 14:30

          True but each team (apart from RBR and maybe Ferrari) have a good driver and then a drive that isn’t so great.

          • Damon said on 14th July 2009, 15:06

            So??

          • TommyB said on 14th July 2009, 16:28

            So its F1 and it should be the best 20 drivers in the world but yeah its all about the money now

          • persempre said on 14th July 2009, 17:13

            It pretty much always has been, TommyB. Even before sponsorship F1 & motor racing in general were never cheap sports to take part in. At least now there is somewhat less of the pay-driver going on & most drivers are there on some sort of merit.
            That may change with the new teams, though.

  2. F1Fan said on 14th July 2009, 1:02

    To counter this move by STR, Ferrari should bring back Scott Speed as Massa’s replacement.

    • Hakka said on 14th July 2009, 15:31

      I hope you’re joking – Massa is the one “older” driver who seems to improve with time. Ferrari’s investment in him is paying off quite well, given his performance last year.

      • F1Fan said on 14th July 2009, 16:53

        What improvement ??? He still hasn’t won a championship, still doesn’t have the **consistent** speed needed for this, and he can still not drive in the wet. He is only good for 3-4 race wins in a season and usually at his strong tracks (Bahrein, Turkey). That will not win a championship. With Kimi gone next year, now is the chance for Ferrari to start fresh. Massa will never win a championship. He is simply not that good.

        • persempre said on 14th July 2009, 18:12

          Other than the 4 drivers in what are currently the best 2 cars, Felipe is top of the rest.

          He has more points than Alonso, Raikkonen & Hamilton all of whom are Champions.
          I think he deserves more credit.

  3. Brian said on 14th July 2009, 1:03

    Remember the race last year when Vettel won at Monza? Do remember that Bourdais qualified in the second row? He has had glimmers of hope, but unfortunatley in that particular race, he had a problem with his gear box and got stuck on the grid.
    He will go back to Indy Car next year. Maybe Torro Rosso will replace him with Villenueve to help bring up S.Buemi next year.

    • Chalky said on 14th July 2009, 9:17

      That’s another good point for Bourdais. I forgot about that. Overshadowed by Vettel again, when he could have pulled off a great result too.

  4. Sebastien Carter said on 14th July 2009, 1:07

    One thing that sticks out for me is that he is 19 years old…

    As an avid f1 fan with dreams of being an f1 driver when i was younger…this is a rather large blow to my hopes. Younger than me and already in an f1 seat.

    There’s always next year I suppose!

  5. hell, there’s no pressure is there?

    buemi’s been doing a good, if inexperienced job of it. exactly what you’d expect, but occasionally impressive, all things considered.

    bourdais, who you’d expect to shore up the team with a few points here and there, hasn’t been able to stay out of the wars despite his experience. He hasn’t been able to score the points that the team needs, this season or last. Yes, we all love him, no he’s not good enough. (Taku, anyone?)

    so for TR, where’s the pressure? stick with the “old bloke” that’s not scoring the points you should be getting given last year’s performance, or take a punt on someone new? they did that with buemi and won, why not go for broke?

    • Williams 4ever said on 14th July 2009, 3:12

      buemi’s been doing a good, if inexperienced job of it. exactly what you’d expect, but occasionally impressive, all things considered.

      Yup Buemi is setting the track on Fire, driving the dog of STR to points finish every race….

  6. Jonesracing82 said on 14th July 2009, 3:10

    i personally dont think he’ll do any better than Bourdais is doing now!
    as u say, he’s not driven an F1 car that we know of, with Alonso and especially Vettel, both had test driven F1 cars b4 making thier debut, i am however a touch unsure on alonso, but Vettel did the BMW test drive in ’07

  7. PrisonerMonkeys said on 14th July 2009, 5:38

    I think there should be some kind of age limit as to when a driver can join the grid. Alguersuari is nineteen, Vettel was a similar age when he started, as was Button. Hell, the name Conor Daly is rumoured to be spoken over at US-F1 and he’s only [i]seventeen[/i]. Drivers shouldn’t be competing until they’re twenty-one, or at least until they’re at the age where they can hold a full road-going licence.

  8. Brian said on 14th July 2009, 5:54

    It should be the best of the best, but yeah, no one younger than 18. Any younger than that and the kids parents could techincally say “NO” and that would be that for another year at least. Algusari is old enough, we just have to let him prove himself. Although, Hartley should be the one that got that job. Or being a Canadien as I am, Wickens. lol

  9. Ronman said on 14th July 2009, 7:33

    Is he actually fit to drive? or is it his father’s wealth that is doing the talking? saw on TF1 a report that the guy’s dad is loaded and possibly to be involved. that would prove right in case he does land the wheels of the Torro Rosso.

    but i dont like him already because of this: he says on f1-live, “He is 30, he has a daughter, has won four championships in the American Champ Cars, won the F3000 here in Europe and, honestly, is a highly trained driver,” Alguersuari told Radio Catalunya. “But it seems that this year he has not given it everything, as he should have.

    where does this kid get off? no respect to Bourdais? common who is he to judge, he hasn’t driven an F1 car ever, how can he tell that the guy isn’t giving it enough? maybe he is, but the car is truly rubbish, and the only reason Buemi is outdoing him is that buemi is young enough to be able to muscle a car around and adapt to it without any prior habitude. whereas an older driver has a certain style, and would refuse to change it to suit the car. (that what i think hapens between experienced and not so experienced driver when they are with a so and so car. specific driving habits and techniques are hard to loose)

    • Chalky said on 14th July 2009, 9:21

      but i dont like him already because of this: he says on f1-live, “He is 30, he has a daughter, has won four championships in the American Champ Cars, won the F3000 here in Europe and, honestly, is a highly trained driver,” Alguersuari told Radio Catalunya. “But it seems that this year he has not given it everything, as he should have.

      That annoyed me too. The only way to answer this is for Alguersuari to seriously out perform Buemi on his debut.

    • +1

      He hasn’t driven an F1 car for more than a lap, and here he is slagging off Bourdias.

      The unanimous winner of the “Drivel of the day” contest = Alguersuari

  10. GIFTEDbutLAZY said on 14th July 2009, 9:39

    I think any replacement for Bourdais is worth a shot. I do rate him as a racing driver, but not in F1. Poor performances coupled with frequent crying and whinging mean that I won’t be sorry to see him go!

  11. Alguersuari will also be the first ever F1 driver to be younger than me. Now I really do feel old.

    • PJA said on 14th July 2009, 10:26

      I know what you mean, I am in my late twenties now and while I don’t really feel that different from when I was younger this is the sort of thing more than anything else that makes me realise that I am in different age group now.

      When I was a teenager people in the public eye such as new bands I liked, F1 drivers or footballers were always older than me but now they are younger than me, and yes I know that late twenties is still young before anyone says anything.

      • just me said on 14th July 2009, 17:28

        To make you guys feel better: It goes quickly downhill from you are ;-) !

        I grew up watching Jochen Rindt and Jackie Steward. These were men then. Heroes!

        Times change.

        Now the time is running out for my grandkids to make it into car racing. If you don’t start at 4 you’ll never make it into F1 by 19.
        By 27 the journalists start already mentioning your advanced age when a few races go wrong. By 38 (Rubens age, I believe) you are definitely considered a Dinosaur and now they throw the ‘honorary’ records into your face: “Longest stretch w/o win” or “oldest driver ever in F1 who did XXX”

  12. PJA said on 14th July 2009, 10:12

    With the trend this decade for hiring young drivers I was surprised to read that the youngest F1 driver to date was from 1980.

    When the rumours started after the first few races about Bourdais and Piquet being replaced before the end of the season I didn’t think it would happen mainly because of the testing ban.

    While I can understand why Toro Rosso would want to drop Bourdais after his performances so far, if it is true that all Alguersuari has done in a F1 car is some straight line tests then I think it is a big risk to change drivers if what they after is improved results this season.

    If Toro Rosso defiantly intended to give Alguersuari a race seat next year then there would be some logic in bringing him in early this year to get experience as long as they decided to ignore his results this season and didn’t decide to drop altogether if the worst happened and he qualifies last every time and ended up crashing each race.

  13. TommyB said on 14th July 2009, 10:15

    Can I just say remember the last time a 19 year old spaniard got the seat at Faenza… He went on to be a double world champion

  14. mani said on 14th July 2009, 10:38

    There can be a ridiculous theory to go with, but certainly, though I write it I’m not going with it. If Hartley had chosen to part STR in a hard way, in light of his own racing career (considering the restricted testing mileage, it is hardly anything a reserve driver in a F1 team gets – that too on a current back-marker team like STR). Then, STR might well have chosen to replace Bourdais to show Hartley that he had really missed something out there, though it was not meant to happen if Hartley stayed with them. :)

    Just a theory, because when I first thought of it, there is nothing that STR gains with Bourdais currently. Even if it is gonna be the case with Alguersuari, they lose nothing… but if he can make a difference – say outperforming Buemi – that is an achievement in itself which Bourdais can’t do.

    Either way, in my opinion it is not the best choice to make and at the same time not the worst.

  15. John H said on 14th July 2009, 13:48

    Alguersuari has already had a go at Bourdais then. Big mistake – he clearly should have kept his mouth shut until he starts to deliver.

    I hope he’s not an ****.

    • TommyB said on 14th July 2009, 14:32

      I dont think he had a go. He just said Bourdais has done great in the US but hasn’t been doing well in F1 which is true.

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