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. persempre said on 14th July 2009, 13:50

    Lack of years doesn’t mean much but lack of ability or right attitude do.
    If young Alguersuari has been round telling people that Bourdais is on the way out (as reports suggest) then he’s already blotted his copybook along the entire length of the pitlane.
    What team wants a driver who broadcasts their business before any official statements are made?
    Bad move, Jaime. It’s another show of putting personal ego before your team & you’ve only just got a oot in the door.

  2. Brandz said on 14th July 2009, 16:10

    he has no hope, his names not sebastian

    • Mike said on 14th July 2009, 21:28

      Maybe its a case of lightning not striking twice, they’ve won with one sebastien/sebastian, time for a fresh name in the team don’t you think?

  3. Maksutov said on 14th July 2009, 16:54

    In regards to the question if having drivers as young as this (19yo – Alguersuari or whoever) is good for the sport?

    It is a difficult question, I guess 19yo is ok, but if it was any younger I would say no.

    There needs to be some age limits put in place to prevent this from going too far. I mean, whats next? 18yo, 17yo, 16yo? A bloody child!? If this is not monitored, soon we will be watching children race in formula 1, and that I have no interest in.

    For these gifted young drivers until they become professionals (meaning gain experience) they need to stick with Kart, F3.. etc until they gain enough experience and reasonable maturity.

    F1 is about experienced and advanced professionals. Lets take for example football (soccer) players, do you wanna watch junior soccer players or the pro’s!? Nobody can ever convince me that in terms of reflexes, accuracy, speed, endurance, strength and agility that drivers younger than 25y means better, that is totally and utterly false. In fact the older drivers as old as 25yo are far experienced, a lot smarter and equally as sharp and fast. And no matter how fast young rev heads think they are, they do not poses the experience, understanding behind safety, respect to other drivers, respect to their team, understanding of the car, understanding of the mechanisms involved in building and preparing and conserving the cars.

    F1 should be about professionalism, and experienced and gifted drivers – all of those elements put together. Not just one.

  4. persempre said on 14th July 2009, 17:48

    Without the regulations being changed you won’t see driver ages coming down significantly.
    We will probably see more young drivers but that’s because drivers are starting motorport earlier & more are coming up through the ranks at a younger age.

    The minimum age for an FIA International Drivers’ Licence is 16 years before 1st January on which the licence would be valid. This can be waived but only under certain conditions including 2 years of ASN competition.
    The Grade A & Super Licences are needed for F1. Grade A are issued by the drivers’ ASN & has stipulations like the driver must have been placed in the first 5 (I think) in 5 events in the last 2 years.
    To get the Super Licence necessary for F1 the driver must hold a current Grace A plus meet one or other of a choice of requirements.

    So, while I take your point, Maksutov, I don’t think there’s any need to worry.
    If a young driver is a menace his licence gets revoked as happened with Ide.

  5. adz2193 said on 15th July 2009, 0:38

    Does anyone remember when Bourdais ran 4th on his debut but was foiled by an engine failure?? And when he got that drive thru in Japan, robbing him of I think 6th? The rain screwed him of another top 6 finish in Belgium. Although he only out performed Vettel a handful of times, its not like Webber, a proven, experienced driver, has done THAT much better.

    Excluding Buemi, Bourdais is the most inexperienced driver on the grid along with Piquet and Nakajima, so I think releasing him at this point is harsh, especially as they’re bringing in a kid who has never driven an F1 car. When the field is as close as it is now, chances for points are going to come along regularly and I can’t see Alguersari being able to take these chances, while Bourdais has done once or twice this season. That’s the kind of driver STR need right now.

  6. Patrickl said on 15th July 2009, 1:20

    The British F3 is not really the top of F3 anymore is it? I thought most F1 drivers are coming through the Euroseries since that started.

    To make matters worse he’s hardly impressive in the World Series By Renault. Giedo van der Garde won there last year and he is now way down in GP2. So I guess that class doesn’t say much either.

    Seems a bit of a weird choice.

    Is this really the best driver Red Bull has available in their program? Don’t they have something in GP2?

    Even if not, maybe that Russian is still available. He looks quite impressive. Would be a good new demographic for selling cans too.

  7. dsob said on 15th July 2009, 5:03

    I see it’s pretty late in this discussion, but I thought I’d toss in my 2 cents anyway.

    just me comments:
    “I grew up watching Jochen Rindt and Jackie Steward. These were men then. Heroes!

    Times change.”

    Ah, yes, the good old days. And let’s not forget Juan Manuel Fangio, who won at Silverstone in 1956 when I attended my first F1 race. Back in the days when older was better, and experience was indeed often a driver’s best friend. But, too true, things do change. In those days, it was man & machine, the strong and willful driver taming both track and car, not a driver/technician in a million dollar computer with wheels with 40 people and 3 million in computers planning the race strategy.

    Maksutov comments:
    “For these gifted young drivers until they become professionals (meaning gain experience) they need to stick with Kart, F3.. etc until they gain enough experience and reasonable maturity.

    F1 is about experienced and advanced professionals…”

    He goes on:
    “Nobody can ever convince me that in terms of reflexes, accuracy, speed, endurance, strength and agility that drivers younger than 25y means better, that is totally and utterly false. In fact the older drivers as old as 25yo are far experienced, a lot smarter and equally as sharp and fast.”

    Well, in point of fact, young people now routinely outshine their elders in these areas, particularly in reflexes, speed, agility, accuracy and strength.

    And these kids DO have a lot of seat time, by the time they get to F1, many in as much as 10 years of driver developement programs.

    Gone are the golden days of Leave it to Beaver, where all kids thought about until the age of 18 was riding bikes and playing catch. We live in a quite different world, now.

    We live in an age of technology, where worldwide news is at ones fingertips, and 14 year olds are as well versed, or sometimes better versed, on world affairs as adults. And frequently just as jaded. It makes for maturity at an earlier age.

    These days, most 6 year olds can whip an adults butt at pretty much any video game you’d care to name-reflexes and speed, and sometimes endurance.

    The teenagers these days getting F1 seats have been racing since they were children. Many of them have spent years in a Constructor’s driver developement program. (McLaren & Hamilton comes to mind there.)Heck, at 16 or 17, my biggest car related worry was getting to second base with the cheerleader in the backseat, not planning strategy to win that season’s GP2 title.

    Yes, they are frequently brash, cocky verging on arrogant (Hamilton in his first season, for example), but are quite capable of learning to pilot an F1 car.

    And with a season or two under their belt, they gain the experience–racing as well as life experience–to allow them to feel more settled, and they learn to moderate their comments (Hamilton again comes to mind, lol)about the sport and other drivers.

    Formula 1 these days is a sport for the young. With some exceptions, a driver IS pretty much washed up in his late 20s or early 30s. And I believe we will see this trend continue.

    And now you point out Button & Webber, and say I’m full of daisies. Well, I DID say there were exceptions, didn’t I ?

    As an aside here, lest anyone think I was knocking Lewis Hamilton, let me say I consider him a talented and gifted driver, though I did put him in that “brash and cocky to the point of arrogance” category early on. Hamilton now is quite different than in his first year in F1, far more seasoned and mature. I like Lewis Hamilton as a person now a lot more than I did in 2007.

    • Maksutov said on 15th July 2009, 8:04

      dsob:

      Well, in point of fact, young people now routinely outshine their elders in these areas, particularly in reflexes, speed, agility, accuracy and strength.

      yes, but I am talking specific age 25, or 16. There isn’t necessarily much difference between those ages in terms of those properties discussed, but there is still a big difference in level of maturity.

      Gone are the golden days of Leave it to Beaver, where all kids thought about until the age of 18 was riding bikes and playing catch. We live in a quite different world, now.

      We live in an age of technology, where worldwide news is at ones fingertips, and 14 year olds are as well versed, or sometimes better versed, on world affairs as adults. And frequently just as jaded. It makes for maturity at an earlier age.

      I generally agree with that for some things. But not in the age difference that I was discussing about. Having kids exposed to complex technology early doesn’t necessarily make them smarter. In fact surveys done at Universities now days regarding the ability of students to grasp complex information in areas such as physics, mathematics, science is no better now then it was a 100 years ago. Humans may have more exposure to complex technology at early age noways, but that doesnt mean their ability to grasp and process that information is any better to humans who have lived within the past 500 years. So what I am actually trying to say is while young kids learn complex stuff at early age these days, they still lack the same ability to mature and gain experience that comes with life and comes as function of time (t). Humans have not yet evolved that far, it takes thousands and thousands of years for that to happen. And so the age difference now between 16 or 25 certainly is nothing when it comes to their ability and rate at which they grasp information, but it is a massive difference in the amount of information collected and in terms of the knowledge understanding and maturity, the age difference there is almost 1/3 of their life. I again same goes for agility, strength – look at for example some of the most famous soccer players, they become exceptionally good specifically in the ages after 20yo, eg. 20-25yo, now days Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi come to mind. So no matter how good those players were at ages 16, they were way better at age 20+, and they will get even better at age 25-30.

      And with a season or two under their belt, they gain the experience–racing as well as life experience–to allow them to feel more settled, and they learn to moderate their comments (Hamilton again comes to mind, lol)about the sport and other drivers.

      Yes well exactly, so it takes a season or two. And I am just saying that regardless of how good these young drivers are they should be placed through a system to enable them to gain as much experience and maturity before entering F1. If they are good at 16, well they can only get even better at 20-25.

  8. jason said on 15th July 2009, 5:07

    ha ha ha ha sucks for bourdais but a driver that does nothing of any importance no wins, nothing and is little more than a back marker or obsticule to lead to the first lap crash he is a no talent waste of a driver spot thank god the teams are wiseing up i would be scared if i were any of the following, piquet, nakajma sutil, fisichella, Kovalainen, glock, kubica, the other team should wise up and replace them before they ruin the 2009 season as well as the 2010 season. also have strong hope the 2 retards in in red cars will be replaced with a true champion ROSSI!!!! FTW

  9. savage said on 16th July 2009, 7:58

    STR all the gear and no idea .
    A heavily revised car for hungary and they want to put a rookie in the seat the data recovered will be worthless , change one thing at a time .
    Bourdais should be allowed to finish the season or atleast participate at hungary then we can see if the car is a leap forward or the driver not good enough.

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