Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, Sepang, 2011

Ricciardo and Vergne to drive for Toro Rosso

2012 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, Sepang, 2011
Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, Sepang, 2011

Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne will drive for Toro Rosso in 2012, the team has confirmed.

The promotion of the two Red Bull Development Drivers leaves Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi without drives for next year.

Team principal Franz Tost said: “I must also thank Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari for all their hard work over the past three seasons.

“They have delivered some excellent performances which have helped the team move forward and develop. We wish them well for the future.

“However, one has to remember that when Scuderia Toro Rosso was established in 2005, it was done so with the intention of providing a first step into Formula 1 for the youngsters in the Red Bull Junior Driver programme. It is therefore part of the team?s culture to change its driver line-up from time to time in order to achieve this goal.”

Ricciardo drove for Toro Rosso during Friday practice earlier this year before joining HRT for the second half of the season. He said: “To be honest, I am still jumping up and down with excitement at the news.

“In the second half of 2011 I learned a lot from the people I worked with, racing in eleven Grands Prix and I want to thank them for the opportunity they gave me. I have to say that joining Scuderia Toro Rosso was always my real goal, so a big thank you to Red Bull for giving me this fantastic opportunity and now I can?t wait to get to work once testing begins.”

Vergne drove in Friday practice sessions for Toro Rosso at the end of the season. He will make his F1 race debut with the team next year.

He said: “First of all, I must thank Red Bull for all their support so far and for believing I am ready to take on the ultimate challenge of racing in Formula 1. Christmas has come early for me this year!

“Having driven for them a few times this year and also testing for Red Bull Racing in Abu Dhabi, I definitely feel ready to make the move, even if I know there is a big difference between testing and actually racing.

“I enjoyed working with the guys at Toro Rosso this year and I can?t wait to be part of the team for real. Sitting on the grid in Melbourne next March cannot come soon enough.”

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270 comments on “Ricciardo and Vergne to drive for Toro Rosso”

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  1. I wasn’t expecting that……
    So where does that leave Buemi and Alguersuari? Where will they go?

    1. Back to GP2, win title, come back stronger :)

      1. only, you need quite some money to do that, not sure either has enough without the Red Bull backing.

        1. Well… Alguesuari’s Dad has something to do with the World Series by Renault… so I reckon we might see him there.

    2. Wow 2012(we’re still in 2011 obviously) has already been unpredictable and the season hasnt even started.

      I didnt even see this article,I clicked on the Driver Rankings article for Rosberg & then realising on Twitter that Toro Rosso let Alguersuari go.Strange but WOW

    3. If this decision comes as a surprise to people then… simply… they haven’t been paying attention. This has been well on the cards for some time, and has been bit of an open secret in the paddock.

      Clearly neither Helmut Marko or Christian Horner saw either Buemi or Alguersuari making the step up to RBR. Marko was quoted as saying that they were both ‘good drivers’, but that RB aren’t looking for good, they’re looking for great (i.e. the next Vettel), so it was time to let them go.

      It’s obviously a shame to see two young drivers left without a team, but I for one am excited about this new line up at STR. Ricciardo vs Vergne, with the prize no less than Webber’s seat in 2013?

      1. Greatest news ever. I hope he smashes Frenchy all season. Wipe the arrogance right out of him.

        1. Would you care to back up your claim with any factual evidence of Vergne’s arrogance please ? He seems like a pretty humble and down to earth chap to me.

          1. @nickfrog – I believe @macca is referring to those comments where Vergne said he’d do no worse than Webber.


            Laughably, Vergne then went on to go 0.6 seconds slower than Alguersuari in Brazilian GP practice.


      2. So the “Great principle” does not apply to Webber?

      3. I hope you said that before the news was official as well. :D

        1. I am really happy that Ricciardo joined STR, but I thought they would keep Jaime for one more season and Vergne would get experience in Renault 3.5 again this year or even move in gp2.

  2. I think it’s a stupid move on Toro Rosso’s part

    1. It may seem stupid on Torro Rosso’s behalf to drop two very promising drivers, but their purpose is to act as a stepping stone for young drivers. By sticking to the same two guys for a further year, they would have confirmed to Red Bull that they are no longer a tool for Red Bull, but instead just another team on the grid.

      I think it is good that they are still an effective stepping stone for promising drivers. Otherwise we would be stuck withh low skilled pay drivers only, such as Di Resta and co.

      1. I’m not going to argue about skill or lack thereof, as it looks like you’re just baiting for an argument.

        But you consider Di Resta a pay driver? I’m assuming you have compiled the list of sponsors he brought to FI to back up that claim?

        1. Paul has 1 sponsor, but it’s a big one – Mercedes. While Paul is at Sahara Force India, it gets a discounted engine, KERS and gearbox package.

          1. @alianora-la-canta Are you sure about that? James Allen said that

            Di Resta notes that he has no official tie to Mercedes, other than the engine that sits in the back of his Force India car.

          2. The engine that sits in the back of the Force India car has to be paid for…

          3. Yeah. “No tie other than the engine in the back of his car” meaning that his involvement with Mercedes is limited to that he uses one of their engines because it happens to be what’s in the back of his car.

            So, if that is all people can come up with, then the answer to “is Di Resta a pay driver” is: no.

          4. if a driver is talented enough to be in F1 than whether or not he has a sponsor is just a bonus. doesant hurt, but soesnt mean such a driver is in F1 only because of the sponsor and not talent.

            Di Resta deserves to be in F1 even without a backer, just by virtue of his first season’s performance. he is one of the most promising rookies of recent years.

            People also forget that sponsors tend to stick to talented and successful drivers who have a future and are expected to be successful. otherwise why put your money into them? So naturaly good drivers will all have some sort of backing when they reach that point in their career to be considered for an f1 seat.

            So I find this pay-driver black and white argument too simplistic and and frankly old and boring.

        2. The person who chose Di Resta as an example of a ‘low skilled pay driver’ couldn’t have chosen a worse example as he most clearly is neither!

          Also, to the person who claims that Di Resta is supported by Mercedes, what consequence is there to your point: Mercedes (an F1 team) want Di Resta (a talented young driver) to race in F1. Seems pretty standard to me! Much like Ricciardo racing for HRT this year, or any number of other recent examples.

          There’s a massive difference between team grown talent like Di Resta and Ricciardo, and the situation where, say, a South American government pays for one of their citizens to race in F1 for the sole reason of advertising a multinational company. Di Resta (as far as I know) pays his way only with talent: the way it should be.

      2. it annoys me how red bull has effectively 2 teams. it also carries the potential for complete manipulation of races.

        1. there is a word Scuderia in there as well

          1. @Maksutov

            there is a word Scuderia in there as well

            The italian word for ‘stable’ or ‘team’? I fail to see your point…

    2. I can’t believe how Tost is in contradiction with himself: he says that Toro Rosso provides a first step into formula 1, but now he leaves two drivers without any change of making it to the 2012 grid!

      1. He gave them the first few steps and more. Its not Torro Rosso’s job to make sure they succeed beyond that.

        1. Yes it is. Red Bull are the drivers main sponsor, they are in f1 because of Red bull. Take that away from them at short notice and they have very little chance to find new money from elsewhere to get a drive at another team. This is why bar Vettel there is no other successfull redbull junior in F1. Only Liuzzi has managed to scrape his way and he is probably finished in f1 too now.

          1. Dude, every driver that comes into F1 has talent, but talent only gets you so far. 2/3 Years is enough time to show what you can do with your talent and Buemi & AAlguersuari has really not up to it. The problem is that ‘Lucky’ Vettel set the bar so high that any of the talents that comes from the Red Bull junior drivers programme has virtually not chance to do the same. Vettel was in there in the right time that’s why he is lucky. Toro Rosso will always be a revolving door for drivers if Darko marko is still invovled!!!

          2. Good point by The Last Pope. I think the problem with the Red Bull driver programme is that they have too many drivers at their disposal. They really don’t know what to do with them.

            I really think Alguersuari should have been retained because he certainly rose above the occassion many times this year, and would have brought some continuity to the team. But Vergne and Ricciardo are highly rated, so let’s see whether they really get any far. If even these drivers don’t suceed after two years or so, you have to doubt the worth of the Red Bull driver programme.

          3. yeah they join Klein on the heap of very good drivers not in F1…oh and who dumped him for no apparent reason. Thats right red bull.

            At least red bull no has a slightly different marketing potential with these new drivers. and thats all these changes are for. Nothing to do with skill.

            Red bulls xfactor style driver changes is for me slowly sucking the life out of the sport. Like x-factor it has nothing to do with skill or results.

    3. Wouldn’t say its stupid, just a pity they hadn’t the decency to do it earlier so their drivers had a better chance to line up something else for next year.

      Alguersuari only 21 and showing promise and a really good 2nd half of season, its seems a bit cruel.

      Have felt though Riccardo and Vergne are by far the greater prospects. With all the best rookie talk Riccardo seems to have been overlooked and I would rank him easily higher than the other rookies this year.

      1. Remember Scott Speed? He was Red Bulls biggest prospect.

        1. Scott Speed had an attitude problem!!! In the political world of F1 you follow the programme or you become invisible…

          1. Franz Tost was the one with the attitude problem. It was Tost that assaulted Speed. Scott just told spoke his feelings, much like Hamilton did this season and Barrichello in 2009. There are just too many PR puppets on the grid now.

          2. Unless you were there nobody really knows what happened.. but somehow I doubt a 50 yr old dude would start a fight with a young 20 yr old otherwise he should have put one on Tost because he knew it was the end there. Like I said the politics and back stabbing in F1 is a comon thing and unless you have the right people on your side you have diddilies chances of moving anywhere positive, but the end of the day you are on your own in F1. That is what happened to Jamie & Seb.. words means nothing in F1, action is everything

    4. I agree; Team Lotus stuck with Trulli and Kovalainen, because they are experienced, and they atre miles ahead of the other 2 ‘new’ teams

  3. This presumably means we need to put up with Liuzzi for another year?

    1. I rather think it heightens the chances of him getting dropped @jerseyf1 After all Alguersuari is spanish, and he has some budget. And recent race experience, including some involvement in development during the season at STR. Might be the perfect candidate for HRT then, I would say.

      1. Nice mix of Alguersuari and De la Rosa as HRT drivers. If they only hadn’t messed it up with Colin Kolles it would have been looking better.

        1. yeah, I highly doubt they will beat last years achievement of even getting a not working car to the last test now @snowman, Kolles was really the guy making anything happen in that team.

      2. I hope you’re right @BasCB, but I wonder if Alguersuari will bring enough non-Red Bull money to cover the cost of buying Liuzzi out of the final year of his contract? Particularly as the team already has a Spanish driver signed up.

        1. My first concern at HRT is: will they actually manage to build a car to race this time!

          Hard to tell, what the conditions in Liuzzi’s contract were, but I doubt it would have been a lot of money. And as the current team owners found a big pot of money to pay Kolles for his services in the past 2 years (must have been several 10s of millions, as he basically supplied all manufacturing and half the staff – and did not get payed much, if at all) they do have some cash.
          But i guess Alguersuari would have to bring enough to pay for that contract as well as a bit more.

  4. Such a shame for jaime, he was a great driver. Devastated.

      1. Jamie isn’t great!!! he is just a promising good driver just like the rest of the young guys in F1. F1 is about Politics and money, that’s why contracts don’t mean twiddlies in F1 and everyone has to look after there own back because words means nothing

        1. He’s not great – yet. As far as young drivers on the grid go, he’s got huge potential and he showed in the latter half on 2011 that he can be an excellent racer. So did Buemi. I really, really wanted Daniel to get a competitive seat next year, but not at the expense of these two drivers. I’m sad for both of them, really. Buemi had such intensity about everything he did in F1, I can only imagine what his disappointment must be like.
          Jaime may get a seat at HRT but how are you supposed to further your career in that thing?
          It’s just a shame that there’s all this exciting, aggressive young talent floating about the grid without drives, while drivers like Jarno, and to a lesser extend Rubens AND Pastor cling onto their seat.

    1. Red Bull are looking for the next “Vettel” Alguesari is not him but he might be the next “Massa”.

      1. he has been edgy and exciting. attacking rosberg lap after lap in korea and nailing him on the last lap….

        what more do you want?

  5. Woah, didn’t expect both of them to get a Toro Rosso seat. Alguersuari to HRT?

    1. I think HRT will be forced to fill the second seat with a pay-driver given their constant financial woes. STR should have kept an experienced driver (preferably Alguersuari). It’ a shame young drivers with potential are leaving F1 while others who are all washed up and have nothing to show anymore (Trulli, Barrichello) are still in it.

      1. I’m tipping Giedo van der Garde for the second HRT seat.

      2. I think Alguersuari might have a chance. Being spanish, having experience and he brings at least a bit of a budget.

        They can always sign 2 test/reserve drivers who will get some kind of practice and race experience during the year (Sutil, VdGarde, even Karthikeyan, or whoever with a big bag of cash)

      3. i predict Barrichello to find some Brazilian sponsors and go to HRT. then they would have the oldest lineup on the grid. the grand dad team.

        1. the grand dad team lol COTD

  6. Apparently staying in F1 is harder than getting into F1 these days. Dropping both drivers for rookies is just a stupid idea, no matter how you look at it. Buemi and Alguersuari are both good drivers, not the best, but they both have solid experience in racing and working with the team at developing the car.

    1. The commentators on TV said that the engeneers on Toro Rosso stated that Jaime wasn’t capable of give good feedback on the cars behavior.

      1. Strange because Ant Davidson repeatedly praised his feedback when his Radio transmissions were played over the air during Practice sessions.

        1. Exactly, just the kind of person who could help HRT, they should sign him asap. Along with De la Rosa’s car knowlage they would make a very strong team for testing & developing the 2012 car.

          I used to like Torro Rosso as they were once Minardi, but now I can’t be bothered with this team.

        2. Davidson did indeed praise him for it. I always thought he had an indepth way to describing the actions of the car and was excellent as a tester.

          Perhaps he should turn up at Caterhams door and take a test driver role for the year and nudge out Jarno next year.

          1. Alguersuari is only 21, so if he sets his mind to it he could end up with another team in F1 cause he has talent, experience and still young…but somehow my feeling is after how Toro Rosso and especially darko Marko treated him he probably leave F1 and the politics for good… Beumi is probably dissapear in the distance like a cat because he is just ordinary good but so is just about thousands of other young drivers wanting in on F1. Ricciardo will one day be WDC if not RBR than Ferrari cause the italian loves his name even though he is aussie through n thru. You see the bloody problem with the revolving door at STR is Marko and his own self interest the young drivers programme for which he must make suceed or the big boss will cut thr programme. Once STR rid of Marko, Tost and all those dead selfish wood, than it develop and nuture the drivers properly and honestly without outside influence. why did you think Berger left so quickly!!!!

    2. They should’ve dropped one of them à season earlier. That way, they could’ve brought Riccoardo last year and made sure they have à benchmark.
      Then again Renault/Lotus also is left without one, so at some point experience isn’t king…

  7. Wow. That’s unexpected. Buemi and Alguersuari didn’t a bad job this year and now both are out? Hm. Okay, Ricciardo and Vergne seem to have talent. But start a year with two rookies? Brave from Toro Rosso.

    1. Reports from Spain show, it was just as big a supprise for the drivers!

      But Alguersuari impressively cool under it. Saying he still feels they have been supporting him for 7 years and helped him become a complete driver. And even putting it into perspective with 5 million unemployed in Spain!

    2. thats what the STR team is for. to bring new talent into F1. why is everyone surprised they have rookies in their team. frankly they should have dropped either Buemi or Alguersuari much earlier. To me its surprising they stuck with the same driver line up for so long given their mission to find the next vettel.

  8. It’s strange as I thought Buemi had outstayed his welcome… but despite Alguersuari being of a similar level I felt he had potential…

    I think Williams signing up Alguersuari would be a strong move, but in all honesty I expect them to both be without a drive next year.

    1. @ben-n I also quickly thought of Williams. Though I want Barrichello around, it seems a good idea for them to snatch one of these guys up. It seems a great waste to let them both go as they’ve clearly matured in the past couple years.

  9. Three French drivers next year! Wow, hard to believe there was none last year.

    1. Good point! We probably haven’t had this many since… 1994, I think. With Panis, Bernard, and Comas.

      1. And the french GP is back, alternating with Spa if I remember correctly.

    2. @deanmachine please refresh my mind, who the three Frenh drivers are…

      1. Grosjean at Renault
        Vergne at Toro Rosso
        Pic at Virgin

        At least one of those is likely to be at the first French Grand Prix for 5 years in 2013.

    3. The French Revolution has begun! Hopefully this won’t be a one-year phenomenon. Bianchi would mostly join them from 2013.

  10. Worst decision ever. Alguersuari is such an important youngster for F1 with great speed, tactics, thinking and agression in overtaking. That they’ve dropped him has really blown my mind. I’m stunned.
    But who knows what these two guys can offer. But even if they become very succesfull, it’ll be such a shame to lose Jaime, while Buemi didn’t do that bad either.

    1. But most people would say that Alguersuari has been succesfull for Torro Rosso in that he pretty much got the best out of the car at his disposal.

      What’s the point for red bull to keep bringing in young drivers only to give them no way to progress further even if they are driving well. No doubt in two years time both Riciardo and Vergne will be in the same situation.

      Really, appart from Vettel (who had the big advantage of having a competative car) , every single Red bull driver has been abandoned and their F1 carreer quickly ended, only Liuzzi has managed to slow his decline.

      Scott Speed being the most highly rated of them, given two seasons in a mostly apalling car found out that he and Liuzzi were being replaced and had the guts to tell the team what he thought of them. One could go as far as saying one reason Vettel is a double WC is because Scott Speed and Liuzzi had such a shockingly unreliable car the 2 years before his debut.

      In a close alternate reality It could be Speed a 2 times World champion.

      1. One could go as far as saying one reason Vettel is a double WC is because Scott Speed and Liuzzi had such a shockingly unreliable car the 2 years before his debut.

        Not really. At least if they did what Webber did in the Jag, and shone prior to a car failure, you’d have a point, but they didn’t really shine, or get their car above whee it should have been at all (except for Liuzzi at China, where Vettel still finished way ahead of him).

  11. Very risky, I expected one of these and one of Buemi and Alguersuari. 2 fairly inexperienced drivers could go wrong.

  12. I suppose Tost’s explaination makes sense. That and RBR must be looking for Webbers replacement on a short timetable.

    1. Sure, but they might have said earlier to give both Seb and Jaime a bit of a chance to secure a different seat.

      Now its as if they do not want to give these guys a chance to show what they got with other teams!

      1. Which I suppose they could have expected after just a few minutes of checking what happened to the other young Red Bull drivers, apart from Vettel: unceremoniously dropped to fend for themselves – ‘kaythanxbye! style.

        It will be interesting to see what Vergne and Ricciardo can do with the STR car, but I feel this is once again a step back for them as a team.

        If Red Bull seriously want to sell STR, they need to give the team more room for that, and otherwise they should give these guys a different., more gradual structure rather then dropping drivers in, and out, of a car.

        1. @bosyber, I guess Red Bull is now waiting until they get a good deal for the next Concorde agreement and the worldwide economy picks up a bit before selling the team. Maybe in a year or two

      2. Yep, BasCB

        Nice way of looking after their young drivers!

  13. Dibs on Alguersuari to HRT and Buemi to Le Mans (maybe with Peugeot).

  14. Wow, that’s harsh for Buemi and Alguersuari. They both did a good job helping Toro Rosso move foward.

    Ricciardo and Vergne might do well too, but I don’t think this is a good idea. It stops the development of the whole team and starts it all over again with two rookies, basically.

    So sad!

  15. Gutted for Buemi and particularly Alguersuari, who I thought had a promising future ahead of him. Both so young yet their F1 careers could be over already. I now dislike Toro Rosso. Such a shame.

  16. I hope Algersuari will find himself a drive. He’s too good compared to some other drivers on the grid to be left out.

  17. one has to remember that when Scuderia Toro Rosso was established in 2005, it was done so with the intention of providing a first step into Formula 1 for the youngsters in the Red Bull Junior Driver programme. It is therefore part of the team’s culture to change its driver line-up from time to time in order to achieve this goal.

    I wonder if Helmut Marko used exactly the same words when he explained what the driver line-up would be?

    1. it was done so with the intention of providing a first step into Formula 1 for the youngsters in the Red Bull Junior Driver programme.

      To me, that comment sounds like Ferrari have something to do with it… , any thoughts?

      1. @Maksutov Why Ferrari? I don’t see the connection.

        1. ah,, its a long shot, nvm, just some nonsense i was speculating in the wake of the recent FOTA split… if any hidden deals were made between Ferrari and RB ;/ .. there is no obvious connection to this of course , but I am expecting STR to follow

  18. Strange. Vergne deserves the promotion, I’m a little less sure about Ricciardo, but he was clearly fast in the HRT (as fast as you can go with that car thing).
    But I also thought Jaime and Sebastien had done enough to keep their seats. It would be wrong to lose either of them now, after they’ve had a good season.

  19. That makes it three French drivers next season. A good jump from the zero of this year!

    1. Now just hope there will still be an Italian on the grid next year!

      1. Ferrari – haha , I think we have enough italians on or around the grid ;), but what I would like to see is a new and fresh italian driver… Come to think of it, one driver from every country the race is held.. would be interesting.

  20. I’m surprised here as everyone!
    I also think it’s a bit stupid to promote both drivers. This year I found it difficult to judge Buemi and Alguersuari’s speed, because they were both young, and they didn’t have a known driver who these two could compare to. And now it will be even more difficult to judge Vergne and Ricciardo’s performance : Vergne is a rookie and Ricciardo doesn’t have a lot of experience (OK, he had Liuzzi as a comparison, but he has driven a HRT, which could have been a car difficult to drive).

    I think that the most sensible thing to do would have been to promote Ricciardo to Toro Rosso, and leave either Buemi or Alguersuari, so he could be compared to a driver already known by the team.

    Anyway, Vergne will need quite some time to adapt to F1. He has just driven a F1 car in a couple of free practice session. In my opinion, he should have been promoted to GP2 first…

    1. @Dan_the_McLaren_fan
      I was going to leave a very similar comment but I knew I would find a similar minded one in the comments. Toro Rosso has absolutely no benchmark with these two drivers.

      Just as I was starting to think of them as an independent team far enough attached from their parent organization, they prove once again that they’re merely a number 2 Redbull and can never be taken as a serious contender in the championship.

      I had very little respect for Redbull as an organization, I didn’t think i could’ve had any less, apparently I was wrong.


      1. I agree with this completely. If us fanatics can support a RedBull-2 on the grid, why are we so much against 3 car teams?
        Toro Rosso is never competing to win championships, its purpose is just to keep RedBull-1 as a well oiled machine.
        Luca di Montezemolo may have a point with his idea. Clearly another team has 4 cars already.

      2. Mr. Zing Zang
        15th December 2011, 1:10

        They do have a benchmark. The simulator.

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