Ricciardo and Vergne to drive for Toro Rosso

2012 F1 season

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

  1. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 14th December 2011, 16:45

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

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th December 2011, 16:45

    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?

  3. 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.

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

  5. Dan_the_McLaren_fan (@dan_the_mclaren_fan) said on 14th December 2011, 16:49

    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…

    • Cacarella (@cacarella) said on 14th December 2011, 17:29

      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.


      • soulmonkey said on 14th December 2011, 18:51

        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.

      • Mr. Zing Zang said on 15th December 2011, 1:10

        They do have a benchmark. The simulator.

  6. QuantumForce42 said on 14th December 2011, 16:49

    Bad move. Ric has not impressed me to be honest. Have no idea why people label him successor to Mark Webber.

    Alg at least has potential to succeed Alonso if given the car. Imagine if he started at Sauber.

    But in all honesty, STR and Findia and even HRT are not the best place to start a Formula1 career.

    Sauber was and still probably is a good place to start. Scuderia and McL have both benefited from this arrangement..

    • But in all honesty, STR and Findia and even HRT are not the best place to start a Formula1 career.

      @QuantumForce42 Jus wanna know…why Force India? In its short history, only Di Resta is the one who started his career. And he is stiil there!

      • The Last Pope (@the-last-pope) said on 14th December 2011, 21:09

        Yes, and Sutil’s reputation has only increased during his time at FI. I’d say that Force India is a very good place to found and cement an F1 career.

      • Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 14th December 2011, 22:18

        Because if Force India picks you as a reserve driver, you get lots of practise compared to other reserve drivers, plus there’s a decent chance you’ll actually get picked for the team when one of the race drivers leaves. The opportunity mechanism is there… …provided you get picked to be the reserve in the first place.

  7. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 14th December 2011, 16:49

    Hmmm. Call me crazy, but I don’t think this such a bad move on STR’s part. Their raison d’etre, remember, is not to win the World Championship. It’s to provide the best drivers possible for Red Bull Racing (i.e. Mark Webber’s replacement). Both are good (coming in with impressive junior cred), both are quick, and both are hungry. What better way to decide who gets the seat than to give them the same machinery and let them fight for it to the very end?

    I guess the only downside here is Jaime losing out on a seat. It’s rather disappointing, yes, but at the same time, I’m not too depressed about it. He seems to be a good quality driver, but he didn’t really knock the stuffing out of Buemi (which he probably should’ve if he was truly something special). I agree he deserves a seat in F1, but it’s not a total tragedy if he isn’t in it.

    • radu52 (@) said on 14th December 2011, 17:28

      exactly, STR want another super talent, not just a good driver

    • Their raison d’etre, remember, is not to win the World Championship. It’s to provide the best drivers possible for Red Bull Racing

      Which is exactly the reason these kinds of arrangements should be disallowed. We want teams doing the best they can for themselves, not backing teams.

      • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 14th December 2011, 22:39

        How do you police such a ban, though? That’s already what most backmarker teams do anyway (albeit not with a specific team in mind).

        Personally, as long as it introduces new drivers to the sport, then I don’t have any issue with it.

        • Ohhhh, that is going to be hell to police. I imagine that the ban should concentrate on not allowing a team to control another at all.

          Backmarker teams are certain to lose drivers to bigger teams, and that is quite all right.

          I agree that we want new drivers introduced to the sport, but not by losing talented drivers that should be far from done in F1.

          – And dumping them NOW, when most seats are taken is just being mean.

    • Mr. Zing Zang said on 15th December 2011, 1:13

      I agree. Algu is very young at 21, he has a good career in racing ahead of him. Many drivers didn’t even get into an F1 car at that age. He has time to get stronger and come back.

    • Alex W said on 15th December 2011, 4:28

      Yes Ricciardo is going to have to smash Verne or vise versa….

  8. goondu86 (@goondu86) said on 14th December 2011, 16:50

    That means Buemi and Alguersuari are dropped from the Red Bull program?

    • Leftie (@leftie) said on 14th December 2011, 17:43

      I think they rather completed it.

      • The Last Pope (@the-last-pope) said on 14th December 2011, 21:23

        Yes, and now they have no sponsor. Its like Red bull pay the way for their junior drivers and when they deceide they are not the next Red Bull team driver they make it so they have little chance to continue their f1 career in another rival team. It’s like the complete oposite of what Sauber and Jordan used to do advertising their drivers to the bigger teams for the sake of progressing the drivers carreer.

        • Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 14th December 2011, 22:32

          Depends if there are any vacancies in non-single-seater Red Bull-backed teams. I’m not sure if any exist, but if they do, it would be worth keeping an eye on them. But their F1 phase with Red Bull is unequivocably over.

        • Leftie (@leftie) said on 14th December 2011, 23:45

          I don’t see how Red Bull impeding their progress onwards, to be honest. They brought them up, supported them, gave them a good run in F1 to establish themselves and then it is up to the rest of the grid to sign them up or not. The only thing that is wrong with this picture is that they announced their departure too late, which left them almost no options. But i think both of them were negotiating potential deals with various teams already in the middle of the season, which is a common practice for any driver in the paddock.

  9. Spawinte (@spawinte) said on 14th December 2011, 16:51

    What the hell? So you basically have to be the next Senna to hold on to your seat now is that it?

  10. adzz36 (@adzz36) said on 14th December 2011, 16:51

    Idiocy. I really feel for Buemi, but mostly Alguersauri. They’ve both done enough to stay in F1, but I thought Jaime was getting to the point where he’d be looking at breaking into a higher team, not getting dumped by his current one.

    For me, this raises a serious question over the actual point in having Toro Rosso any more. By giving two seats to Buemi and Alguersauri for 3 seasons, only to let them go at the end and stick two fresh rookies in the car, just seems to me like an absolute waste of Red Bull’s resources.

    These two guys were not Sebastian Vettel II, but they would have been good enough to replace Mark Webber as the “other” driver at Red Bull. This is as clear a statement as any that STR exists purely to develop Red Bull development drivers, and it begs the question, why are Red Bull spending money on running a full Formula One team, when if they want two of their drivers on the grid, they could simply provide them with the sponsorship to fill two of the existing seats on the grid, although I appreciate that when Toro Rosso was set up, this wouldn’t have been easily achieved.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 14th December 2011, 16:56

      Probably because no one wants to buy it off Red Bull. Not at the right price, anyway.

      In any case, they need to look for more than just Webber’s replacement. Yes, that’s the immediate need, but I don’t expect Vettel to stay for much longer, either. He has little left to prove at Red Bull and will probably be looking in the directions of Brackley and Maranello for the future.

      • Klaas (@klaas) said on 14th December 2011, 17:09

        RedBull are a force in F1 for 3 years now, they are staying on a very solid foundation – they have the right people and lots of money. Back to back titles were not won by accident or luck, they really had the best car. They don’t have much history in F1 (but neither had Williams and McLaren when they started) but they already started to make it. I don’t think Vettel will leave them in the next 4 years.

        • adzz36 (@adzz36) said on 14th December 2011, 17:45

          Also, Red Bull don’t need a full team as part of their driver development program any more. If they want a top class driver in the event that Seb leaves at any time in the next decade, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, (maybe) Robert Kubica will all be around, not counting any of the unproven talents in the sport that could turn out to be world beaters.

          Now that they have a pedigree in the sport, they don’t need to bring through their own drivers from grassroots to F1, even though I think it’s great that they are doing so, because, as shown by Lewis Hamilton’s approach to Christian Horner at Canada this year, they have their pick of top drivers.

        • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 14th December 2011, 22:43

          Schumacher in 1995 ring a bell? You could say exactly the same things of Benetton around that time. Michael still ended up at Ferrari, though.

          Also, they do still have one of the best driver development programs out there, crazy as it sounds. Ferrari and McLaren have begun to develop their own, and so it would be crazy for Red Bull to end what they have now.

  11. Klaas (@klaas) said on 14th December 2011, 16:55

    @keithcollantine Check up the third paragraph, I think you skipped a word.

  12. Very shocking! All I can say is this: Dan? Jean-Eric? No matter what kind of job you do in 2012, don’t get too comfortable…

  13. leepat0302 (@leepat0302) said on 14th December 2011, 16:58

    Woah, I did’nt see that coming wrong move for Toro Rosso they should have kept one experienced driver and promoted 1 rookie best “Fair” solution.
    Gutted for Buemi and Alguersuari.

  14. What a strange situation. I hope Haime finds a drive elsewhere in F1. Not too bothered about Buemi, but I wonder if this decision will lose Toro Rosso any fans.

    Maybe Red Bull need their own F1-spec, F1-level series that they can populate with their own drivers, rather than kicking them out. Maybe they should use some of their vast wealth to build 20 working Red Bull X1’s and start a one-make, global series.

  15. Surprised and disappointed for both of them. Think everyone thought Buemi was going to be let go but Alguersuari is a bigger shock.

    To be honest I would have kept both of them, and if Webber struggles again promote whoever did better as no.2 to Vettel. Does seem a massive waste of resources over the last 3 years on Red Bull’s part to stick them in the car only to start completely afresh with basically two rookies.

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