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. It seems the only way to be taken seriously by the Red Bull Driver Academy peoples is too win in the STR. THEN you may be safe in your seat. Maybe. Probably not though.

  2. ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 14th December 2011, 17:00

    It’s not quite as crazy as some may think.

    The positive you have here is that both guys are on pretty even grounds. They’re both starting with the team at the same time. They’ll both be dealing with alot of pressure (knowing they’re basically disposable..). It’ll be a straight up shoot-out between the two!

    I think they’ll be very evenly matched, have a decent season, then be turfed out for two new Red Bull juniors… :)

    • adzz36 (@adzz36) said on 14th December 2011, 17:48

      But where’s the benchmark? Alguersauri was the better driver last year, overall, so if they wanted somebody better, why not bring one rookie in and see how they fare against an existing driver, let alone having a driver that knows how to set up the car to actually enable the STR’s to race at their full level of competitiveness.

      • The Last Pope (@the-last-pope) said on 14th December 2011, 21:52

        Exactly. Their system of bringing in new young drivers to replace the old young drivers in the search for the next Red Bull driver (Webber replacement), is flawed. Both Torro Rosso drivers could infact be driving with more skill than Webber or even Vettel just in a slower car, and nobody would ever know.

        For this system to work they would need to use Vettel and Webber as the benchmark using the same car. Without regular testing this is imposible.

      • bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 15th December 2011, 3:42

        Why do you need to waste one of the teams cars just to have an ordinary driver for a benchmark. Seems a massive waste to me.

        I think STR have been very frank about this. They are looking for the the next Vettel, the driver that special and is clearly on it out of the box.

    • I think Ricciardo will do better than Buemi and Alguersuari ever did (not necessarily in absolute results because that depends on the car).
      As for Vergne, one can’t understate the troubles he will face by being a rookie (he would have to prove that something else like Perez and Ricciardo).

  3. galzo33 (@galzo33) said on 14th December 2011, 17:04

    honestly shocked at this but hermet marko did tell them.

  4. rpiian (@rpiian) said on 14th December 2011, 17:05

    Wow, absolutely stunned. I liked Jaime a lot, I thought 2011 was great for him.

  5. Estesark (@estesark) said on 14th December 2011, 17:08

    I’m devastated at this news.

    I’ve recently been playing as Toro Rosso’s test driver in F1 06 (for the PS2), and I was really hoping I could get a drive for the team. Now it seems that all my hard work was for nothing :(

    Seriously though, I feel somewhat apathetic about both Buemi and Alguersuari – they both seem to be pretty consistent and reasonably quick drivers, but neither got me at all excited about their potential. I was expecting at least one of them to stay on with the team though.

  6. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 14th December 2011, 17:13

    Holy…cow. Red-bull-in-a-china-shop stuff, and really late in the day too. I thought they might change one driver max, or place Ricciardo at Caterham. Good news for Jarno Trulli then?

    Could be good news for sportscars too, with all these experienced F1 drivers available. Surely they won’t all be travelling to all the Grands Prix just to wear team kit and stand around in the garage?

    F1 really needs a 13th team, or dare I say it, a third Ferrari (and Red Bull or Toro Rosso?) with all the old codgers refusing to go away and young ‘uns arriving loaded with cash. I’m surprised we’ve not seen teams like Toro Rosso and Force India picking 2 drivers for each race from a squad of 3.

  7. f1alex (@f1alex) said on 14th December 2011, 17:23

    The first thing that went through my mind when I read the news was “Big mistake”. It’s clear that both Buemi and Alguersuari are very talented drivers, more than deserving of a place in F1.
    I mean, what exactly did Helmut Marko expect from them? Was he seriously expecting one of them to ‘do a Vettel’ and win a race in a car that’s been nowhere the whole year? If that’s what all the Red Bull juniors are expected to do to keep an F1 seat then they may as well install a revolving door…

  8. radu52 (@) said on 14th December 2011, 17:23

    buemi and alguersuari had 3 years ( on average) each to prove what they’ve got. STR want another super talent like vettel, not just a good/great driver. Vettel made an impression in the very first races in 2007 when he ran in top 4-5 for 2 consecutive races ( with a much worse car than STR has now) . He crashed in one, but delivered in the next one. These other 2 didn’t do smth similarin 3 years !

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th December 2011, 17:56

      That STR Vettel had was no worse than the current car. It was the RBR chassis and the Ferrari engine that year was a boost rather than holding them back at the time.

      • celeste (@celeste) said on 14th December 2011, 19:51

        Maybe, but bad them evven Newey said that neither Toro Rosso nor Red Bull had a car to win a race.

        Back them if I remember correctly the higher a Toro Rosso got in qualifying was around 14.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th December 2011, 20:13

          No, the year Vettel got in the team they had been steadily going towards the front of the midfield already. Biggest problem they had in the first half of that year was actualy finishing a race.

          But Liuzzi got into the top 6 as well that year, if I remember right. And even Speed did get the car to finish in the top 10 once (of maybe 3 race finishes!)

  9. KateM (@katem) said on 14th December 2011, 17:27

    If Red Bull didn’t think Buemi and Alguersuari were better bets than Webber after 3 seasons then it was never going to happen. So why keep them?

    I do feel a bit sorry for Jaime though.

  10. FlyingLobster27 said on 14th December 2011, 17:30

    On one hand, the Red Bull Drivers Program IS working, as new talented drivers are joining F1, and, if one of the Toro Rosso drivers had been poor, there would have been no problem replacing him.
    On the other, it ISN’T working, because the drivers they had at STR were both good, and the renewal rate at the top, at RBR, is much slower, so these two good drivers can’t graduate further, and I can’t see whether Red Bull have opened other doors for Alguersuari and Buemi to stay in F1.

    Not to mention that there aren’t many left to open. Will it be a case of one will do a Hülkenberg and test for Force India, and the other taking the second HRT?
    Shame for Jaime and Sebastien, I hope they get drives again, but it was a case of crunching four drivers into two seats, and no seat was freed further up.

  11. Christian B said on 14th December 2011, 17:32

    Formula 1 can be a brutal sport sometimes. I feel bad for Buemi and Alguersuari, they both did a good job this year.

  12. Nixon (@nixon) said on 14th December 2011, 17:34

    Lets hope this is a blessing in disguise for both drivers…

  13. Roald (@roald) said on 14th December 2011, 17:37

    Well, they’re not aiming to win the constructors championship, but they do want to find the most talented driver they can possibly find to get him a seat in the Red Bull team. Algersuari and Buemi, although I liked both, were great drivers in my opinion and a lot of other teams might’ve kept them, but Torro Rosso has a completely different goal than most teams. So, I understand the decision.

    That is not to say I really, really dislike the team as a whole. I dislike the fact that there are two teams with a Red Bull livery on the grid and I hate the way Red Bull uses one of the remaining 11 teams for their own good. If by some miracle the Torro Rosso team ever get on top of things, all the good personnel will be hauled over to Red Bull anyway. It’s a team without the ambition to win and that annoys me to no end. I want 12 COMPETING teams, not 3 teams fighting it out with the rest of the grid slots filled up with rookies and test drivers. That’s the way we’re heading anyway, with Red Bull lending their gear material to Caterham, McLaren to Marussia and Ferrari taking an ever increasing interest in Sauber (engines, Perez, leaving FOTA). Personally, I can’t wait for the day Torro Rosso gets sold, changes it’s name and it’s livery and cuts ties with Red Bull. Let them handle their own business, GP2 exists for the sole purpose of getting rookies in touch of things and FIA should interrupt for the sake of the sport.

    • Roald (@roald) said on 14th December 2011, 17:40

      Plus I should’ve mentioned the ridiculous system of buying Ricciardo a seat at HRT so he can earn some experience to get in the Torro Rosso car, which is meant to make him earn experience in the first place. That’s 3 teams involved in getting one of them above the rest in the standing, so by that logic we might really see the trend where there are just 3 or 4 teams running business in the future.

      I know dominance is part of the sport, but so is competition. If my worst fears become reality, we might have just given Ferrari their precious third car and be done with it.

    • f1alex (@f1alex) said on 14th December 2011, 17:44

      Completely agree.

      I really dislike the way the team is managed as a whole to be honest. Yes, they have helped make a number of drivers F1 careers (Sebastian Vettel being the obvious example) by giving them a shot at F1. But they have also played a part in destroying the chances of some pretty talented drivers get a drive somewhere else in F1 by dropping them mid season (Scott Speed and Sebastien Bourdais). I just hat the way that the Redbull driver program, although giving many drivers the opportunity to drive in F1, has stopped a number of other drivers from progressing by dumping them so unceremoniously mid season.

  14. AndrewMansell (@andrewmansell) said on 14th December 2011, 17:39

    This move clearly shows how Red Bull-Toro Rosso works. I think neither jaime nor sebastian showed what the best team needs now, so they drop and come up with 2 new faces.
    I think this thing should be regulated, I don’t like big teams having a B team.
    A shame for both jaime and sebastian, they had a great year and deserve a seat in 2012.

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 14th December 2011, 17:54

      Spot on. It clearly shows that Torro Rosso aren’t a competing team – they only exist to help Red Bull.

      This decision has been made purely for Red Bull’s benefit as it will destroy Torro Rosso’s chance of progressing next season in their own right.

  15. gabal (@gabal) said on 14th December 2011, 17:40

    Red Bull Driver Development Program can be brutal. As Speed, Liuzzi and Bourdais have learned before. Red Bull has so many young drivers in various series they could buy HRT and rename it “Toro Rojo” and still be forced to flush down the toilet every driver that doesn’t look like another Vettel in the making.
    It is their team and they are calling the shots but you can’t help but feel sorry for Alguersuari and Buemi.

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