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. JPedroCQF1 (@joao-pedro-cq) said on 14th December 2011, 17:46

    Firstly, this is a very bad decision. They should at have mantained one driver from this year.

    Secondly, do you who will run with what number in Toro Rosso?

  2. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 14th December 2011, 17:49

    I dont get this descision, i just dont. They both did a great job last year. Even if STR can produce a car like last year can these two match the perfomance and experience

  3. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 14th December 2011, 17:50

    I am completly astounded that they haven’t kept Alguersuari… What a massive shame for the sport that drivers like Liuzzi, Maldonado and Massa can get seats but Alguersuari can’t. Absolutely shocking.

  4. Leftie (@leftie) said on 14th December 2011, 17:51

    Algersuari (with a little of RB backing) to Hispania then replacing Liuzzi?..

  5. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 14th December 2011, 17:54

    I totally understand this decision. As much as I like Buemi and Jaime, they’ve never really shown anything that might suggest they’ll become anything more than simply competent mid field drivers. Other teams would do well to pick one of them up, but Red Bull want a driver to replace Webber when he decides to go. Can anyone really see Buemi or Alguersuari in a front running car? Daniel and Jean-Eric arrive with far more glittering CVs than Seb or Jaime ever did and have better long term prospects. Better to give them enough time to prove themselves rather than letting them stagnate in the feeder series for another year

    The 2012 grid is shaping up to be one of the most talented around and whilst I’ll miss Seb and Jaime, I can’t help but be excited as to what Ricciardo and Vergne can achieve next year…

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 14th December 2011, 17:55

      “Red Bull want a driver to replace Webber when he decides to go”

      And there is no problem with that providing you’re happy with Torro Rosso existing solely to help Red Bull.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th December 2011, 18:12

      I saw this one coming at least since that Helmut Marko interview where he talked about how both STR drivers are doing a solid job but no miracles.

      Makes perfect sense from Red Bull’s point of view. Although, if the drivers found out only recently, they must now be completely gutted, as there is not much they can now do to stay on the grid.

    • I Love The Pope said on 14th December 2011, 19:32

      I suspect that the new Aussie and the new Frenchy will not do anything Seb or Jaime could have done. Its rearranging the cars on a sinking ferry boat.

      Also, without Vettel, RBR does not win. There will be no one to match him until he is done, when RBR withdraws from the sport and concentrates on making their terrible beverages even more terrible.


      • The Last Pope (@the-last-pope) said on 14th December 2011, 22:29

        There is no way to know how good Vettel is right now. He hasn’t had a teammate that has previously proven themselves a top driver at another team. There are questions about what has happened to Webber’s performances this year and his car (no.2 driver ?). Its possible had Jaime had Webber’s car and equal status we could have seen a different new drivers champion.

        • Dragon (@dragon) said on 15th December 2011, 9:52

          Er…ridiculous. Webber’s had a poor season, but he’s still a top class driver. I feel desperately sorry for Jaime, and think he’s a super talent who deserves a seat, but he’s still a long way off either RBR driver at the moment in terms of pure pace and racecraft. If you understand the sport well, you don’t need to have seen every driver in the RB7 to be able to tell what they’re capable of. Vettel is supreme at the moment, car or no car.

          • The Last Pope (@the-last-pope) said on 15th December 2011, 20:28

            ? You’re saying Vettel could take the 2011 torro rosso and win with it??

            Webber struggled with the pirrelli tyres for the whole year. Alguersuari did as well but managed to adapt his driving after a few races to suit the tyres and lead the team from then on. Webber isn’t a top driver he has never really beaten a good team mate, He was outclassed by Heidfeld at Williams, Beaten by a halfhearted Coulthard.

            Vettel is good but he is no god. Put Alonso or Hamilton (who have been tested together in equal status) in the other red bull and we would see how good he really is.

          • Dragon (@dragon) said on 16th December 2011, 4:19

            Webber flogged Coulthard at RBR in ’08, when the car was finally reliable. And he beat Heidfeld at Williams, despite both drivers suffering major reliability problems.
            Also, Vettel took the ’08 STR and won. And it wasn’t a great car.

          • The Last Pope (@the-last-pope) said on 16th December 2011, 13:49

            @Dragon Heidfeld was well ahead of Webber before he got injured twice and missed the final 5 races. In my book that means Heidfeld beat Webber. Coulthard had pretty much given up already in ’08 and even he says he wasn’t that great of a driver. The ’08 Torro Rosso was a good car and Vettel made the most of it, Boardais though isn’t much cop and his bad performances made Vettel’s look even better. Vettel really has never had a top driver as a team mate in F1 for a benchmark.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 18th December 2011, 1:51

            @the-last-pope – I’d say Vettel has done about as well against Webber, (who definitely isn’t as bad as you make out) as anyone else possibly could. And Webber wasn’t beaten by a “half-hearted” Coulthard, when Webber outscored him by quite a bit over the two seasons.

  6. Tango (@tango) said on 14th December 2011, 17:55

    Woaw, unexpected !

    Now we have three Frenchmen (partly from Monaco and Switzerland admitedly) , will qualification be free to air again in France ? (Had to pay the odd 30€ to watch qualis and the odd practice session on eurosport this year).

  7. This is a surprise.

    I had expected Toro Rosso to make a change as they had the same line-up for two and a half seasons now and I remember that when Alguersuari joined in mid 2009 the team had a reputation for changing their drivers more often than other teams.

    For me neither Buemi nor Alguersuari had shown enough to be an obvious choice as to be the one driver retained if the team had decided to drop one of them but I didn’t expect them both to be dropped.

    I remember someone mentioning lately that while neither driver had disgraced themselves they also hadn’t shown the potential to join Red Bull if Webber decided to retire at the end of 2012. Perhaps this was the main factor in the decision.

    I don’t see how this decision could be in the best interests of Toro Rosso as the drivers they will start next season with will only have half a season of F1 racing and some limited testing between them.

    Personally I think it is best to not change both drivers at the same time and at least have an experienced driver in one of the race seats.

    If this is the end of the F1 careers for either Buemi or Alguersuari when they are both still so young, Buemi being 23 and Alguersuari only 21, it reminds me of something Brundle said a while back that in his day a driver would only make his F1 debut in their mid to late 20’s yet now we see drivers whose time in F1 is at an end before that age.

  8. schooner (@schooner) said on 14th December 2011, 18:15

    A bit surprised to see both of them go. I suppose this has to mean that Tost and Marko don’t feel that either driver would be suitable for promotion over to RB. Tough old business, F1.

  9. tobinen (@tobinen) said on 14th December 2011, 18:18

    Marko’s Red Bull driver conveyor belt continues…

  10. RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 14th December 2011, 18:35

    I saw this coming from the second Vergne got a chance at Red Bull. Ricciardo was never gonna sit in a HRT for another season with the great reputation he came with. Vernge talked a good game after his test and Buemi for me has had plenty of time to prove himself and done nothing.

    The idea of STR is to find world champion drivers and weed out those who are ‘only’ race winners. Even from day 1 at RB, it was the Klien and Liuzzi revolving door. Algesauri was good this year but obviously was seen to be on a level peg with DR and JEV. After 2 and a half seasons that is not enough.

    He had to be good enough to move MW aside and he was seen not to. Crumbs said the biscuit as it was stood on.

    I think this is the ruthless approach more teams should take ie out Trulli, Massa and Barrichello for a start. As for JA, he must be a shoe in for HRT, if not it’s not the end of the world, now he has 20 seats to choose from, not just the Red Bull 4.

    • f1alex (@f1alex) said on 14th December 2011, 18:46

      But that would be assuming that every team had vacant seats, and that every team wanted him…

      • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 14th December 2011, 19:01

        Of course, @f1alex, but my point is that there are more seats at all other teams than just the red bull 4. I personally can’t see a ‘current’ red bull programme member ever being allowed to sign for Ferrari or McLaren, as that would just be a waste of the scheme. Atm it seems that its gonna be Vettel + graduate, from 2013/14 onwards. Whereas, if ALG has a strong season at say HRT, he could get a drive at Sauber or Williams in the future and progress to another top team. That is the only thing I dislike about the RBJD programme.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 14th December 2011, 19:02

      I could perhaps live with that approach, but would have liked the drivers’ managers to have negotiated a harsh, and public, penalty to Red Bull for leaving it so late to decide, giving their drivers virtually no change to try and win another seat.

      More reason to not like Red Bull as an operation, for me (which isn’t to say I don’t appreciate their drivers or team effort, but Horner usually bores or rubs me the wrong way, and Marko is an instant-dislike-engine).

      • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 14th December 2011, 19:30

        @bosyber, I don’t care for Horner and especially, gods-gift-to-talent-spotting Marko. It is harsh on JA but I don’t think Buemi had any chance of keeping his seat beyond 2011 tbh. The other 2 are just seen as a different league from him and Vernge took his place. I also think the only reason DR drove for HRT was because he was guaranteed a seat at STR in 2012. IMO, JA still has the same number of seats now that he did 3 months ago, the only difference is that he is a better driver now. Around May, he was not up to standard but has then improved I think. Caterham, HRT and Williams are the only seats left for him now, he was never in with a chance at Lotus, FI or Sauber.

  11. Christopher (@twiinzspeed) said on 14th December 2011, 18:36

    Maybe Jaime can secure the #3 seat at RBR as they don’t have a reserve driver listed. He deserves tobe in a race seat, but that would be a good fall back. Tost kinda ticks me off. I like the team because of the Minardi link, but he (Tost) always seems to treat people like crap.

  12. mrgrieves (@mrgrieves) said on 14th December 2011, 18:50

    Wow thats a bit of a shock to end the day with but as i’ve read through it its true that Torro Rosso are there to find the next gen Red bull drivers and hard to see either Algersuari or Buemi being top drawer.

    Didnt think we’d see Buemi there after i hardly noticed him this season. Never showed any star quality. Would nt be surprised to see him out from F1 for good.

    Algersuari on the other had ha always looked like the better driver, especially this season once he got on top of the tyres. I thought he had really come on and had done more than enough to secure the no1 seat along side Riccardo who deserves a shot in a decent car afer his training in the HRT.

    Have not seen nearly enough of Jean-Eric Vergne to judge but Red Bull Jr’s dont tend to got the GP2 route do they but still expected to see him test rather than drive.

    Hope to see Algesari in f1 again. Expecting to see him in the HRT since they’ve gone spain on the brain

  13. Boy, Red Bull sure has a luxury problem as far as rookies go. However, this only shows just why it would have been better to call Alguersuari up to Red Bull rather than feed the corpse of Webber’s career another year.

    • Estesark (@estesark) said on 14th December 2011, 21:17

      In the long term, that might have been a good move – if Webber leaves or retires at the end of 2012, Red Bull aren’t guaranteed to have a proven young driver ready and waiting to take his place – but in the short term, I can’t imagine that Alguersuari would have done a better job in 2012 than Webber will. I think your reference to “the corpse of his career” was a bit harsh.

  14. Wow I am thrilled about this move! I feel sorry for Buemi and Algersuari, they were both doing a solid job, but still nothing great.
    I hope they can find them somewhere else for 2012.
    I expect Vergne and Ricciardo to produce a real spectacle, how good they are no one knows yet, but I think it is going to be a fierce battle for Webber’s seat which should be free in a few years.
    I am really looking forward to see how they stack up against each other.
    Yes two rookies in a team is a brave move by TR, but I think it is going to be a lot more exciting to watch then see a rookie desperately try to hang on to an experienced driver who hasn’t really done much him self.
    Two rookies might not be the best way for TR to collect points, but I am sure it is going to be a fun battle to watch.

    • The Last Pope (@the-last-pope) said on 14th December 2011, 22:44

      How do you know they weren’t both doing an amazing job and putting the car much higher than someone like Webber having a poor season could have done?

      • I don’t, and no one knows if Chandock would actually run rings around Alonso in the same car, or if if the HRT is actually the fastest car on the grid with very slow drivers.
        But was I impressed by Webber this year? No not at all.
        I said I wasn’t impressed much by any of the TR drivers. They were good, but not great.
        I think a new shoot-out for Webber’s seat in TR with two rookies (sort off…) would be great to watch.

  15. jonnyw360f1 (@jonnyw360f1) said on 14th December 2011, 19:09

    Whilst not the most ceremonious way of doing it, I fail to see how this can be anything but good for Toro Rosso. Whilst I’m sure he’s a nice guy, Buemi has shown in his three years of Formula One that he is a mediocre driver; he can have flashes of speed here and there, but I doubt he would be championship material. I am a bit gutted for Alguersuari, after his demonstration of race pace (if not over one lap). Hopefully he will end up in the second HRT seat and can then work his way back up. I can see Vergne doing better than Ricciardo, with Ricciardo getting replaced in a couple of years time, and Vergne going to Red Bull when Webber leaves. Or I might be completely wrong. Past experience on these matters has shown I probably will be.

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