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. Wow. I did not see that coming. I expected that maybe one of the Toro Rosso drivers would be shown the door, but not both. I’m massively disappointed for Jaime Alguersuari, though – I don’t think he deserved to get the boot.

  2. Wow. Two weeks ago, we had no French drivers. Now we have three French drivers, and I’m not entirely sure how we got here. With the current state of the grid, France has gone from not being represented at all, to being the second-most represented nation in Formula 1.

    1. Germans 5
      French 3
      Spanish 2
      British 2
      Finnish 2
      Japanese 1
      Mexican 1
      Venezuelan 1
      Brazilian 1
      Italian 1

      At the moment

      For the drivers with out a seat yet:
      Liuzzi (Italian)
      Alguersauri (Spanish)
      Buemi (Swizerland)
      Di Ambrosio (Belgiam)
      Senna and Barrichelo (Brazilian)

      Am I missing someone?

      1. Yeah, Vitaly Petrov.

        1. Oh he doesn´t matter (go runingn for hidding) ;)

          1. I couldn’t be happier with that, finally !!

      2. Australian 2

        Isn’t it only 4 Germans? (Vettel, Rosberg, Schu, Glock) Am I missing someone?

        1. Sutil and probby Hulkenberg

      3. The two Australians?

        1. Oh! sorry…

  3. while it’s true that neither if their current drivers has shown the once-in-a-generation talent that Vettel did, I don’t think either of them have been disgracefully off the pace, and Jaime in the last half of the year showed some true determination, putting the car in places we didn’t expect to see it, which is about all you can legitimately expect when the top 4 teams are so far ahead. I’m not convinced that either of the replacements are going to blow buemi or Jaime out of the water.

    Just because I’m massively cynical, I wonder how much this decision is a reflection of the respective drivers’ talents, and how much is Marko finding a justification for the young driver programme that is the bedrock of his power base. If the system were seen to be failing, then he starts to lose influence in the RBR organisation. (Or, if you prefer, his influence starts to diminish towards where his actual usefulness lies).

    Cynical me also wonders if Alguersari is paying a petty price for getting involved in his own races, failing to make space quickly enough for the favoured son on occasion.

    1. @hairs

      neither if their current drivers has shown the once-in-a-generation talent that Vettel did

      I think both of them did … if you merged them together. Buemi was a decent qualifier but not the best racer, and while Alguersuari never quite had raw qualifying pace by the pound, he was the better racer. If we could add Buemi’s qualifying ability to Alguersuari’s race speed, we would have something close to that once-in-a-generation talent.

      But I’m pretty sure that doing this would violate the laws of science and religion.

  4. Wow.

    I am both surprised and gutted. I particularly champion Alguersuari and I think he’s been great to watch in only his second full season. It seems you can do no right at Toro Rosso anymore. Good luck to the team in retaining 8th in 2012, then.

  5. Very unexpected move here by Toro Rosso.

    We will see if it was the right move in the 1st test.

  6. Good for Ricciardo.
    As for this Vergne guy, if what he said about Webber is true then he FAILed even before starting.

  7. Not happy. I’m sure that Vergne and Ricciardo will do fine but what the hell will happen with Alguersuari and Buemi now?

    4 doesn’t go in 2 but this is just awful. I think 2 careers are over before they had chance to begin.

  8. I’m confused why everyone thinks STR is for finding “the next Mark Webber” – STRs goal is to find “the next Michael Schumacher” – sure Vettel is currently Marko’s golden boy but rest assured as soon as he drops the ball or worse yet moves to Ferrari or Mercedes, Red Bull will want another young, high-performance star in their cars.

    Vettel’s contract is until 2015 which is only three years away. Anything can happen in three years’ time!

    1. I read somewhere that Seb Vettel is not interested in staying at RBR post 2014. So two years for Webbo and Vettel and the RBR line up could be Kimster and Daniel Ricciardo or Vergne

  9. Now that the shock has worn off, there is one thing I’m glad about: Toro Rosso have pulled their finger out. I didn’t like what they were doing last year, placing Ricciardo at HRT. Toro Rosso was created as a kind of audition for future Red Bull drivers, but by placing Ricciardo at HRT, they were kind of setting the team up as a bit of an audition for their own team. If this had continued, drivers would have to audition for an audition.

    What I find particularly telling in all of this is the way that Jean Eric Vergne was promoted straight into Toro Rosso. The team could have easily dropped Buemi in favour of Ricciardo and kept Alguersuari in the team. And possibly sent Vergne elsewhere (as much as I might dislike the idea). But instead, they dropped both their drivers and drafted new ones in their place – but one of them had to go through HRT for “evaluation” first, while the other did not, despite following a remarkably similar path to Formula 1. Both drivers went through Formula Renault 3.5 (they were even team-mates at Tech 1 in 2010). Both drivers came incredibly close to winning the title. Both drivers served as testing and reserve drivers for Toro Rosso. Both drove for Red Bull at the young driver tests, and both were fastest in the years that they ran. The only significant difference between their careers is that Ricciardo went to HRT first, whereas Vergne did not. Unless Dietrich Mateschitz has put his foot down and said “you cannot send drivers to another team any more”, I suspect Vergne will be the favoured son at Toro Rosso next year.

    1. Wrong: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Formula_Renault_seasons#Formula_Renault_2.0_West_European_Cup_season

      In 2008 Daniel won the FR2.0 series with 192 points with his team-mate Jules Eric-Verge placing 4th on 95 points. Daniel had 8 wins to Jules’ zero.

      1. @oblong-cheese – I’m only counting since 2009, when Ricciardo stepped into the F3 Euroseries (Vergne did British F3 in 2010). I’m not counting Formula Renault 2.0 because it doesn’t really mean much. Winning it does not mean you qualify for a superlicence the way winning FR3.5 or Formula 3 do.

  10. STR technical staff won’t be happy as from what I was told recently they all love Jaime Alguersuari & give him a lot of credit for helping improve the car as much of the development this year was done based off his feedback, An area he’s apparently exceptionally good at.

    Jaime is said to be able to go right into the fine detail when talking about what the cars doing out of the track & give very precise, very clear & very accurate feedback.

    1. I remember Martin Brundle talking about it during qualifying for a race – Alguersuari is apparently very good at describing what needs to be done, and he doesn’t waste words doing so.

  11. Hey, i just had a thought and…what if one of them is getting a reserve driver role in the Red Bull team for 2012 with a sight of Webber’s seat and one remains as a reserve for STR to work on a simulator and provide some reference?
    I mean, who else is on the list of RB driver development program ready to step up to F1 next year? Surely Red Bull don’t need to look elsewhere for a driver when they have a bunch already.

  12. Ridiculous. They should have placed Jaime in the 1st seat, with Daniel in the 2nd seat. And Vergne as test driver. And help Buemi find a seat. Toro Rosso have got this completely wrong.

    I hope Jaime can get a seat now, although it looks unlikely. Perhaps he could throw a spanner in the works at Williams? Replacing Barrichello? Or he could drop by at Team Lotus and nick Trulli’s seat or go for a test role? I think he should be a 3rd driver than drive a HRT if I’m honest, although his feedback would benefit them greatly.

    I know it’s a long shot, but could Jaime turn up at Force India, hoping for Nico Hulkenburg to make way?

    As for Seb, I think his career is completely over sadly.

  13. matthewf1 (@)
    15th December 2011, 0:06

    Just been reading a little on wiki..seems Ricciadro and JEV were team mates in Formula Renault 2.0 WEC in 2008, for SG Formula. Ricciardo won the title with 192 points and JEV was fourth with 95 points. Ricciardo got eight wins, JEV got none.

  14. So looks like Ricciardo will be at RBR for 2013.

    1. Certainly not a guarantee of anything, I’m afraid. When Jules Bianchi domianted Formula 3, everyone expected him to set the world on fire. When he got to GP2, the most that could be set for him is that he nearly set a few people on fire. Vergne could easily have been hyper-competitive in Formula Renault, but could just as easily prove to be out of his depth in Formula 1.

      1. Sorry, but who mentioned Vergne? I think its more or less expected Ricciardo will win the intra team battle.

        1. Is it? I think Vergne has a lot of support, not least from Dr Marko. I’d be surprised to see him beaten.

  15. Hope Dr. Mallya brings Jaime on to FI,give him sufficient practice on Friday and once Paul di Resta moves to Mercedes promote Alguersari to the seat alongside The Hulk. I used to love this team as Minardi but not any more:(

    1. The latest talk suggests that Mallya signed Hulkenberg and di Resta for 2012, but changed his mind and is now trying to get Hulkenberg out of his seat and Sutil into it. In that case, Alguersuari’s best bet would be to hope that Nico Hulkenberg walks away from the team.

      1. That’s a big blow to the Hulk.I thought Sutil was headed to Williams-Renault

  16. What the ********? Toro Rosso, you disappoint me.

    I used to like this team, support this team, but they sure have a penchant for shooting themselves in the foot. They had a remarkable improvement over this past season and instead of building on it they choose to start back over again at zero.

    Keith, can we officially go from calling this the silly season to the mad season? The whole paddock seems to have gone insane.

  17. STR’s gotta pick the best drivers for the job, and that’s exactly what they’ve done.. Alguersuari and Buemi had 3 years to prove their worth, they didn’t set the world on fire, they get replaced.. it’s cutthroat but that’s Formula 1.


  18. Well it’s great that Ricciardo is driving for Toro Rosso. Vergne also driving is unexpected. But exciting. Hopefully Ricciardo can beat Vergne next season. Hopefully Toro Rosso have a good car.

  19. Wow.. I really wasn’t expecting that one..

    This does has an upside to it though, I was wondering about Ricciardo and where he’d go for 2012. I can’t pass comment on Vergne, I hope he’s good, but I’ve never seen him…

  20. Three French drivers? Now that’s just too many. ;)

    We’ve only got three, and one doesn’t even have a Union Flag on his overalls…

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