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

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  1. Leftie (@leftie) said on 14th December 2011, 23:53

    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.

  2. Ryan (@rgbargie) said on 14th December 2011, 23:59

    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.

  3. matthewf1 (@) said on 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.

  4. Outsider said on 15th December 2011, 1:42

    So looks like Ricciardo will be at RBR for 2013.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 15th December 2011, 2:09

      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.

  5. Anirudh Iyer said on 15th December 2011, 2:07

    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:(

  6. Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 15th December 2011, 2:49

    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.

  7. 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.


  8. Doance (@doance) said on 15th December 2011, 7:43

    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.

  9. KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 15th December 2011, 8:06

    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…

  10. jonchuckle (@jonchuckle) said on 15th December 2011, 8:45

    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…

  11. Ritvik Vinodkumar (@ritvik-vinodkumar) said on 15th December 2011, 9:15

    Another unexpected News!!
    I’m really waiting for Force India’s driver line up now and i cant help but feel there might be another surprising news over there.

  12. Michael counsell said on 15th December 2011, 10:43

    I thought alguesuari put in some great drives and im shocked to see him go. Hopefully he can stay on the grid next season.

  13. nackavich (@nackavich) said on 15th December 2011, 12:44

    As an Australian, I’m pretty excited to see how Ricciardo will perform in a more competitive car. Also, we know Toro Rosso is just a feeder team and they’ll always be looking for the new Vettel, so I never expected Buemi or Alguersuari to be there much longer. And to be honest, they didn’t really perform at the level needed to progress to a more competitive team. Sure they had some great drives and good results, and were fairly evenly matched, but I never thought they’d get better drives than say Renault or Force India.

  14. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 16th December 2011, 2:41

    That’s a shock. I feel bad for both Buemi & Jaime, as for the latter I was expecting him to be in RBR given Webber decides to quit in 2012.I am not taking away anything from Ricciardo and Vergne but I don’t think having two Rookie drivers for a competitive mid-field battle is a good idea. But all the best to these two young guns.

  15. Butch27 (@butch27) said on 16th December 2011, 17:30

    Bad news for me, imho both drivers are pretty good, especially Jaime.

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