Buemi becomes reserve driver for Red Bull

2012 F1 season

Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Buemi lost his Toro Rosso seat at the end of 2011

Red Bull have announced Sebastien Buemi will be their reserve driver for 2012.

Buemi drove for Toro Rosso from 2009 to 2011, but was dropped at the end of last season.

Buemi said: “It?óÔéĽÔäós good to remain with Red Bull for another year and have this opportunity with the World Championship winning team.

“I would prefer to be driving at the races of course, but working with Red Bull Racing on the development of their car and providing them with feedback throughout the season is the next best thing.”

Christian Horner added: “It was entirely logical for Sebastien to continue with Red Bull having been a member of the Junior Team since 2004.

“He already knows the team well from his time with us in 2008 and has gained significant race experience over the past three years. He will complete important test and simulation work for us throughout the year and will be in attendance at each grand prix.”

Update: Toro Rosso have confirmed Buemi will also be their reserve driver.

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129 comments on Buemi becomes reserve driver for Red Bull

  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th January 2012, 9:01

    I must confess, I haven’t been to wild about Buemi. He’s said he’s got his eye on Mark Webber’s seat for 2013 (personally, I think he’s been too distracted by this idea, and it has affected his racing), but I don’t think he can cut it at the top level. Maybe if Red Bull need him to stand in for a driver for a race or two, but I just don’t think he’s championship material. If Webber leaves the team and/or the sport at the end of the year, then I’d look to Red Bull promoting one of the current Toro Rosso drivers, or making a play for someone from outside the team.

  2. Tango (@tango) said on 5th January 2012, 9:02

    If Alguersari doesn’t get a seat, it will really look like a slap in the face.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th January 2012, 9:12

      @tango I wonder if that chat with Helmut Marko in Korea did for his chances with them.

      • Tango (@tango) said on 5th January 2012, 9:36

        Yes, sometimes you really would like to be a fly on the wall. I wouldn’t bet on any outcome though.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th January 2012, 9:40

          Can someone please refresh my memory? What conversation was this?

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th January 2012, 9:45

            @prisoner-monkeys After he ‘held up’ Vettel in practice. It’s on the 2011 DVD, bit more about it here:

            “He’s done it again” – official 2011 F1 season DVD reviewed

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th January 2012, 9:54

            Right. Thank you for that. I remember now.

            Honestly, I don’t think “holding up” Vettel in practice would be enough to job Alguersuari of the chance to drive for Red Bull some day. I certainly think Helmut Marko is petty enough to hold it against him, but no doubt cooler heads within the team would prevail.

            I wonder … Mark Webber is currently involved in a youg driver initiative with Christian Horner. Arden International’s GP3 team is known as “MW Arden”, with the “MW” part standing for “Mark Webber”. If Webber retires at some point in the near future, I’d be interested to see him take over from Helmut Marko as director of the Young Driver Program. I can’t say as if Marko would be for the idea (quite the opposite, no doubt), but I certainly do think that the program would be much stronger under Webber’s leadership.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 5th January 2012, 10:50

            I must say, that what Marko says, and the way he ends the discussion with “we don’t accept that” reminds me of a situation in real life with a German important figure in the company I worked for.

            I would be suprised if it did not get his file marked as “finished at Red Bull” after that.

            Not to say that the other arguments for ditching the both of them anyhow did not prevail, but still. Also I have long had the impression that Marko had more regard for Buemi than for Alguersuari anyway.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th January 2012, 10:55

            I don’t think Marko has that much influence at Red Bull. If he did, Alguersuari would have known in advance that the end was near. And if he lost his seat because of it, he would have said something about it by now.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 5th January 2012, 11:02

            I think he does, although as said, the more important matter was probably the desicion on weather to make a bet on fresh talents to find the next Vettel+write off the current STR line-up vs. giving either one or both of them another year as there are worse drivers

            I think it was pretty clear from what Alguersuari wrote in his reaction, that they had severed ties with him, be it on “friendly” terms. What on earht makes you think it would be a good move for him to upset the Red Bull people with any kind of outburst like you propose PM?

          • Tango (@tango) said on 5th January 2012, 11:05

            I still hope the conversation went beyond the minor incident. But I do belive that it may have been an opportunity for Dr MARKO to start undermining a driver he didn’t wish to keep (but with no real reason not to do so). I really wonder what was said.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th January 2012, 11:07

            If Alguersuari is out of Toro Rosso, and if he’s not going to be Red Bull’s testing and reserve driver, then he’s probably not a part of the Red Bull development program anymore. If that’s the case, what does he have to lose by speaking out against them? Even if he signed a contract that prevented him from speaking out against the team, he is no longer bound by that contract. What on earth could Red Bull/Helmut Marko do to him?

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 5th January 2012, 11:20

            Sure enough PM, but Red Bull is a big and influential player in motorsports. So if Alguersueri wants to continue racing, would it not be wiser not to make an “enemy” of them?
            I quite respect him for taking it as it is, parting without animosity and moving on.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th January 2012, 11:31

            Well, we’re assuming that Alguersuari’s file was torn up by Marko shortly after he was chewed out for holding up Vettel. If Marko didn’t disqualifying him from a role with Red Bull then, Alguersuari has no reason to speak out against them.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 5th January 2012, 11:36

            we’re assuming that Alguersuari’s file was torn up by Marko shortly after he was chewed out for holding up Vettel.

            – that’s you putting assumptions in others words there.
            I wrote that Marko will have decided on his “vote” there, but that the arguments about where to take the development program would have prevailed.

            He could still be higlighting that incident, or the late desicion or whatever saying it was unfair etc. Instead he thanked Red Bull for supporting him in getting 2 years of F1 experience under his belt. A very mature reaction, and I have no doubt the right one.

          • Enigma (@enigma) said on 5th January 2012, 13:04

            @prisoner-monkeys Webber being in charge of Red Bull’s young drivers programme? I’d very much like to see that when he retires from racing.

          • celeste (@celeste) said on 5th January 2012, 14:23

            @prisoner-monkeys last year Webber gave a declaration that the moment that he choose to retire from F1 he will not be envolve at all because he doesn´t like politics…

          • celeste (@celeste) said on 5th January 2012, 15:04

            BTW @Enigma isn´t DC position related to advice and guidance for young drivers in RBR

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 5th January 2012, 12:25

        that demonstrate how much influence Helmet marko has on red bull & also that he doesn’t like Alguersuari for obvious reasons Vettel was already World champion in Corea & even if Alguersuari held him back that was in a practise session
        Imagine if Alguersuari didn’t held back Vettel would he still be part of the red bull driver program
        during the first part of the year Buemi was always confident of his remaining in red bull i remember his statement “i have the speed i have nothing to worry about i have a contract until 2013 he’s (Alguersuari) the one that should be worried ”
        this is really unfair because Alguersuari did a grate job this year & he was improving especially in the second part of the year hard luck for him i hope red bull will regret their decision

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th January 2012, 12:38

          @tifoso1989

          Imagine if Alguersuari didn’t held back Vettel would he still be part of the red bull driver program

          We have no evidence that Alguersuari was removed from the driver program because of the incident in Korea. If he was dropped because of it, then Jean-Eric Vergne would likely have made his debut at the next race in India. I can see no reason why Red Bull would be upset enough with Alguersuari to drop him, only to postpone it until the end of the season – especially given how eager they were for Vergne to get some track time.

          • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 5th January 2012, 14:36

            that was exactly my point the decision was made before the incident & even without the incident they will remove Alguersuari a all costs
            i watched a French TV show about Formula 1 & the TV presenter said that the CEO of Renault told him that he is pushing for french drivers in F1 & that he will use all his influence to help them
            the result know is 2 french drivers (grojean & vergne) in 2 teams powered by Renault engines & we all know the type of relation betweeen red bull & Renault so i think this is the main reason why Jean Eric Vergne is having a seat & the victim in this case was Alguersuari

          • ivz (@ivz) said on 6th January 2012, 2:36

            @Prisoner Monkeys I like the idea of Webber replacing Marco. For a long time now I have not liked Marco, he reminds me of an old school principal lol. He is very narrow minded, and feels that his way is the only way.
            But I think Webber said once he retires he will step away from F1 all together, which is a shame, coz I think he would be really valuable to Red Bull.

      • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 5th January 2012, 12:59

        I’d actually respect Alguersuari more for at least having the tenacity to ‘discuss’ it. Nothing wrong with a bit of fighting spirit.

      • UKFan (@) said on 5th January 2012, 18:24

        That small piece of film revealed all about the Red Bull racing team, I was very dissapointed with Alguersuaris reaction he reacted like a servant he didnt really questioned Helmut just shows that he knew that he was just working for red bull not toro rosso

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th January 2012, 19:43

          @ukfanatic Looked to me like Alguersuari did try to explain his point of view but Marko wasn’t interested in hearing him out.

          • hays33d (@hays33d) said on 5th January 2012, 20:51

            To me it was obvious that Marko expected Alguersuari to accept being chewed out, admit he was wrong and apologize. When Marko didn’t get that, he was visibly annoyed. I’m sure he sees him as a “kid” still.

            As for the issue of “did this incident get Alguersuari booted?”, I don’t think it helped his situation, but everyone needs to remember we don’t see everything that happens behind the scenes. Alguersuari could have a pattern of denying blame for other issues (making excuses) and Marko’s reaction was due to a history of it. I’m not saying that’s the actual case, but these things are rarely black and white and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were other things behind the scenes that RB was not thrilled about with Alguersuari.

          • UKFan (@) said on 7th January 2012, 18:27

            yes he did, but not enough wouldnt you try harder to defend your point, I think we agree that he couldnt let Vettel pass in that situation, but he settled like he accepted what he had made or felt guilty, he acted like he already knew that he should had drifted to the dirty side of the corner and let Vettel pass and hope he didnt had an accident with the wall or another driver that he could avoid because of the nature of that sector of the track.

    • wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 5th January 2012, 9:59

      @Tango I am shocked as well.

    • sid_prasher (@) said on 5th January 2012, 13:52

      I my opinion (which counts for nothing), Algersuari was a better driver than Buemi and at 21 he has plenty of time to make a return…

      • UKFan (@) said on 5th January 2012, 18:27

        I my opinion (which counts for nothing), Algersuari was a better driver than Buemi and at 21 he has plenty of time to make a return…

        Which counts for nothing…..

        Statistically Buemi finished first in 2 of the 3 seasons I cant tell who is better driver but just judging speed I would go for Buemi if I were too judge reliability or tactics I would put Alguersuari first

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 5th January 2012, 18:48

          I think you can discount a season where one of the drivers was parachuted in late and only finished 3 races. So Buemi beat Alguersuari once in two season, but not most recently, and actually lost last year by a large margin.

  3. t3x (@t3x) said on 5th January 2012, 9:05

    He is probably hopping for Mark or Sebastien to break a leg :)

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 5th January 2012, 10:53

      @t3x i rather think Buemi is glad to know he has a steadfast place next year, and will be in the paddock to grab any chance of a drive for the time after next year now.

      Or Red Bull will start using him as a regular test driver and simulator driver, like McLaren had Pedro de la Rosa. And certainly he will grab any chance of filling in in case one of the Red Bull drivers (RBR or STR) cannot attend for whatever reasons.

    • UKFan (@) said on 5th January 2012, 18:28

      I bet that was the first thing Buemi said to his new collegues in 2012. Just break a leg.

    • Solo (@solo) said on 14th January 2012, 15:53

      I imagine Buemi will be giving Mark a new bike for a present.

  4. raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 5th January 2012, 9:14

    Not many people want their own legs broken…

  5. Tim Katz (@timkatz) said on 5th January 2012, 9:16

    About as impressive as becoming an admiral in the Luxembourg Navy.

  6. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 5th January 2012, 9:18

    Logical choice in my book. He has been solid if not spectacular in his time at STR and it will give him a chance to stay fresh in the minds of potential employers.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th January 2012, 9:33

      He has been solid if not spectacular in his time at STR

      But he needs to be spectacular. Formula 1 is so competitive that being good isn’t good enough – you need to be great.

      • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 5th January 2012, 9:37

        Not if his destiny is to be Boobens 3.0

      • I doubt he needed to be spectacular to get a webber seat in 2013. RB need no. 2 driver along with Vettle. Alguersauri may have been threat to Vettle and after Korea he is no way number 2 :P

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th January 2012, 10:12

          Like any other team, Red Bull need the two best drivers available to them if they want to win World Constructors’ Championships. The likes of McLaren and Ferrari do not rest o their laurels – when someone gets the drop on them, they fight to make up the difference. Red Bull cannot simply assume that Vettel will win World Drivers’s Championships on his own; they need someone who can back him up. The likes of Helmut Marko may not be keen on putting someone in the car who can threaten Vettel, but the minute he plays favourites and it costs the team, he’ll likely be out of a job.

          • Wish it will happen very soon!

          • Mike (@mike) said on 5th January 2012, 11:29

            Do you honestly think they want a guy who can challenge Vettel as their second driver?

            They don’t need the two best drivers, and they have proved it two years in a row now.

            Oh, and secondly… Drivers are only “great” because they look “great” in comparison to other drivers.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th January 2012, 11:45

            Do you honestly think they want a guy who can challenge Vettel as their second driver?

            I think Helmut Marko is the only person who cares about that. If they took, say, Hamilton, and he beat Vettel, what does it matter? Hamilton won the title for Red Bull. His having come up through the ranks by way of McLaren won’t change his achievements for Red Bull.

            And what happens if Vettel should do what Schumacher did in 1999 and miss a few races through injury or illness? Red Bull would need their second driver to step up.

          • vjanik said on 5th January 2012, 13:51

            PM, the WDC is always won by a single driver. Maybe you meant WCC in your comment.

            and for the WCC you dont need two first class drivers. you need one, and the other one to be good enough and consistent.

            Webber had a miserable year in 2011. he was completely outclassed by Vettel and the team still won the WCC. Same with Ferrari back in the days. Why would you change that formula by introducing an unknown element? Unless they start struggling, I wouldnt change anything in that team.

            McLaren have a different view and it worked for them with Prost and Senna, but they haven’t won a constructors title since 1998. (And their philosophy is to have the two best drivers available)

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 5th January 2012, 19:01

            Not a great argument, vjanik, because the the last time they had two top drivers and a car that can be debated as being at least joint fastest was 2007, when they did score enough points for the championship had they not been disqualified.

            And because they had two good driver in 05 they came very close then- had Montoya not taken a while to get up to speed (i.e. had he been an equal to Kimi all the way through rather than just at the end) then they would have likely won the WCC.

            Having one superior driver works- but only if you have a car miles faster than everybody else or if the other cars are the same pace also without two equal drivers.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th January 2012, 15:25

          Alguersauri may have been threat to Vettle and after Korea he is no way number 2

          Four of his seven points finishes were from that 18th place, where he simply drives past cars he should have outqualified with an extra set of tyres. At Red Bull he wouldn’t even have been a threat to Webber.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 5th January 2012, 10:55

        I don’t think he needs to be spectacular or special to do the job of 3rd driver just in case and simulator driver.

        For that job, as @steph mentioned in the discussion on the forum, it is enough to know that he has experience, enough speed for F1 and is consistent.

      • Chalky (@chalky) said on 5th January 2012, 11:39

        But he needs to be spectacular. Formula 1 is so competitive that being good isn’t good enough – you need to be great.

        Fully agree. He’ll have to be careful he doesn’t end up with a de la Rosa type of career too if Webber stays or is replaced by someone else.

        Part you envies F1 drivers. But then imagine you get to F1, and you find that no matter how hard you try you are always that small percentage off being spectacular.

        What do you do? Keep going blindly hoping that you’ll get sponsorship to keep you in F1 or do you resign to the fact that you’ll have to go into some other category.
        Or drive like a madman and wait to get lucky in a FW14B.

        Only a few will ever be spectacular, but Red Bull are a top team and should rightly be only picking top drivers.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 5th January 2012, 11:51

          Fully agree. He’ll have to be careful he doesn’t end up with a de la Rosa type of career too if Webber stays or is replaced by someone else.

          – would that be really a bad career then?
          Pedro was part of several teams, he drove a McLaren in races and he has been in the sport for a long time now and has had stints racing for Sauber, and now for HRT next year.
          Sure, its better to be driving in the races, for a top team but if you know its not going to be, then I would say that being part of such a team and once in a while getting a chance in a race is not worse than giving up on F1.

  7. Girts (@girts) said on 5th January 2012, 9:22

    If I was a racing driver, I would rather drive sportscars or touring cars, then be an F1 reserve driver, knowing that the opportunities to drive a car would be very limited (no driving in FP1 sessions I guess?). But this is obviously the only way Buemi can stay in F1 and retain some hopes to get a race seat again in the future as he most probably cannot go back to GP2 as Grosjean did.

    Anyway, good luck Seb.

    • Deurmat (@deurmat) said on 5th January 2012, 16:23

      I agree, also Di Resta made more money driving DTM than he did last year driving F1.

      • hays33d (@hays33d) said on 5th January 2012, 20:56

        I think he’s making the right move staying in F1. He could make more money elsewhere, but F1 has more potential upside in terms of money later if his career gets back on track with another F1 seat opportunity.

        Plus it’s not like he’s old. He’s still young. Plenty of time to jump to other racing series if this doesn’t work out.

  8. adzz36 (@adzz36) said on 5th January 2012, 9:25

    Why? Unless they think he did a good enough job at toro rosso to take the second rb seat next year. But surely Alguersauri showed more promise? And surely giving him one more year at str would be better preparation for a 2013 rb seat. And if they don’t see him as a potential race driver for them I don’t see why they should bother keeping him on their books.

  9. plutoniumhunter (@plutoniumhunter) said on 5th January 2012, 9:28

    So would this be regarded as a promotion or a demotion?

  10. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 5th January 2012, 9:36

    Good news. Should anything happen to either of the Red Bull drivers, I suppose, they went for experience concerning the 2 former Toro Rosso drivers. I’m more of a Alguersuari fan, but I’m just glad that one of them have found a seat, somewhere. Third driver in the best team going – and where one driver is leaving in the next couple of years (perhaps) isn’t all that bad.

  11. Joel Holland (@jholland) said on 5th January 2012, 9:42

    If ever a man was born to be a test and reserve driver it’s Sebastien Buemi.

    • d3v0 (@d3v0) said on 5th January 2012, 17:56

      @ Joel-Holland I disagree. He had the most or second most competitive overtakes, regularly out-qualified his team mate, and lost his seat in a team known for having a revolving door. I see him in a race seat at RBR in 2013 unless one of the newer guys (Ricc or JEV) show some real gusto

      • STR don’t really have a revolving door: Buemi was there for three years and Alguersuari two and a half. If a door only revolves every 30 months it’s not really befitting of the title ‘revolving’. HRT have a revolving door

        If Buemi ends up in a Red Bull full-time I, and I’m sure a lot of other observers, will be stunned. The only reason to do it would be to give Vettel an easy ride, and I don’t think they want that. I think they want someone who can challenge and even beat Vettel, thus proving the RB driver programme to be the best thing (ever – even better than sliced bread). Buemi isn’t that man.

  12. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 5th January 2012, 10:01

    So no place for Alguersuari except that he have the money with him & HRT have a talk with him.

  13. sandy (@sandy) said on 5th January 2012, 10:21

    So if riccardio and vergne dont live up to expectations,buemi could be vettel’s team mate next season..or will webber still be with redbull?

    • sandy (@sandy) said on 5th January 2012, 10:32

      meant ricciardo

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th January 2012, 10:42

      No, because Red Bull aren’t limited to their own driver program (which, for some bizarre reason, people seem to think they are). If Webber leaves the team or retires from the sport for 2013, Red Bull will take the best driver available to them. From anywhere on the grid or in a junior category. If that driver is not someone who is a part of the established young driver program, then that’s too bad – Red Bull evidently will not have thought enough of them to promote them to the parent team.

      • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 5th January 2012, 10:44

        Doesn’t mean Buemi’s out of the frame

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th January 2012, 10:52

          Oh, of course not. I’m just saying that when it comes time for Red Bull to take a new driver, they will take the best driver available, regardless of whather or not he is a part of their driver program.

          • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 5th January 2012, 10:55

            Best driver available? Not so sure on that. Driver that best fits their criteria? Absolutely.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th January 2012, 11:00

            I would argue that the driver that best fits their criteria is the best driver available.

            If you’re suggesting Helmut Marko will push for a second-tier driver who will not threaten Vettel, I very much doubt Red Bull go for it. They simply cannot assume that Vettel will keep winning titles, and that he will win often enough to secure the World Constructors’ Championship with or without a team-mate who regualrly scores points. The minute Marko chooses as lesser driver and it costs the team is the minute he’ll be joining that driver in the unemployment queue at the job office.

  14. ferrari4life said on 5th January 2012, 10:53

    Hmmmm… Webber better watch out. Soon he might be training in his replacement. Although, i dont think he has proven himself. Heck i have mad respect for algersuari(sp?) so why not him. I am totally puzzled by this decision. There was several drivers they could have picked senna/heidfeld/sutil/hulkenberg/algersuari god i am mad. ultimately its redbull,so its all good. happy new year everyone!!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th January 2012, 10:58

      Heck i have mad respect for algersuari(sp?) so why not him.

      What’s to say Red Bull didn’t approach Alguersuari? There are still two available seats, and talk of a third (or possibly even a fourth). So for all we know, Red Bull went to Alguersuari and wanted him to be their reserve driver. But Alguersuari turned them down because he was already in talks with someone else – like, say, Williams. Williams say they are in “advanced negotiations” with a mobile telephone company. Why can’t that company be Spanish, and why can’t that Spanish company be sponsoring Jaime Alguersuari?

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 5th January 2012, 11:13

      Personally I think it was rather to be expected. Alguersuari seemed pretty definete in thanking Red Bull for their efforts for him in the past in his reaction to STR signing on Vergne and Ricciardo, it had all signs of a thank you and goodbye statement.

      And Marko has long enjoyed a soft spot for Buemi over ALG, not to mention ALG did his cause no good with not letting Vettel by in practise as discussed above.
      Also, I think Buemi is better fit for this role in the team. Being part of the team, ready to jump in if needed for a couple of races, and otherwise doing simulator work for the team.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th January 2012, 12:41

        not to mention ALG did his cause no good with not letting Vettel by in practise as discussed above

        I can picture Helmut Marko being petty enough to hold this against Alguersuari, but I can’t imagine that anyone else in Red Bull or Toro Rosso would be.

  15. KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 5th January 2012, 11:11

    So, is everyone still of the opinion (despite the fact that Red Bull stated quite clearly otherwise) that Red Bull haven’t just left Buemi and Alguesuari out in the cold.. I think there’s a role coming up for Algusuari…

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