Recent reports from his homeland are claiming that ousted Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari has signed on as Ferrari’s official reserve driver for the 2012 season.
The articles, written in several Catalan-language newspapers and websites, are claiming that the 21-year-old will participate in up to ten Friday practice sessions for the Italian team next year, as part of the terms of the deal.
Despite finishing fourteenth in the 2011 Drivers’ Championship standings courtesy of several hard-charging drives for Toro Rosso, Alguersuari was dropped from the Faenza team’s line-up as the outfit elected to bring on two new drivers in the form of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.
It had been suggested that, while the Spaniard was a long shot for the vacant seat at HRT, his best bet to remain in F1 was as a reserve driver with one of the big teams. It was rumoured that he had held talks with McLaren, Mercedes GP and Lotus F1, but the latest reports suggest he will be wearing a scarlet race suit in 2012.
As part of the deal, it is also believed that Alguersuari will join Ferrari’s Driver Academy programme – which already has Sauber driver Sergio Perez and Ferrari test driver Jules Bianchi among its members – and that he could be part of the team’s strategy to source a replacement for out of favour Felipe Massa, should its rumoured flirtation with the recovering Robert Kubica not come through.
Interestingly, Alguersuari sounded very upbeat when he was asked by the Marca sports newspaper about his 2012 prospects.
Speaking from an event in London in which he appeared in his other guise as a professional DJ, he said: “We will have good news soon.”
And to complete the Devil’s Advocate circle, it’s always helpful to keep a healthy degree of cynicism on today of all days, as it’s also the equivalent of April Fool’s Day in Spain. Dare we suspect the local press is having a lend of us?
In dealing with matters that are perhaps more factual, you can read our recent exclusive interview with Jaime by clicking here.
[Original image via Sutton Images]