|17. Jaime Alguersuari – Toro Rosso Ferrari
Having endured a tough baptism of fire by joining Toro Rosso mid-season and with no testing at all with which to master his craft, F1’s youngest-ever starter was on a steep learning curve, but emerged from the other end intact.
Now, with a half-season behind him and several solid performance in pre-season testing, the F1 paddock and the team itself will be expecting better things from Jaime in his first full season of F1.
Following the time-honoured climb through the karting ranks, Jaime moved to Formula Renault and won the Italian title in 2007.
The young Spaniard then moved to the British F3 championship, and showed his class with a brilliant late-season charge to take the championship from his Carlin team-mates, Brendon Hartley and Oliver Turvey.
With Red Bull backing, Jaime moved to Formula Renault 3.5 and by mid-season he found himself a surprise call-up to the Toro Rosso team in place of the sacked Sébastien Bourdais.
Set to make his debut at the Hungarian GP, 19-year-old Jaime was prohibited a pre-race test in the STR4, and began his race weekend with just a few demonstration runs and straight-line tests under his belt.
Some figures felt he would be a liability on the track, but the concerns quickly diminished when Jaime demonstrated he deserved his place on the grid with several solid – while never spectacular – performances with each race weekend that followed.
He was soundly put in the shade by team-mate Sébastien Buemi, and his inexperience showed when he was caught up in his fair share of errors and incidents – most notably taking the fuel hose with him in Singapore and several spectacular shunts at Suzuka.
But in spite of his tender age, he never looked out of his depth and his pace wasn’t exactly shabby either.
- A young talent with plenty of potential, who is determined to make his mark in F1 in 2010.
- With a full winter of pre-season testing under his belt, he has emerged more confident from his early F1 baptism and the media storm that blew up over his young age and relative inexperience.
- While the off-season testing has helped, he has next-to-no knowledge of many of the tracks being used in the first-half of the season, which will put him on the back foot relative to his rivals.
- Question marks remain if he is the real deal in F1?
What defines success in 2010?
- Achieve his first points finish and aim for plenty more
- Occasionally outshine his more established team-mate
[Images via StatsF1]