Despite having his world seemingly torn apart with the “incomprehensible” news of his sacking by Toro Rosso, Jaime Alguersuari has displayed a maturity beyond his years in praising the support that his former employers have given him to become “a complete driver”.
Alguersuari made history in 2009 by becoming the sport’s youngest ever driver at the age of 19 when he made his F1 debut at the Hungarian Grand Prix, having never sat in a Formula 1 car.
To many, Alguersuari was considered the greater certainty – when compared to team-mate Sébastien Buemi – of being retained next year, but the team has taken the decision to dispense with both drivers and promote Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Éric Vergne to its frontline roles next year.
Writing on his website, the 21-year-old expressed his surprise at the announcement, but he refused to be bitter.
“I’m very surprised with the decision,” he wrote. “Just a week ago, after winning the Challenge of the Stars in Florianopolis, I talked to [Red Bull advisor] Helmut Marko and [STR team principal] Franz Tost and both talked to me about the plans they had for me for 2012.
“They talked with enthusiasm and they showed great confidence, also asking me to be in Madrid on Monday, for a great event by [team sponsor] CEPSA where they made me insist about our project in F1 for 2012.
“I’m not going to judge the situation, because if I thought it was crazy that they made me debut in 2009 at 19 and without having done a single kilometre in an F1 car before, today’s news was even more incomprehensible in the best moment of my sporting career,” he added.
“I won’t judge the reasons for the decision, because Red Bull gave me everything since I was 15, I have grown with them and I have become a complete driver in F1 at the age of 21.”
And despite being kicked to the kerb, the Spaniard bore no animosity towards his former employer, and instead praised the support they had given him since his teenage years when he was cutting his teeth in karting.
“I don’t feel a victim because I’ve enjoyed the privilege of being in the best team in the world and with the best resources for seven years,” he said.
“They brought me here, with them I won the British F3 championship at 18 and with them I’ve achieved the best result for a 21-year-old driver in F1 in 2011. They’ve taken a decision I respect.
“It’s not a drama, because I have a lot of plans for the present and the future. The surprise lasted a couple of hours. Enough to talk to my family, look at the street and realise that life is full of opportunities and challenges.”
With very few seats available, Alguersuari will be scrambling to try and claim one of the few seats still vacant ahead of the 2012 season. His cause will be helped by his strong 2011 season, and his performances have not gone unnoticed by key figures further up the grid.
Just weeks ago, the team principals of McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes GP all praised the 21-year-old’s ability.
“He is no longer a rookie or a question-mark, he is now a driver with full credibility,” McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh recently told Spain’s TV3.
“I think he has done some good races and has been instrumental in the development of the car,” added Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali. “He has a very good potential.”
“He unquestionably deserves a place in Formula 1,” added Mercedes GP boss Ross Brawn. “I have been impressed.”
Should he be able to land a third driver opportunity with a midfield or frontrunning team, then this could be good news for the Barcelona-born driver.
There are also rumours that his nationality might propel him into the second available seat at HRT, although he does not have a large amount of financial backing that could help support this transition.
Either way, his departure from the sport would be a great loss.
[Image via Sutton Images]
ONLINE TOMORROW! Our exclusive interview with Jaime Alguersuari!
Latest posts by Richard Bailey (see all)
- WTCR: Guerrieri outwits Muller at the Nordschleife - 26 September, 2020
- WTCR: Girolami breaks Nordschleife lap record to claim pole - 25 September, 2020
- WTCR: Hyundai withdraws from Germany round - 24 September, 2020
- WTCR: Ehrlacher leads Lynk & Co podium sweep at Zolder - 13 September, 2020
- WTCR: Girolami kicks off 2020 season with victory - 13 September, 2020