On the one hand it’s hard not to feel sorry for sacked Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers, Jaime Alguersuari and Sébastien Buemi – because towards the latter half of this season in particular, they both did a pretty decent job of getting the most out of a car that was far from the fastest on the Formula 1 grid.
The trouble is, neither of them quite gelled with the Red Bull way of life. Unfairly or otherwise, Alguersuari was regarded by his team as being keener to be DJ-ing back in Ibiza than trying to understand the finer details of his car technically, while poor old Buemi, you suspect, was always perceived as being a nearly man internally – and therefore not quite the next big thing. That much was confirmed this week when the pair was replaced at Torro Rosso by Daniel Ricciardo and Frenchman Jean –Eric Vergne for next year.
But it’s what happens next at Red Bull/Toro Rosso that will be most intriguing to observe – because if the masterplan unfolds in the way you suspect it might, put it this way, you wouldn’t want to be in Mark Webber’s shoes when the music stops this time next year.
I’ll never forget what Ricciardo’s former F3 team manager, Gary Bonnor from Carlin Motorsport, said to me when I drove the car Ricciardo won the championship driving in 2009. ‘That boy is something else – every time he drove the car he was blinding. And he was on it from the moment he turned up at the circuit, much more so than some of the other drivers we’ve run’ said Bonnor – the very clear intimation being that Ricciardo was in a different league from one J Alguersuari, who’d driven for the team the year before.