In a shock announcement Tuesday, The Italian team Toro Rosso announced that both their driver, Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastién Buemi, are axed in favour of two new drivers.
The announcement comes just a few days after several media reports speculated, that Alguersuari and Buemi, finishing this season in 14th and 15th respectively, would be presented with a contract extension to keep them on board for 2012. But both drivers have been axed and two new rookie´s will graze the grid next year.
Daniel Ricciardo will be promoted from his seat at HRT to Torro Rosso, and Jean-Eric Vergne is the second new man at the team. Both are deeply involved in the Red Bull Junior Driver programme and the decision has been taken in conjunction with Red Bull.
“Over the past year both Daniel and Jean-Eric have proved their worth and I expect them to make a significant contribution to the team’s performance next year,” said Franz Tost. “Daniel has the benefit of having actually raced in Grands Prix for much of this year, while Jean-Eric proved he could adapt quickly to the demands of driving a Formula 1 car. As they have both worked with the team and its engineers very recently, this should allow us to get up to speed right from the start of winter testing in a couple of months time.”
Ricciardo was said to be the best bet for at leat one of the seats at Toro Rosso, the entire idea of having him race for HRT this season, was to see if he had what it took. He was later rumoured with a seat at Caterham, but this turned out not to be.
“This is a really big deal for me and something I have wanted ever since I was driving for Toro Rosso on Friday mornings at the races in the first part of last season,” Ricciardo said. “To be honest, I am still jumping up and down with excitement at the news. Joining Scuderia Toro Rosso was always my real goal.”
Vergne (21) has already worked with Scuderia Toro Rosso, most recently, driving in Free Practice 1 at three of the last four Grands Prix of the 2011 season.
“I definitely feel ready to make the move, even if I know there is a big difference between testing and actually racing,” he said.