Bourdais vs Alguersuari
It seems all but confirmed that Sebastien Bourdais has been dropped by Toro Rosso, the team seemingly waiting until after this weekend to announce that Spain’s Jaime Alguersuari (a name I’m going to be permanently having to copy and paste for the rest of the year) will be taking over – before that he has one last World Series by Renault race to look forward to at Le Mans.
So, Sebastien Bourdais? Or Jaime Alguersuari? Actually, before we get to that, I thought we’d better compare Bourdais to his team mate Buemi with the return of my patented ‘team mate swing-o-meter’:
The swing-o-meter, if you’ve never encountered it before, simply shows the relative performance between team mates in terms of qualifying position, fastest race lap, final race position and points scored (not a lot in Toro Rosso’s case). So if Bourdais finishes ahead of Buemi it swings towards Bourdais one step (or by points scored), swinging back again if Buemi beats his team mate in the next race. In Spain, I declared their first lap coming together as a no-score draw. Makes sense? Moving on…
At first glance it doesn’t make pretty reading for the Frenchman who has been comprehensively out-qualified by his rookie team mate. In the race, however, it’s been more or less honours even, although bear in mind that Buemi has had the benefit of better starting positions. So perhaps dropping Bourdais is a little harsh in itself but then nor has he put his rookie team mate in his place – Buemi is a project in development, Bourdais should be the finished article. Still, in my opinion, I think Bourdais deserved to see out the year, especially when you consider his replacement waiting in the wings.
So, who exactly is Jaime (copy, paste) Alguersuari besides having an irritatingly hard-to-spell name? Possibly, even Bourdais is asking that question, especially as he’s not been complimentary to the French man? Well, he’s currently the reigning British Formula Three champion which qualifies him for a Super License but as a Formula 1 driver his experience is, well, almost none existent.
“I truly believe that the decision by Red Bull is just, but it is never nice to see someone taken away after half a season” - Jaime Alguersuari speaks to Spanish Radio
He has driven a Formula 1 car though, Red Bull’s RB4 in May last year. Just don’t ask him about how different it feels under cornering as it was a straight-line test. The lack of in-season testing bites again!
Therefore, Alguersuari will have a baptism of fire in Hungary, a technically demanding circuit to test any driver. He will also become the youngest ever driver in Formula 1 at 19 years and 125 days. At least he’s driven the circuit before, World Series by Renault visiting Hungary a month ago. 16th place in the feature race hardly fills you with confidence though and he’s not exactly threatened Oliver Turvey, his team mate at Carlin Motorsport either.
Of course, Red Bull / Toro Rosso were able to tell everyone “we told you so” when doubts were raised about Sebastian Vettel, but even his CV looked a lot better than Alguersuari’s. I guess we’ll soon see but I can’t help thinking that this has more to do with money then either Alguersuari’s talent or even Bourdais’ lack of spark. Just look for the Repsol logos appearing on the Toro Rosso, if not in Hungary, from next year.