Monday, 13 June 2011

Alguersuari's Career Saving Drive

Scuderia Toro Rosso, the sister team of current World Champions Red Bull, are well known for not appreciating poor performances.

The team replaced the struggling Minardi team for the 2006 season, with the apparent intention of being a feeder team for primary Red Bull Racing outfit.
However, only one driver, the reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel, has made the jump from STR to RBR.

The team have had seven different drivers in their six years in the sport, and are not afraid of replacing an under-performing driver mid-season.

Toro Rosso recently announced that an Abu Dhabi based investment firm have bought a stake in the team, and with rumours circulating that the team may be for sale, this stake may turn into an outright purchase of the team in the near future.
Often when changes are made behind the scenes of a sports team, changes are made on the surface, as the new shareholders want to make their mark.

Are the STR drivers ready, if needed, to make the move up to RBR? Are they ready to win races?
Sebastien Buemi is now in his third season with the Italian team. His best result is 7th place, which he has acheived twice, both times during the 2009 season.
Jaime Alguersuari is in his second full season (having replaced Sebastien Bourdais midway through the 2009 campaign). Alguersuari's best result is 8th, which he has acheived only once - at the Canadian Grand Prix yesterday.

Swiss driver Buemi, however, has scored points in four of the seven races so far this season. The young Spaniard Alguersuari, on the other hand, has only finished in the top 10 once this year.

Alguersuari, despite participating in over 30 Formula 1 Grand Prix, is still the youngest driver in the field. Whether this will be considered in his advantage if STR do reconsider their driver line-up, only time will tell.

The following is a comparison between the performances of the two Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers who have been replaced mid season, with the performances of the two current drivers:

Scott Speed (2007): Ret / 14 / Ret / Ret / 9 / Ret / 13 / Ret / Ret / Ret
Sebastien Bourdais (2009): 8 / 10 / 11 / 13 / Ret / 8 / 18 / Ret / Ret
Sebastien Buemi (2011): 8 / 13 / 14 / 9 / 14 / 10 / 10
Jaime Alguersuari (2011): 11 / 14 / Ret / 16 / 16 / Ret / 8

It is clear that Speed struggled with retirements during his final season with the team. Bourdais, however, managed some reasonable results before being replaced.
Of course, there may have been additional factors leading to a driver leaving a team, other than just results.

Based on these results, if the team did wish to make alterations to their driving arrangements, Alguersuari would appear to be the driver most likely to be cut. However, his strong performance in Canada is sure to have bought him a bit more time.

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