- Australian Ricciardo Locks In Full-time Toro Rosso Seat For 2012
- Marko tells Alguersuari to win ticket to Red Bull
- Di Resta, Alguersuari, hint F1 careers set to continue
F1: Australian Ricciardo Locks In Full-time Toro Rosso Seat For 2012
Australia has a new F1 title hopeful in 2012, with up-and-comer Daniel Ricciardo promoted to a full-time seat with Toro Rosso, Red Bull's young driver training team.
Ricciardo's meteoric rise from Formula 3 in 2009 to Toro Rosso in 2012 means that both of Australia's F1 drivers will continue with Red Bull, with Mark Webber confirmed as champion Sebastian Vettel's partner for at least one more season.
Ricciardo will be partnered by 21 year-old Frenchman Jean Eric Vergne, who finished second in this year's Formula Renault 3.5 championship, and practiced with STR in the last rounds of the 2011 season.
“ 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," Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost said.
"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," he added.
The news will come as a blow to the career hopes of Toro Rosso's 2011 drivers, Sebastian Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, with both confident of a 2012 seat before today.
"One has to remember that when Scuderia Toro Rosso was established in 2005, it was done so with the intention of providing a first step into Formula 1 for the youngsters in the Red Bull Junior Driver programme, Tost said.
"It is therefore part of the team’s culture to change its driver line-up from time to time in order to achieve this goal."
Ricciardo described the promotion as "a really big deal for me," noting that it was only some months ago that he was a lowly Friday practice and test driver for the Toro Rosso team before being loaned to the HRT team.
"To be honest, I am still jumping up and down with excitement at the news. In the second half of 2011 I learned a lot from the people I worked with, racing in eleven Grands Prix and I want to thank them for the opportunity they gave me," Ricciardo said.
"I have to say that joining Scuderia Toro Rosso was always my real goal, so a big thank you to Red Bull for giving me this fantastic opportunity and now I can’t wait to get to work once testing begins.”
Marko tells Alguersuari to win ticket to Red Bull
Dec.14 (GMM) Jaime Alguersuari could win a ticket to Red Bull's senior formula one team for 2013.
The 21-year-old Spaniard has not yet been confirmed for the secondary team Toro Rosso for 2012, but - after a strong second half of the season - he is expected to stay.
Indeed, he is now all-but admitting it.
Asked by sports newspaper Marca what he will have to do to replace Mark Webber at the main team for 2013, Alguersuari answered: "What do I have to do?
"According to (Red Bull driver manager) Helmut (Marko), I have to win a race with Toro Rosso. Those were his words in Japan, so I'll try.
"I have 20 races to try it and I have as good a chance as any, however small," he laughed.
Should he win the promotion, however, Alguersuari refused to predict Sebastian Vettel-style dominance at the wheel of a Red Bull.
"It's a question I cannot answer," he insisted. "We do know what would happen if Alonso was in a Red Bull, but as for myself it would be pure speculation.
"So I think it's better to say nothing.
"What I will say is that if a driver has the best car, it is because he deserves it."
And Alguersuari thinks Vettel will probably continue to have the best car at his disposal in 2012, despite the FIA's efforts to curb exhaust blowing and flexible wings.
"I think the best is always the best, and to date it has been (car designer Adrian) Newey. He's a genius, an artist, and I see no reason why Red Bull's dominance is going to be stopped now," he insisted.
Di Resta, Alguersuari, hint F1 careers set to continue
Two formula one drivers on Tuesday hinted strongly that, despite not yet having official confirmation, they are staying on the grid in 2012.
Paul di Resta, the most successful rookie this year, was asked by F1's official website if it is true that he will be staying at Force India next season.
"I can't say anything," said the Scot, ahead of boss Dr Vijay Mallya's scheduled December 15 announcement about the Silverstone based team's 2012 lineup.
"The only thing that I can say is that I am still working closely with the team and helping with the new car," added di Resta.
"I will do some simulator work over the next week and hopefully by then Dr Mallya and his board will have made up their minds about their 2012 driver lineup."
Di Resta insisted that his manager Anthony Hamilton will be working on a 'plan B' in case he, unlike other contenders Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg, is left out of Force India's plans.
"I don't think that this is something that you want to think about, but sure you have to think about a worst-case scenario -- and thank goodness I have Anthony doing that for me," he said.
Another driver expected to keep his seat next year is Jaime Alguersuari, who on Tuesday was attending an event for Toro Rosso's main sponsor Cepsa, a Spanish oil company.
Asked by the sports newspaper AS if he has any news about whether team owner Red Bull has decided to keep him on board for 2012, the Spaniard answered: "No.
"Today I just want to enjoy this day with Cepsa, because I think their presence in F1 is great for Spain, for the sport and for Toro Rosso."
Asked when he is expecting to find out more, he insisted: "I have no idea, it's up to Red Bull. (It's) definitely not (up to) me."
Finally, Alguersuari - whose teammate Sebastien Buemi is also expected to keep his seat - was asked if a new contract would be the best Christmas present.
"First of all I ask for good health, because that's more important than anything, but after that I want a great year for F1, to continue evolving as a team and obviously a great season ending with good results with Toro Rosso.
"I have some commitments coming up in Madrid and then Barcelona and then I will begin preparations for next season," he added.