Reigning British F3 Champion Jaime Alguersuari has admitted that he could yet make his F1 bow this year after recently being promoted to the position of Red Bull reserve driver in place of Brendon Hartley – and at the very least, he is eyeing a debut in 2010 at 'junior' concern Scuderia Toro Rosso.
The Spanish teenager – currently lying eighth in the title standings during his rookie campaign in the World Series by Renault for Carlin Motorsport – will fill the reserve role for both STR and Red Bull Racing from this weekend's German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring onwards, but speculation in his homeland suggests he will find himself in a race cockpit sooner rather than later.
Alguersuari himself has confessed that such a prospect – particularly with record-breaking multiple former Champ Car king Sébastien Bourdais coming under increasing pressure to hang onto his seat at the small Faenza-based squad – is a 'possibility'.
“The possibility exists, but they haven't said anything to me,” the 19-year-old told Spanish newspaper AS
. “I believe it is more realistic to think about taking this step next year.
“I believe I would need many more kilometres and experience to race in F1, so the best thing would be to arrive well-prepared next year. If I could decide right now what to do I would say 2010, although a lot of things can happen.”
Hartley, for his part, has revealed that it was his own decision to relinquish the reserve driver spot at the two energy drinks-backed outfits in order to switch the spotlight fully back onto his racing. The New Zealander is similarly participating in the World Series, for Tech 1 Racing, as well as in the F3 Euroseries with Carlin, and the 19-year-old acknowledged that part of his rationale for stepping down was that with the current in-season testing ban, outings and openings in F1 are becoming increasingly fewer and farther between.
“That's the reason we decided to stop,” he explained in an interview with New Zealand press agency NZPA
. “I learned so much doing F1 duties and it was such a great experience for me to see how everything works, but to continue would have meant zero weekends free until November.
“I really appreciated doing it, but I haven't really had a good result this year so I need to focus on my racing. Jaime will have the opportunity to learn now, but I am not sure what options there will be for him to get into the car.”