Jaime Alguersuari stands poised to become the youngest F1 driver in history if the rumours that he is to make his bow in the Hungarian Grand Prix
in just under a fortnight's time turn out to be true – and the Spaniard argues that his chance has come about as the outgoing Sébastien Bourdais 'has not given it everything, as he should have'.
The common view within the paddock is that the German Grand Prix
on Sunday – one for which Bourdais qualified last and dropped out of contention with hydraulic pressure failure less than a third of the way into the action – was the Frenchman's last with Scuderia Toro Rosso.
His Nürburgring woes, indeed, were fairly representative of an unhappy first half to his sophomore campaign in the top flight that has seen the record-breaking multiple former Champ Car king routinely outpaced by rookie team-mate and namesake Sébastien Buemi. Though he himself denies it, it would seem that for his employers, enough is now enough.
The man being tipped to step into his shoes is reigning British F3 Champion Alguersuari, currently competing in the World Series by Renault
for Carlin Motorsport. The Barcelona native presently also acts as reserve driver for both STR and 'parent' outfit Red Bull
Racing, and if he does indeed make his debut in Budapest he will break Kiwi Mike Thackwell's 29-year record to become the youngest driver ever to start a race at the highest level. Thackwell was 19 years and 182 days of age when he entered the 1980 Canadian Grand Prix
for Tyrrell; Alguersuari will be 19 years and 125 days old when the lights go out in the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.
“He is 30, he has a daughter, has won four championships in the American Champ Cars, won F3000 here in Europe and, honestly, is a highly-trained driver,” Alguersuari told Radio Catalunya
on the subject of the man he is ostensibly shortly to replace.
“But it seems that this year he has not given it everything, as he should have. 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.”
An official announcement regarding Bourdais' departure is anticipated from Toro Rosso
within the next 48 hours, with Alguersuari likely to be confirmed as Buemi's new team-mate following this weekend's World Series meeting at Le Mans in France. The Swiss-Spanish pairing would become the most inexperienced line-up in F1.
Bourdais' manager Nicolas Todt – son of former Ferrari
team principal Jean Todt – refused to comment on the matter, with an exasperated Bourdais himself telling French TV broadcaster TF1
: “Stop making me talk about this, is that clear? I am under contract. I will be in Hungary.”