Jaime Alguersuari has dashed the hopes of all those hoping to steal his Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 seat away from him in 2010 - by revealing that he 'signed a deal a few months ago' to remain on-board at the Red Bull 'junior' outfit next year.

If true, that means STR will head into the new campaign with an unchanged driver line-up, following the earlier confirmation that S?bastien Buemi has similarly been retained for a second consecutive season at Faenza.

Alguersuari impressed on his F1 debut in the Hungarian Grand Prix back in late July. After many seasoned observers had openly feared that it was a mistake to put the 19-year-old - the youngest debutant in the top flight's 60-year history - in the car with next-to-no prior testing under his belt, the Spaniard went on to lap within 1.6 seconds of the outright pace in qualifying and within eight tenths of Buemi before finishing ahead of his team-mate in the race itself, with the Swiss ace looking to be far the more ragged and inexperienced of the two out on-track.

Indeed, whilst there would be no points from the eight races in which he competed as S?bastien Bourdais' replacement, the 2008 British F3 Champion did display encouraging pace, three times making it through to Q2 in qualifying - with a highlight of an excellent twelfth at Interlagos in Brazil, ahead of F1 World Champion-elect Jenson Button, no less. As he looks ahead to 2010, the Barcelona native does so with confidence.

"We signed a deal a few months ago," Alguersuari told Spanish sports newspaper Marca. "It would be seriously brilliant to be capable of points or podiums, seriously fantastic - but in all honesty is it is necessary to wait until February and to see how the new car performs. We will see..."


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