Christian Horner has suggested that Red Bull should not be condemned for dispensing with the services of Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, insisting that both had a fair crack of the whip in F1.
Buemi and Alguersuari had both hoped to remain a part of the Red Bull family by holding onto their seats at Toro Rosso in 2012, but were informed shortly before Christmas that their services would no longer be required. Although Buemi has subsequently been re-hired to act as reserve driver for both Red Bull Racing and STR, Alguersuari continues to remain in search of F1 employment, despite being linked to both McLaren and Mercedes as a possible back-up.
Horner, however, shared similar views to those of controversial Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko when he suggested that both drivers had had enough time in which to convince their paymasters of their ability.
"Both Buemi and Alguersuari had the support of Red Bull to enter F1 and had been supported in Buemi's case for three seasons and in Alguersuari's two-and-a-half seasons, and during that time it enables you to form a picture of how the guys are developing," he pointed out during an interview with the BBC
, "Red Bull doesn't get the credit it deserves. [It has] brought in numerous drivers to F1 now, some who have remained, some who have moved on to other things. Neither Buemi nor Alguersuari would have progressed through the junior ranks - let's not forget Alguersuari won the British F3 championship - without the support."
The two Toro Rosso seats for 2012 have been filled by former reserves Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, who will form the least experienced partnership on the grid this year. Despite that, Horner is looking forward to seeing what the pair can do.
"Red Bull has invested a huge amount in youth and should be commended," he said, "It worked for Sebastian Vettel and provided a genuine opportunity for the talents of Ricciardo and Vergne.
"As Dietrich Mateschitz always said, Toro Rosso is there for driver development, to produce future race-winning stars who have been invested in through the Red Bull junior programme. Obviously, a decision was made to elevate both Jean-Eric and Daniel - who were two of the most exciting talents on the periphery of F1 - into race seats at Toro Rosso. Both drivers are well known to Red Bull Racing and are capable of doing a very strong job.
"We're in a good position with the Red Bull juniors. When I look around at what other schemes there are, Red Bull has invested a huge amount in youth and should be commended for giving these guys the opportunity that might otherwise have gone missing."