Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost has hit out at former drivers Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi, arguing that the pair lost their drives with the team as they hadn't shown the talent to be promoted into the Red Bull Racing line-up.
The pair had hoped to retain their drives for the new season but were replaced by Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne in what was a shock decision by the team, with all the speculation having suggested that the Faenza-based outfit would be unchanged for 2012.
Speaking to the official Formula One website, Tost said the decision had been taken as neither of the 2011 drivers had shown enough to suggest they could go on to the next level and that it was time for others to have their chance.
“Every year at the end of the season we do an analysis of how things have developed over the past months, with particular focus on the competitiveness of our drivers in terms of qualifying, race and simulator performance,” he said. “All this data is then put on the table and we discuss its significance. The conclusion was that we had nurtured two drivers over three years and that we probably have other drivers in Red Bull's pool of drivers who could also do a good job. On top of that we weren't sure if our current drivers would really be the right stuff for Red Bull Racing, so we decided that Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo should get their chance.
“This is a high-performance sport and 'departures' are a part of the game. Both drivers have to thank Red Bull as otherwise they would never have made it into Formula One. And even now they have it in their own hands to make something out of the chance Red Bull has given them. Well, Buemi is still with Red Bull Racing as their third man. What will happen to Alguersuari? I have no information at the moment but, as I said, thanks to Red Bull they have a very good basis to pursue their careers from. Maybe even in Formula One at another team. I'm not saying that they are not fit for Formula One as both have shown substantial talent at some races, but it is not enough for Red Bull Racing. But I could imagine that they could be top drivers somewhere else and have a successful racing career.”
Quizzed on the drivers brought in to replace Buemi and Alguersuari, Tost said he was sure that both Ricciardo and Vergne could make an impression during the year ahead.
“Both have done extremely well in all the series they've raced in before entering Formula One and, yes, they showed potential at the test,” he said, referring to last week's outing at Jerez. “Daniel, with 11 Formula One races under his belt and frequent Friday drives with us, has an advantage. But in general I would say that this wow-effect is not so easily manageable in a first season. But it definitely has to be delivered in the second season. What I do expect from both is that they deliver solid performances. This means that they have to improve. I don't necessarily mean that they must score points… unless we've built a winning car! My guess is that the first four flyaway races will be difficult as neither knows the tracks, but once we come to Europe I expect them to do significantly better.
“Let me say a final word. I don't have a problem when a driver has a good race and at the next race he has a shunt - that's part of the game. Both drivers will have a 'crash period' but that is part of their development phase. It was the same with Sebastian Vettel. But at some point they have to get their game together - and the question is who will be better at doing that? Let's wait and see.”