Jaime Alguersuari has confirmed that he could have been on this year's F1 grid with Lotus but, instead of being bitter about the turn of events that conspired to leave him on the sidelines, he appears more determined than ever to be back in 2013.
The Spaniard found himself surplus to requirements at Scuderia Toro Rosso
in mid-December - as he and team-mate Sebastien Buemi
were told that they didn't have what it took to be winners and were replaced by rookies Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne - but, by then, had already ended negotiations with other interested parties [see story here
], believing that loyalty to Red Bull
would be rewarded.
"Before all the chaos, I had had talks with Lotus in Brazil, but we had to say no because I was in Red Bull
for six years and thought myself part of the family," Alguersuari told Abu Dhabi's The National
during the European GP weekend in his homeland, "It is a shame because [Lotus] are looking very strong this season."
Although it has yet to break through onto the top step of the podium, both Kimi Raikkonen
and Romain Grosjean
have put the black-and-gold E20 into second spot and, with the season showing increasing unpredictability, a win cannot be counted out. Observers have frequently suggested that, while it doesn't respond as well to cooler conditions, this year's Enstone creation is possibly the most consistent on the grid.
Instead of reflecting wistfully on what might have been, however, Alguersuari has taken the opportunities presented to him to remain a part of the F1 fraternity - namely accepting an analyst position with the BBC
and a development role with Pirelli - and used them to keep in touch with teams for 2013.
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger - that is my philosophy," he insisted, "Sometimes, when one door closes, another one opens. Obviously, [on the sidelines] is not the place I want to be. I want to be back in the car, but it is very important because it gives me a great opportunity to be at every race and stay around F1.
"For sure, [Pirelli] is a good position to be in for the comeback. It gives me the opportunity to test and develop an understanding of the tyres for next year, which nobody knows. It's a big advantage.
"At the end of the day, I am 22 years old, so I have plenty of time. Just now, I am learning a lot and gaining huge experience with Pirelli, but getting back into F1 is the objective and it is why I am here and what I am looking for. It is still very early to talk - I have had some conversations and I am sure I can be back there next year. The fact [that] I'm testing gives me the chance to understand something nobody else knows.
"Of course, at the moment, nothing is signed, but we are only at the eighth race. By mid-season, I'll have a much clearer idea. If someone moves, we will be there 100 per cent. The case is [that] I am not in F1 now, but I will be next year."
As for Toro Rosso, Alguersuari remains on cordial terms with people he could easily blame for his current situation, and does not want to dwell on what might have been.
"I do not buy [the reasons for dismissal], but it is in the past and I am looking forward," he maintained, "That choice, for me, is probably the best thing that could have happened for me in my life."