Sebastian Buemi believes that it is unfair that both he and former Scuderia Toro Rosso team-mate Jaime Alguersuari should continue to have their reputations run down by their erstwhile employer.
Despite both expecting to be retained, the pair were dumped by STR in December, and replaced by comparative newcomers Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne. In Alguersuari's case, the announcement came after he had already turned down an offer from another team, while Buemi was also rumoured to be on the wishlist of a couple of rivals. The Swiss driver was ultimately retained by the Red Bull family as reserve for both its F1 teams, but Alguersuari remains out in the cold, despite having been linked to similar roles at McLaren and Mercedes.
"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," STR team boss Franz Tost told the official F1 website last week, "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."
While their axing stung both drivers, it is the repetition of reasons why that is getting to Buemi, as Tost merely echoed Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko in decrying the ability of the outgoing drivers to ever be winners in the top flight. Buemi is particularly upset by the criticism as both he and, until recently, Alguersuari refused to say anything negative about STR. While the Spaniard has since spoken out about his frustration [red story here
], Buemi, no doubt mindful of his position, has been a little more circumspect.
“After we were put out, Alguersuari and I said not a single bad word about Toro Rosso, we were always loyal," he told Swiss newspaper Blick
, “I am amazed that from the boss there comes suddenly such negative comments.”
Despite having also secured a race seat with the new Toyota WEC team for this year's Le Mans 24 Hours, Buemi admits that he would have loved to have been on the F1 grid, but accepts that remaining in the Red Bull fold may open doors for him in future.
“Of course I would prefer to race for myself,” he conceded, “but maybe this new role is the opportunity of my life.”
The 23-year old has yet to drive either of the Red Bull cars in pre-season testing, with Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel conducting all the running in the new RB8 at Jerez and Barcelona. Despite being restricted to a watching brief, however, the reserve is confident that he could be part of a winning team in 2012.
"My initial feeling is that Red Bull and McLaren are the best, but Force India also gives a good impression," he reported, "At Ferrari, we see how the drivers have to contend with the car."