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Alguersuari to put F1 return before DTM option
4 November 2012
Jaime Alguersuari is apparently prepared to risk losing a guaranteed seat in the DTM in order to pursue his goal of returning to the F1 grid in 2013.
According to Spanish newspaper Marca, the former Toro Rosso pilot has been offered the chance of moving to touring cars with BMW but has always maintained that he had options in F1, and is prepared to work through those before committing his career in another direction. Since being axed at the eleventh hour by STR - when he had allegedly already turned down an offer to join Lotus for 2012 - Alguersuari has been splitting his time between analyst duties with the BBC and developing the new breed of grand prix tyres for Pirelli, but recently insisted that he would be back on the F1 grid in 2013.
While it was widely rumoured that the former British F3 champion could be headed to Sauber, his name is now being mentioned in connection with the vacant seat at Force India, left empty by Nico Hulkenberg's decision to move to Hinwil as Sergio Perez's replacement next year. The ride alongside Paul di Resta is increasingly becoming the hottest ticket for 2013, following Ferrari's decision to retain Felipe Massa, with only the question mark over Kamui Kobayashi's future and possibly the indecision at Williams rivalling it.
Bruno Senna was this week mentioned in connection with the seat at the Silverstone-based team, while former FIF1 driver Adrian Sutil and Alguersuari's erstwhile STR team-mate Sebastien Buemi have also been put in the frame. The favourite, however, is thought to be Ferrari Academy driver - and current Force India reserve - Jules Bianchi, who admitted on hearing of Hulkenberg's move that it was time for him to step up. The Frenchman has rattled around in GP2 and World Series by Renault in the past few years, and only saw a late 2012 title bid in the latter come to grief after contact with eventual champion Robin Frijns at the final round.
“I'd be lying if I said that what happened two weeks ago in Barcelona is now all behind me,” Bianchi confessed on the Ferrari website recently, “I still find myself occasionally thinking about how the championship ended but, [other than that], my season was positive. In 2012, I had the chance to grow still more in a new environment. I had to fight for every point and I'm pleased with the job the team did. We managed to always be among the front runners and if the championship didn't come our way, it wasn't our fault.
“The objective me and my management have set ourselves [for 2013] is to try and get a race drive in next year's F1 world championship. It will not be easy, because there aren't many seats available, with a lot of drivers on the market. I hope we can find something worthwhile, maybe getting a little bit of the luck that eluded us two weeks ago in Barcelona.”
An outsider for the Force India seat, according to F1SA.com, could be GP2 Series runner-up Luiz Razia, who can reportedly bring sponsorship to rival that of Senna.
"If I had no sponsors, I would pack my bags and go home now," the younger Brazilian told Radio Globo, "To debut on a good team like Force India would really accelerate the process of coming to a really good team in two or three years."
Razia ran with the Silverstone-based team during the recent 'young driver' test at Magny-Cours, where Bianchi ran with both Force India and Ferrari, and will join Toro Rosso for next week's similar session in Abu Dhabi. The Italian team has already secured an unchanged line-up for 2013, however, limiting the Brazilian's options for next season.