Jaime Alguersuari's erstwhile F1 and World Series by Renault team boss, Trevor Carlin, has claimed that the Spaniard should be capable of doing a good job in Formula One - even if he continues to campaign in the feeder series for the rest of 2009.
Reigning British F3 champion Alguersuari was confirmed, as anticipated, as Scuderia Toro Rosso's chosen replacement for Sebastien Bourdais, and will make his F1 debut - as the youngest driver ever to do so - in this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix. However, he has expressed an interest in pursuing a World Series campaign that currently sees him sitting eighth in the standings.
"We're very proud to see another one of our Red Bull drivers make the step up to F1, and Jaime is following in the footsteps of Sebastian Vettel, who also made the transition from our World Series team to a race seat at Toro Rosso," Carlin said, "Jaime intends to continue racing with us in World Series this year, but obviously his F1 commitments will take priority."
Carlin was also pleased to see the British F3 series producing another candidate for the top flight in the face of opposition from the Euroseries, and was confident that Alguersuari could follow Vettel's example and succeed with Toro Rosso.
"It was clear for all to see in British F3 last year that Jaime is a great talent - and it says a lot about the quality of the series that the current British F3 champion is already making his F1 debut," he noted, "It will be a tough learning curve for Jaime this year, but he is mature enough to learn quickly and make the most of this great opportunity."
Stephane Ratel, chairman of F3 promoter SRO Motorsports Group, was equally delighted to see the Spaniard make such a rapid ascent after clinching last year's title.
"We extend our congratulations to Jaime on a great achievement - this again proves the importance of British F3 as a vital stepping stone to the forefront of motorsport," the Frenchman commented, "Jaime has proved his talent at such a young age, becoming British F3 Champion in his first season and now the youngest ever F1 driver. We are very happy that his obvious talent has been recognised and wish him the best of luck."
Alguersuari underlined his candidature by taking a podium finish for Carlin at the Le Mans WSbR round on Sunday, having already finished fourth in Saturday's opener. Holding his fifth grid position on the opening lap, the Spaniard made his mandatory stop for new tyres on lap six, moving up to third overall once the field had followed suit, thanks in the main to a quick stop by the Carlin crew.
“We had a good race, and I think we are definitely making progress, so it was nice to see that rewarded with a third place today," he commented, "For sure, we still have a lot to do, in particular in improving front end grip, but we need to focus now on raising our game and arriving at each race with the possibility to win.”