Alguersuari gets nod for Hungary debut
|By Jonathan Noble||Monday, July 13th 2009, 09:54 GMT|
Jaime Alguersuari will become the youngest Formula 1 driver in history when he makes his debut for the Scuderia Toro Rosso team as replacement for Sebastien Bourdais at the Hungarian Grand Prix, AUTOSPORT has learned.
Following a weekend of speculation about Bourdais' future, on the back of a disappointing first half to the campaign, Toro Rosso is expected to confirm within the next 48 hours that it has decided to part company with the Frenchman.
And although the team has decided that reigning British F3 champion Alguersuari will be slotted into the seat alongside Sebastien Buemi, an announcement confirming the plan is not expected until after the Spaniard has finished competing in this weekend's World Series by Renault race at Le Mans.
Toro Rosso has decided to give the youngster the race opportunity in spite of his lack of experience as it is the only way for him to gain experience in preparation for a full season in 2010, due to the in-season testing ban. The team has so far declined to comment on the situation.
There are also suggestions that Alguersuari's step up is being eased by Spanish oil company Repsol, who are personal backers of the youngster and are poised to tie-up a deal with Toro Rosso.
Alguersuari's step-up means he will make his debut at the age of 19 years and 125 days. It beats the previous record of 19 years and 182 days held by Mike Thackwell, who drove for Tyrrell in Canada 1980 - although was officially a non-starter after a first-lap red flag.
The next youngest driver was Ricardo Rodriguez, who raced for Ferrari at the 1961 Italian Grand Prix aged 19 years and 208 days.
Despite Alguersuari's promotion to the race seat, Sebastien Loeb remains linked with a switch to F1 with Toro Rosso once his commitments in the world rally championship are finished this season.