Helmut Marko on 2012 at STR: “We are looking for a top F1 driver…”

Red Bull motor sport chief Helmut Marko insists that no decisions have yet been made on who will drive for Toro Rosso next year, and says that the options will be discussed next month.

The team has four candidates, with Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne both vying to replace the current drivers.

Theories about what might happen range from Sebastian Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari both staying to – at the other extreme – both being booted out.

The bottom line is that the main purpose of STR is to develop a driver who can replace Mark Webber at RBR in 2013, should he finally take the retirement route.

It’s no secret that Ricciardo and Vergne are generally regarded as the better long term prospects, but there remains a possibility that Red Bull could find seats for one or both elsewhere, as it did with the Australian at HRT this year. Caterham has been mentioned as a possible home, on the basis that Jarno Trulli will be invited to retire.

“It’s a luxury problem, and I’m sure we’ll find a solution,” Marko told this writer. “We will analyse it. There’s no need for next year, we are talking about 2013, so we have time, and all four of them can prove something.

“We have a meeting in Salzburg later in December, and then we go through all the possibilities.”

Asked about how he rated the seasons of Buemi and Alguersuari, Marko said: “I would say they both improved from mid-season onwards, unfortunately Buemi had more technical issues. But still, we are not looking for a good F1 driver, we are looking for a top F1 driver.”

The last comment doesn’t sound like an endorsement of the current line-up…

Meanwhile Christian Horner made it clear that he’d like to see Daniel Ricciardo continue to gather racing miles in 2012.

“I think that Daniel has done a good job in the races that he’s had, so we need to look at the opportunities and options that are available,” said Horner. “I’m sure in the run-up to Christmas we’ll conclude on what his programme will be for next year.

“He’s learned for sure in the races he’s done, obviously it’s in difficult circumstances, in a car that is a long way off the pace. But he’s still been learning, he’s been up against a competitive team mate. I think he’s acquitted himself well. It will be nice to see him in a Grand Prix seat next year.”

Asked by this writer what influence he had on STR choices, Horner said: “Toro Rosso discussions are between Toro Rosso and Dietrich [Mateschitz], but obviously we have a vested interest in terms of the young drivers coming through.

“We’ve got four guys in the programme, in Buemi, Alguersuari Daniel and Jean-Eric, they’re four strong drivers, and I think for Red Bull it’s a healthy situation to have a pool of talented youngsters.”

8 Comments

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8 responses to “Helmut Marko on 2012 at STR: “We are looking for a top F1 driver…”

  1. CTP

    please baby jesus, get rid of these two stooges! while it’s possible they’re both amazing, it’s more likely they’re like mediocre at best, so it’s worth a punt to try at least one new driver. or perhaps 3 drivers fitting into 2 places throughout the season.

    • Zilla Brambilla

      You calling Buemi and Alguersauri stooges is highly ignorant considering how mediocre both Riccardo and Vergne looked against those 2 as Friday drivers at STR, not to mention Riccardo’s less than stellar stint at HRT (losing the quali duel to Liuzzi 4 to 6).

      Buemi had an incredible run of bad luck that kept him out of the points on at least 5 occasions since Silverstone thru not fault of his own and Alguersauri performed well after Kanada.

      Also, people forget that both BUE and ALG joined the team right as the rules changed and STR were no longer allowed to get support from Red Bull and had to build their own car from scratch. It took them 2 and a half seasons to finally become a competitive mid-field team.

      Given these facts, BUE and ALG actually performed well. Even Franz Tost is on record as saying that even with Vettel at STR would not have been much more competitive after 2009.

      • Pyaare

        To add, Ricciardo kept his nose ahead of part timer Karthikeyan who came back with just 150 odd miles under him (under variable conditions in JAP, KOR, SING) by mere 100th of second tells Ricciardo honestly is not a great deal as they are making out of him.

        STR/Red Bull management is notoriously unprofessional in driver management, Klien to Brendon Hartley all can testify.

        Brendon Hartley was thrown out just because of fallout with Management, and lesser driver in Ricciardo was let in sad story, F1 doesn’t work just on talent…

  2. melonfarmer

    There seems to be a log jam of former British F3 champions – all of whom won it in their first season in F3 (if my memory serves me correctly). Ok, so Carlin are the top team, but that’s pretty impressive in my book. It’s splitting hairs, but I’d say Alguersuari has more promise having been dropped in at the deep end in 2009 after a few WSR3.5 races. Buemi had one and a bit seasons of GP2, but it seems harsh to think that either/both could have had their last F1 drive. Could this be another Bernoldi-Raikkonen type decision from Dr Marko?

  3. Stone the crows

    I’d guess Alguersuari is retained and Buemi is let go, and then STR picks Ricciardo to drive along side of him, and then holds Vergne over Alguersuari’s head should he fail to perform.

  4. danielsussex

    Kimi? I bet Helmut would be willing to sell a stake in the team too.

  5. Jack Shaftoe

    I’ve grown very weary of Helmut and his ways. His public near-slagging of the company’s drivers just isn’t right.

  6. rexmays

    Wickens beat both these other ‘Red Bull Young Guns’ in various Formula including 2011…..why no mention of his position in their Arsenal…?

    Is he no longer part of the Red Bull Family..?

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