Axed Red Bull driver still looking for answers over sudden departure

Henry Valantine
Red Bull livery for the Miami Grand Prix

Red Bull livery for the Miami Grand Prix

Jaime Alguersuari has spoken about the “very quick phone call” that led to his departure from the Red Bull stable back in 2011, that only lasted a minute.

Alguersauri joined Toro Rosso in 2009 to become the sport’s youngest ever driver at that point, making his debut aged just 19 by replacing Sebastién Bourdais for the second half of that season, before Max Verstappen would break that particular record a few years later.

His time in F1 would come to an end at the end of 2011 however, and after turning down the opportunity to drive for Lotus in 2012, the call from Red Bull came that meant he would be without a drive altogether.

Jaime Alguersuari recalls ‘very tough’ Red Bull sacking

Given the way his 2011 season had panned out, Alguersuari believed the opportunity would be there for him to continue with the Red Bull stable for the following year, turning down opportunities elsewhere in the belief that a deal would be forthcoming for the following season.

But he revealed that the team told him at the “very last minute of the season” that he would not be retained, leaving him without the chance to find a race seat for 2012.

While the Spanish driver remains grateful for the opportunity Red Bull gave to him to make it into Formula 1 in the first place, he remains confused as to the reasons for his career’s abrupt ending.

“Without Red Bull I would never have had the chance to be in F1,” Alguersuari said in an interview with the Daily Star.

“None of the drivers that are racing for Red Bull would have had that chance without them. That is crystal clear. But what is also crystal clear is the way they sacked me and my team was not the way they should have done it.”

Elaborating further on the nature of how he found out his F1 career was effectively ending, he added: “It was a very quick phone call lasting just one minute. It was a very tough thing, and I didn’t understand why. I still don’t understand why even today.

“The thing is, the two drivers who came after us didn’t beat our results. They upgraded one of them [Daniel Ricciardo] to Red Bull and he then came third in the World Championship.

“I understand how F1 works, but I don’t really want to buy how they decided this, because it was not a sporting decision.

“They played their cards, and I wasn’t smart enough to move out at the right time. I did have an opportunity to move in Abu Dhabi in 2011 – that was the contract I needed to sign – and that was the only opportunity I had to sign that contract.

“I didn’t sign it because I wanted to be faithful to the people who had helped me since I was 15.”

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Alguersuari stayed around the Formula 1 paddock for two more seasons as a test driver for Pirelli before moving into Formula E, and subsequently gave up driving to focus on his music career.

But looking back on what had happened to him, Alguersuari does not harbour ill will for his departure – even though he admits it took time for him to overcome on an emotional level.

“It was an unfortunate situation, but I don’t regret anything,” the Spaniard said.

“It has been 10 or 11 years now. I’m happy with what they gave me, because I had this amazing adventure. It hurt for a couple of years, and it was hard, but here I am now.

“I make music, I travel going into clubs and meeting new people and this is the person who I am. I don’t regret anything.”

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