Former F1 driver Jaime Alguersuari says he can now walk through the Formula 1 paddock and “smile”, after an acrimonious exit from the Red Bull programme.
The former Toro Rosso man earned 46 starts in Formula 1, making his debut in Hungary in 2009 while still a teenager.
However, his exit from Formula 1 alongside Sebastien Buemi at the end of 2011 in favour of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, left him feeling “anger and rejection” towards Red Bull as a whole.
He retired from motorsport in 2015 after fainting during a Formula E weekend in Moscow, admitting that he had fallen out of love with racing at the time – and that he could hardly bring himself to watch Formula 1 after his exit.
“It was a time when I felt anger and rejection towards Formula 1, towards Helmut Marko, towards Red Bull, towards everything that had happened,” said the Spaniard in a Q&A with the Spanish edition of Motorsport.com, when asked about how his retirement from motorsport came about.
“I tried to work in Formula 1 for Movistar as a commentator, but as soon as we went to the track I was sick, I wasn’t happy to be there, it wasn’t my place at that moment, after all I was only 23 years old. At that point I was clinging to a great fortune that I’ve always had: a passion for music.”
Operating under the alias ‘Squire’ as a DJ, Alguersuari’s escape from reality came through his love of dance music – which took a back seat during his racing career but came to more prominence again after he stopped competing in 2015.
But he says he is now getting back on his feet and coming to terms with his exit from motorsport, even returning to racing recently by getting back into karting.
“I am Squire, but I feel like Jaime Alguersuari again,” he added. “I can walk into a Formula 1 paddock again and say hello to Christian Horner and Marko. I can smile.
“And I appreciate the opportunity to race again. You have no idea how much fun I have driving around in a kart – I’ve met some people I remember from my childhood, they’re still local and passionate about their work.”
Now that time has passed and he feels more reset on a personal level, able to move on and come to terms with what had gone before him.
“I was very lucky to have the opportunities I had. I did a lot of races, I made it to Formula 1 and scored some points,” he said.
“Of course I didn’t have a chance at Red Bull or in a more competitive car, but I started to realise that I was privileged anyway and I have to be grateful for that. But I only realised it after a while.
“It took 10 years to close that chapter and I have closed it now by deciding to go back to the track. In the past, if I saw something on TV about Formula 1, I would change the channel. If the same thing happened when I was reading a newspaper, I immediately changed the page.
“Today I can go into the AlphaTauri pit and hug Franz Tost. I started to see the glass half full. I realised how lucky I was.”