Red Bull driver treatment under further scrutiny as Buemi victory prompts dig

Thomas Maher
Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi, pictured in 2010.

Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi, pictured in 2010.

Jaime Alguersuari has praised former Toro Rosso teammate Sebastien Buemi for yet another race victory in sportscars, pondering what might have been at Red Bull.

Former Toro Rosso racer Jaime Alguersuari believes his teammate from the time, Sebastien Buemi, could have won multiple World Championships at Red Bull had circumstances allowed him to take the step up to the senior F1 team.

Buemi and Alguersuari were both Red Bull juniors when they were placed at Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri) between 2009 and 2011. At a time when the recently-promoted Sebastian Vettel had become World Champion in his second year with Red Bull Racing and was dominating F1, there appeared to be little patience for the two junior drivers at Toro Rosso – both were axed at the end of the 2011 season, although Buemi secured a long-term test and reserve role at Red Bull to cover both their teams.

In the intervening decade and a bit, Alguersuari has retired entirely from motorsport in order to concentrate on DJing and music production, while Buemi picked himself up to become a regular race winner and a frontrunner in Formula E, winning the title in the 2015/2016 championship.

But it’s in sportscars where Buemi has really made his mark, finishing third in his first full-time World Endurance Championship campaign in 2013 before winning the title outright the following year. Buemi and his teammates have won the title twice more since, and in the runner-up spot on three occasions. Buemi has also been part of the winning team at four of the last five Le Mans 24 Hours, finishing second in the other.

Jaime Alguersuari ponders what Sebastien Buemi might have achieved

Taking to Twitter on the morning after Buemi added another victory to his record by claiming the win at the 6 Hours of Portimao to move into the lead of the WEC championship, Alguersuari pointed out how Red Bull had completely misjudged the Swiss driver.

“Just having breakfast and realised something…” Alguersuari wrote.

“11 years ago, we were told we were being replaced because we weren’t winners… lets pls forget about me for a second but just while I’m having my coffee I found out Sebastien Buemi, my former teammate in F1 keeps on adding wins and trophies to his back.

“I forgot how many World titles he has already to his back and I’m not just happy and proud of him but, as time goes by, I realised how many race wins and maybe World titles he would’ve won at Red Bull racing F1. recommends

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“Again pls don’t judge me…This is only my personal view of my teammate Sebastien Buemi based on statistics and facts. I do not want to intend what my performance would’ve been…however it was also written! Ciao!”

With Alguersuari joining in joking with commenters about ‘not eating mushrooms or psychedelic stuff’, he responded to one fan who listed several of Buemi’s achievements by writing: “Not bad, not to be a non-winning driver?”

Jaime Alguersuari revealed ‘trauma’ of racing for Red Bull

Red Bull’s junior driver programme, run by Dr. Helmut Marko, is well known for being fearsomely ruthless in how young drivers are handled during their rise into the top echelons of motorsport.

Alguersuari’s dig at Red Bull comes in the same week that fellow former Red Bull signing Daniil Kvyat lashed out at how he felt ‘stabbed in the back’ after being replaced by Max Verstappen after a bad weekend racing in Russia.

Last year, Alguersuari told the Spanish publication El Confidencial that, more than a decade on, he sometimes wakes up having dreamt of an angry Marko berating him.

“Red Bull feels in a way like your parents, because they are the ones who have paid for your career to race, and they make the decisions,” he said.

“I’ll tell you one thing: I still dream, when I sleep I have very strange dreams, very strange dreams of that whole time.

“Especially of the impotence and frustration of never getting there, of seeing Mr. Marko always angry, telling me off. As if we were children. I see myself like that.

“This has created a trauma, and I am convinced that [Sebastien] Buemi and many others are going through it too. I have not been able to clean this.

“I have done therapies, and when I retired several psychologists helped me to deal with this to make a new life, but I wanted to deal with this to clean everything I had lived before.

“Now, even so, strange things come into my head. And sometimes I wake up like crying, when I’ve done a great lap, and I find Mr. Marko’s face and he’s angry.

“All this, since you are fifteen years old. Strange calls that hang up on you in a minute…”