Those who can, do.... those who can't

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Jaime Alguersuari, dropped by Toro Rosso at the end of 2011, has opted to ‘stay in F1’ by becoming a commentator

When Jamie Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi were dropped by Red Bull’s ‘development team’ Toro Rosso at the end of last year, the Spaniard sent an email out to the press saying that Red Bull had hurt him and that the sacking was “unnecessary”.

Sebastien Buemi took a more conservative approach to Red Bull’s bombshell and remained silent. At the start of 2012 Buemi is the Red Bull reserve driver – and Alguersuari is Pirelli’s test driver and commentator on Radio Five Live with James Allen and Jennie Gow (above)…

Still, when I met up with Alguersuari at the BBC’s 2012 media launch it was clear that he hadn’t given up on racing in Formula 1 again.

“I got told that I wasn’t continuing with the last team I raced for [Toro Rosso] in December,” he told me. “By then it was too late to do anything with the other teams because everyone was signed for them. I did have some proposals, but they were asking for a lot of money and I’m not really the type of driver who will pay.

“I did have some thoughts about going to do the World Endurance Championship, but that’s avoiding Formula 1. The situation with Radio Five Live is very interesting. It’s a new world for me, but the fact that I am going to be at all the races means that I am still alive in Formula 1. It’s better to be there than not, you know?

“It’s very dificult for people – not just in the UK, but all over the world – to know what is happening in a Formula 1 race if you’re just watching it on the TV or listening to it on the radio. I can understand it as I have been racing in F1 and I know exactly why people are sometimes slow. So many times there are things happening [behind the scenes] and the press know nothing. It’s normal…

“I’m going to be doing some karting this year for physical training, but going outside the world of F1, in terms of Le Mans or DTM… it’s going in a different way. I talked to some of the top teams about it.

“A lot of people were asking me why I didn’t go to America, or why I haven’t done another series, but that would be making another career. I’m only 21 and I think that would be going somewhere I shouldn’t [at this stage of my career].” He’s not one to pull his punches, Alguersuari, and many will question just how he could secure a race seat while also commentating.

Anthony Davidson, who started commentating part-time for BBC Radio Five Live in 2006 when he was Honda’s Friday driver, did go on to race for Super Aguri in 2007 and 2008.

But Bruno Senna managed to go and race in the Le Mans Series in 2010, after parting ways with HRT, and came back to put the 2011 Lotus Renault sixth on the grid at Spa. He’s now at Williams and despite being labelled ‘one of the pay drivers’, he’s showing that he does deserve a seat in F1.

So will Alguersuari race again in Grands Prix? It won’t be for Red Bull or Toro Rosso after that post-sacking email, and if he doesn’t want to bring money then that also rules out much of the second half of the grid. Can you see McLaren or Ferrari taking him? No, I thought not. Now that the WEC is attracting the likes of Toyota and Porsche you’ve got to question why a racing driver won’t at least give it a try for a year.

Ed Foster