Date: 17th August 2011 at 4:02pm
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The Red Bull young driver programme would appear to be a very successful set-up, you don’t have to look very far to see their most successful graduate, reigning F1 champion Sebastian Vettel.

Part of the programme sees young promising drivers get their chance at Toro Rosso.

Sebastian Vettel was given that chance and he managed to drive to victory to win the team their first ever Grand Prix in Monza in 2008.

Now the team have Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, while reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo is also getting his first taste of F1 with his ‘loan’ move to HRT.

So how does the programme work? How do they appear to manage to scout the best drivers?

‘There will never be another Sebastian Vettel, just as there will never be another Michael Schumacher or Ayrton Senna. What I think is crucial in the development of a driver from rookie to serious podium contender is that the driver discovers himself. There is no such thing as the unerring talent scout. Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost told formula1.com.

So it would seem it’s all about development, something which these days is hugely restricted with the in-season testing ban. Young drivers simply do not get much time in the car. Some are lucky and get one Friday practice session with a team. Others gain no experience of the cars or the tracks other than in simulators.

Then of course there are all the other factors that come with modern day Formula One. The technical aspect, tracks from every single corner of the world, media, sponsors, all things that are part of the working day for an F1 driver.

So what timeframe do the drivers have to impress?

‘Maximum three years. Or let?s put it this way: if you are not sure after three years whether he?s going to make it, I would bluntly say forget him, period.’

It sums up the general cut and thrust of the competitive world of F1.

So what does he think about the drivers currently with Toro Rosso? Sebastien Buemi is currently in his third full season in F1 having started 47 races, while Jaime Alguersuari is in his second full season having started 38 Grand Prix’s.

Using Tost’s three season guide, both drivers head into a critical period of their careers.

He added: ‘I think Sebastien [Buemi] and Jaime [Alguersuari] are doing a good job and I am also really looking forward working together with the other Red Bull youngsters, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne. Both have done the young drivers? days with Toro Rosso last year in Abu Dhabi and Daniel was our third man before he got the opportunity to race for HRT. I expect him to best Liuzzi after not more than three or four races.’

Ricciardo would certainly appear to be the next “big star” from the programme, where that leaves Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari? Time will tell.

 

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