The race for Toro Rosso seats is on, who will win it ?

Toro Rosso seat

The only confirmed 2009 F1 vacancy is at the moment at Toro Rosso. Sebastian Vettel signed with Red Bull from next year and his current seat is up for grabs. With Sebastien Bourdais struggling and having no contract for next season, the contest is pretty much on for both seats in the former Minardi team. That makes Toro Rosso the most likely route to F1 for the lucky one or lucky pair of Formula 1 newcomers. Therefore it comes as no surprise that a string of young drivers has already been linked with the Faenza based team.


Sebastian Buemi, Bruno Senna

Bruno Senna is seen as the favourite to take Vettel’s seat. His very marketable name and family background combined with likely backing by South American sponsors may be exactly what soon to be independent constructor may need. Toro Rosso owner Gerhard Berger, although a friend of Senna family and Senna’s mentor, insists that decision will not be based on name or personal relations but if Senna wins GP2 series it will not matter what his name is. Senna won two GP2 races so far this season and at the moment lies 2nd in the standings, 7 points behind leader Pantano.

There may also be another factor. With Sebastian Vettel being the only graduate of Red Bull young drivers programme currently racing for Red Bull in F1, Berger may be pressed to choose at least one 2009 driver from their own pool. Berger himself named Sebastian Buemi as one of candidates.

Sebastian Buemi, Gerhard Berger

Not sure whether the fact that these two spent some quality time together running Red Bull and Toro Rosso cars around Lake Balaton last weekend has anything to do with Buemi’s inclusion on Berger’s shopping list. Buemi currently tests for Red Bull Racing and races in GP2 for Arden. He has won 2 races already and lies 5th in the championship.

Karun Chandhok

Another Red Bull backed driver rather suprisingly linked with Toro Rosso is Karun Chandhok. If Chandhok ever makes it to F1 people would expect Force India to be his destination but anything can happen in F1. According to Chandhok himself he still sees Force India as his main target, but he is apparently in talks also with the two Red Bull backed teams. Chandhok also races in GP2 this season, e has won 1 race and currently lies in 7th place, only 3 points behind Buemi.

And then there is Sebastien Bourdais. Vettel’s departure may be his advantage as the team may not choose to go to new season with 2 rookies. Gerhard Berger however made it clear this week that the honeymoon is over and if Bourdais wants to retain his seat, he has to deliver in the remaining races of 2008 season. That may prove to be difficult task for Bourdais who himself admits his struggle with the new STR03 car …

So who will drive for Toro Rosso next year ?

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{democracy:24}

You can download high resolution picture of Karun Chandhok here (right click and save)

Photos: Red Bull / GEPA

6 Comments Post a Comment
  1. [...] The race for Toro Rosso seats is on, who will win it ? – F1 WolfMore silly season stuff. Bruno Senna, Sébastien Buemi and Karun Chandhok are all in with a chance of getting a seat at Toro Rosso next year [...]

  2. ChristineNo Gravatar says:

    Nice post. I’m torn by this because I hope that Bourdais gets another chance to prove himself, but at the same time, I’m not sure he particularly deserves it. His performance this year has not shone, but it’s hard to say if that’s his fault, or the cars.

    Vettel has had the odd race where he’s struggled, but when he’s got the car under him he can do the job. Bourdais hasn’t even had a chance to get used to F1 yet, and he’s got to fight the car at every opportunity.

    Anyway, to answer the question, I voted Bourdais and Buemi. I think Senna will want to wait a year or so before taking the big step up.

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      hm, not too many believe Chandhok can make it.

      Buemi has more F1 experience than Senna and if Senna fails to win the GP2 title I think Berger might go for Buemi first. If Senna wins GP2, the seat will be his.

  3. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    I really would like the deal Petrobras-Williams-Senna, as I read somewhere the interest of the Brazilian company to bring Senna’s surename back to Williams (hopefully with a better outcome). I also heard from Berger that he prefers much more Senna than Buemi, but Buemi has much more experience and he’s really into getting a seat sooner than Senna. What will be??? Who will take the cat into the water? (HAHA that’s a Spanish kind of expression).

    Kotenoks last blog post..Jose

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      The problem with Williams is they have Nakajima (supplied by Toyota along with the engines) and Rosberg. Toyota has confirmed both Glock and Trulli for future, so Nakajima is very likely to stay at Williams. If Senna goes to Williams now, it would likely be only as a test driver, unless Williams ships Rosberg somewhere, but where ? Toro Rosso is probably his best bet for racing seat, at least for now.

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