As expected Scuderia Toro Rosso have confirmed that Sebastien Buemi will be one of their racing drivers in the 2009 season. The team will however take sometime to decide who will be Buemi’s team mate with Sebastien Bourdais and Takuma Sato being the main candidates.
Buemi is part of Red Bull’s junior driver programme. Last year he raced in GP2 for Arden and finished the season in 6th place. He landed his Formula One race drive despite former Toro Rosso owner Gerhard Berger saying in July last year (when talking about fellow Austrian Andreas Zuber) – “What I always say is that someone in GP2 who wants to be in F1 needs to win the championship.” Well, Berger is no longer with Toro Rosso… Buemi however always seemed to be high on Red Bull and Toro Rosso list and his performanes during the December tests very much sealed his F1 drive. Team boss Franz Tost:
“We are delighted to welcome Sebastien, who was already part of the Red Bull family, to our team. Our engineers have been impressed with his speed in the car and his ability to learn and progress during the testing he has carried out for us last year. That, along with some impressive performances in GP2 was enough to convince us to give him the drive. His appointment also fulfils the aims of the Red Bull Junior Driver programme and meets Dietrich Mateschitz’s intention to use Scuderia Toro Rosso as a showcase for young drivers the company has supported in the lower formulae.”
Sebastien Buemi is the first and so far the only rookie driver confirmed for 2009 season (see the complete list of 2009 F1 drivers here). All the 2008 Formula 1 drivers retained their seats except David Coulthard (retired) and Sebastian Vettel who got promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull. And then of course there is still the question mark over the future of Honda team and its drivers.
Sebastien Buemi will also become the 22nd driver from Switzerland to start Formula One race, the first one since Jean-Denis Deletraz who raced in 2 GPs back in 1995 for Pacific. The last Swiss driver involved in Formula One was Neel Jani (testing for Sauber, Red Bull and Toro Rosso between 2003-2006), however he never started a Formula One race.
See also – 2008 Hungarian GP – Red Bulls and Lake Balaton – video and photos – Sebastien Buemi and Gerhard Berger driving Formula One cars around Lake Balaton
Photo: Red Bull/GEPA