Ex-Formula 1 driver Jaime Alguersuari believes Sebastien Buemi’s vast success in other racing series is evidence Red Bull squandered a potential World Champion talent.
Alguersuari and Buemi partnered each other at Red Bull’s junior team, Toro Rosso, from 2009-11 but both were axed in favour of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo – the latter then going on to replace Mark Webber to accommodate Sebastian Vettel at the senior outfit for 2014.
While Alguersuari opted to retire from racing to become a DJ, Buemi subsequently embarked on competing in alternative racing disciplines with huge success.
The Swiss driver has recorded a Championship victory in the all-electric Formula E category as well as winning three WEC titles with Toyota and the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours race four times.
Alguersuari has suggested that Buemi’s accolades elsewhere following his F1 stint showcase that Red Bull was wrong to dispense with his former Toro Rosso sidekick’s full-time services.
“Just having breakfast and realized something, 11 years ago we were told we were being replaced [at Toro Rosso] because we are not winners,” Alguersuari said on his Twitter page.
“Let’s please forget about me for a second. But just while I am having my coffee I found out Sebastien Buemi – my former team-mate 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 realized how many race wins and maybe world titles he would have won at Red Bull Racing F1.
“Again please don’t judge me, this is only my personal view of my team-mate Sebastien Buemi based on statistics and facts. I do not want to intend what my performance would have been…however it was also written! Ciao!” he clarified further.
Despite continuing to serve as Red Bull’s reserve driver for a considerable period thereafter, Buemi never returned to the F1 grid on a full-time basis after his 2011 exit.
During his time with the Faenza-squad Buemi accumulated 29 points across 55 starts, with a best finish of seventh place on two occasions in his first year.
Alguersuari, meanwhile, became the youngest participant in an F1 weekend when he debuted at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix – a record that was beaten by Max Verstappen six years later.
Although the Spaniard considers that Red Bull might hold regrets over not utilising Buemi’s gift behind the wheel, the Austrian outfit has endured plenty of success in the meantime.
Since Alguersuari and Buemi were informed their services were no longer required at Toro Rosso Red Bull added another title double with Sebastian Vettel at the wheel to make it four on the bounce.
Despite then encountering an elongated wait for its next title as Red Bull struggled to match the all-conquering Mercedes team in the turbo-hybrid engine era, Ricciardo’s promotion to the main side still yielded seven race victories in five years and two third-place finishes in the Drivers’ Championship.
After Daniil Kvyat’s spell lasted only 23 races, the Australian was then accompanied by Verstappen, who progressed to sensationally win on debut for Red Bull at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix before toppling Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton when finally given a package to fight for the title in 2021.
F1’s sole Dutch winner defended his Drivers’ crown with ease the following season, registering a record 15 wins in a single year to come out on top by a landslide margin.
With Ricciardo having already moved away in the face of the increasing internal threat posed by Verstappen, the current two-time champion automatically moved into the role of team leader and his exceptional performances saw Red Bull go through a plethora of options in the garage next door to him over the intervening years.
Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon struggled and subsequently failed to nail down long-term places, resulting in Red Bull reverting to hiring the experienced Sergio Perez for 2021.
The ex-McLaren man became the first driver to be hired by Red Bull outside of its academy ranks since Webber was acquired from Williams in 2007.
Perez’s two victories in 2022 helped Red Bull to a first Constructors’ title success in nine years, with a two-year contract extension through to the end of 2024 his reward.
Further down the grid, Toro Rosso morphed into AlphaTauri in 2020 – as a reflection of Red Bull’s clothing brand – and added a second win in its F1 history with Gasly at the Italian Grand Prix.
Gasly’s departure from the Red Bull stable to join Alpine at the end of last year means AlphaTauri is currently fielding Japanese hotshot Yuki Tsunoda and Dutchman Nyck de Vries for 2023.
But an onerous start to the season has intensified reports that the Italian-based squad will seek additional help from Red Bull in a bid to prop up the pecking order.