Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi was lucky to get out of his car unharmed this morning in Free Practice 1 in China after a massive accident at the end of the back straight.
Buemi, who drivers for the Scuderia Toro Rosso team, was doing approximately 195mph on the straight which is fed from a high speed banked turn not long before the end of the lap on the Shanghai Circuit, when disaster struck. A failure of the upright structure caused the front right tyre to detatch from the vehicle, but the failsafe mechanism caused the front left tyre to part company with the STR4 chassis as well.
As a result of losing both front wheels, Buemi was a helpless passenger as his Red Bull branded car went toboganning down the straight and into the gravel trap before catching a concrete wall and sliding to a halt in the sand.
The driver was shaken and alarmed, and ran back to his team garage to argue with his mechanics about what had just happened. He was incenced at the dangerous situation he was in.
A Toro Rosso spokesperson told us that an upright on the front right hand side of the car, which had been re-designed for the weekend had suffered a “complete and total failure”. The subsequent pressure load forced onto the opposing component on the left hand side “was far too much for it to cope with” and that failed too. It was a new design brought in for this weekend. Alarmingly, the wheel tethers failed and the two front Bridgestone tyres were flung across spectator fences. It is unknown is Toro Rosso will recieve a fine and reprimand for this, as safety with tyres is paramount following the death of Henry Surtees in F2 last season, the young 19 year old was struck a fatal blow to the skull from a loose tyre via a failed wheel tether.
Buemi said this evening, once calmed, that he is prepared to drive again tomorrow.
“The track was really wide there, with a lot of run off. It looked quite spectacular but from inside the car, it was not so big. Afterwards [once the car stopped], it took a bit of time to understand what happened, but it was not too bad. Something broke, and it happens. We’ve changed the [parts on the] car, and it will be fine to go out again. As a driver we don’t think about it any more.”
“It is a bit difficult because we don’t really know how the car is going. We have [Jaime] Alguersuari’s data so we have to study that for tomorrow, as going into FP3 means we will have a lot of work to do, to be ready for qualifying.”
Scuderia Toro Rosso’s launch of the STR5 may have been low-key today in Valencia, but it was a pivotal moment in the history of the team which used to be the fans favourite Minardi.
Up until now, Toro Rosso, who joined F1 in 2006, have used and shared car parts with major backer Red Bull. However with the ban on customer cars, they have been forced to go it alone the TR5 is the product of that. And my, it looks lovely!
Toro Rosso have always had a nice paint scheme, in my personal opinion I think it looks better than the one on the RBR itself. the junior team faces a tough test with two good drivers hauling the Ferrari powered machine around, Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari.
“2010 is a landmark year for Scuderia Toro Rosso as the new regulations demand that we go it alone in terms of designing and building our car in-house,” said team boss Franz Tost.
“After four years of working in collaboration with Red Bull Technology, the TR5 is the first car that is one hundred percent down to our own endeavours.
“Creating the necessary infrastructure to tackle this task has been our biggest challenge, possibly more difficult than actually producing the car itself. We have taken on an additional eighty staff and expanded our facility to accommodate them, including a Machine Shop to increase our production capacity.
“In addition, we have commissioned a wind tunnel in Bicester, England, which we bought from Red Bull. It will take time for the highly skilled team we have assembled to learn to work together as efficiently as possible.
“Making predictions for the coming season is a dangerous trap, but if pushed, I would say we must aim to finish in the top eight in the Constructors’ Championship, while giving our young drivers everything they need to improve, as well as optimising our infrastructure in order to be as competitive as possible in 2010 and beyond.”
Sebastien Buemi and Scuderia Toro Rosso have confirmed the Swiss driver will be continuing to drive for the Toro’s into 2010.
He was widely regarded as likely to return with the Red Bull junior team, who will be designing and building their own car for the first time next season.
“We have re-signed Buemi for next season, but we have not yet signed Jaime [Alguersuari],” a spokesman told BBC Sport.
Buemi, who is seen by many as a potential future front running driver, said he had discussions over a contract with the Toyota F1 Team before they pulled out of the sport.
“I had some contact with other teams because of my good results at the end of the season,” he told the Television Suisse Romande programme Sport Dimanche.
“Toyota could have been a possibility because they had not yet hired any drivers. That was not the only one, and anyway I was always talking with Red Bull. Finally I signed with Toro Rosso for 2010.”
Toro Rosso, the feeder and sister team to Red Bull Racing have admitted they expect progress to be slow until they recieve the aerodynamic upgrades which powered the RB5 to victory at the hands of Sebastian Vettel last weekend at the British Grand Prix.
The new aerodynamic updates included a new front wing and nose section, new diffuser, floor and rear wing.
Toro Rosso were formed in 2006 after Red Bull admitted desire for a second team, and with one owner not being allowed to own two teams Gerhard Berger and Franz Tost were co-owners with exclusive Red Bull support and sponsorship. The team are still based in Faenza, Italy and scored their first win last season in Monza.
“We suffer from the lack of new specification aero parts,” Franz Tost told F1Live.
“We will have these for Hungary, when I expect and hope that this will bring us back to the front end of the midfield.”
Scuderia Toro Rosso have launched their 2009 challenger the STR4 at Jerez, Spain.
The new car is very similar to the Red Bull Racing RB5, but Giorgio Ascanelli has denied that it is a simple rebadging process for the machine.
It will be powered by Ferrari engines.
The drivers for this season are Sebastien Buemi and Sebastien Bourdais. Confidence is high for the team, which was once Minardi, because of their amazing race victory at Monza last season.
“The 2008 season was good in terms of our on-track performance, which, it’s fair to say, exceeded our expectations, with our biggest ever haul of points, a pole position and a win. It’s going to be tough to live up to that this year,” team boss Franz Tost said
“Therefore our target has to be to leave every race track on a Sunday night, knowing we have done the best job we could. The results will then depend on how everyone else has done.”
Ascanelli claims that the car is indeed different to the RB5;
“Red Bull Technology does extremely significant work in defining the essential characteristics of the new car: its length, wheelbase, weight distribution, its basic metric characteristics,” said Ascanelli.
“However, with any F1 car, the packaging revolves around an engine and peculiarities from the drivers and, as we run a different engine to our sister team, it involves a different fuel system and fuel tank. Therefore, ours is completely different to the Red Bull Racing car and is designed here by us.”
Sebastien Buemi has confirmed that the Scuderia Toro Rosso car for the 2009 season will be launched on Monday.
The car, named the STR4 will share a lot of similarities with the Red Bull Racing RB5. The similarity is hardly suprising given two things; firstly the link between the Red Bull team and Toro Rosso and secondly the fact that all of the Toro Rosso’s have been Red Bull’s so far:
- 2006 STR1 was a 2005 Red Bull RB1, indeed it still had the Cosworth V10′s even though everyone else had V8′s
- 2007 STR2 was 2006 RB2, but had a few parts from the 2007 car later in the season.
2008 STR3 was a 2008 Red Bull RB4, park them next to each other and they’re the same.
Indeed the only difference between the RB5 and the STR4 will be the engines, Red Bull run Renault units but Toro Rosso continue their partnership with Ferrari which last season was to their advnatage finishing higher than Red Bull and also scoring a victory with Sebastian Vettel at the Italian Grand Prix.
“It’s like the Red Bull, only in our colours!” Buemi told Swiss newspaper Blick
Sebastien Buemi has been confirmed as one of Scuderia Toro Rosso’s race drivers for the 2009 season, Franz Tost has announced.
The Faenza based team has been holding off on its driver announcements while it evaluated all of the possible drivers, but it would seem that Red Bull back Buemi has done enough to convince the bosses for a seat.
Buemi is just 20 but has shined in multiple race series’ around the world in his short career.
“We are delighted to welcome Sebastien, who was already part of the Red Bull family, to our team,” said team boss Franz Tost.
“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.”
Formula One drivers have been tested for using banned substances, Swiss newspaper Blick revealed today in an exclusive interview with star Sebastien Buemi.
Apparantly, both Ferrari race drivers, Heikki Kovalainen and Buemi have been tested for using dope and other banned substances in line with regulations brought in a couple of years ago alongside global sporting regulations.
Buemi revealed how they turned up at his house at a very early hour of the morning to get a sample, and how he along with those other 3 drivers had to go to the FIA Transporter and give samples.
“Some weeks later two physicians arrived at my parents’ house in Augle (Switzerland) at six in the morning and asked me for another sample.” Buemi told Blick
There were two test sessions taking place today, Monday 15th December 2008.
Sebastien Buemi took the Red Bull to the top of the timesheets and continued a fantastic run in test form. The chances are that he will be made a Scuderia Toro Rosso driver for next season.
He was involved in a crash but was uninjured.
BMW Sauber were 2nd and 4th, with Heidfeld (2nd) testing a B spec version of the 2008 car evaluating slick tyres and set-ups. Christian Klien (4th) was racing with KERS fitted.
In 3rd place was Brendon Hartley, the New Zealander in his first public test with Red Bull Racing, put in a stellar effort and is sure to be one to watch for the future.
Nico Hulkenberg propped up the table in 5th despite completing 100 laps.
Driver Team Time Laps Buemi Red Bull-Renault (B) 1.17.704 71 Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1.19.223 75 Hartley Red Bull-Renault (B) 1.19.586 95 Klien BMW-Sauber (B) 1.19.655 95 Hulkenberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1.20.704 100
The new Algarve Circuit was officially tested on by F1 cars for the first time today with Ferrari and McLaren sending cars to the new track.
Strong winds hampered the first day, as did an illness for Felipe Massa.
Massa’s fastest time was a 1.32.926, but in truth with only a few laps completed it is hard to tell his true speed.
Gary Paffett was racing for McLaren, he had a 2009 front wing fitted and completed a fastest lap of 1.31.788.
Testing continues tomorrow.
Red Bull boss and part owner of the Scuderia Toro Rosso team Dietrich Mateschitz has claimed that Sebastien Buemi is on the verge of getting a race seat with the team.
The young Swiss driver has been a tester for both Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing, alongside driving in series like F3 Euroseries.
It looks likely that the other seat will be a contest between Sebastien Bourdais and Takuma Sato.
“One will very likely be Buemi,” Mateschitz told Autosport.
“The line-up will be confirmed before the last test in December.”
That last test is the 15th-17th December at Jerez.
Takuma Sato has been handed another test with the Scuderia Toro Rosso team.
The popular Japanese driver, who has shown serious speed in the past but conjoined with multiple accidents, has been out of a drive since Super Aguri went bankrupt last season.
Toro Rosso have been looking for an experienced driver to go alongside a young-gun. It is thought that Sato will be fighting it out with Rubens Barrichello, Sebastien Buemi, Bruno Senna and Sebastien Bourdais to get one of 2 seats up for grabs.
Taking on Sato would be useful for the Red Bull Energy Drink brand in Japan where it has struggled to establish a good position.
A statement on Sato’s website said: “We are extremely happy to announce that Takuma will be testing again for Toro Rosso in Barcelona on 17-18 November.
“Toro Rosso have yet to decide on their driver line up for the 2009 season. We would like to thank all the fans, as ever, for their fantastic support for Takuma and look forward to more good news soon.”
Dietrich Mateschitz would appear to be backing out of his decision to sell his half share in the Scuderia Toro Rosso team.
In an interview with a popular Austrian newspaper, the businessman reckoned that he may have been too hasty in his decision to sell up. Indeed, if an offer that he couldn’t refuse came he’d sell but otherwise he is looking likely to be onboard for 2009.
He admitted concerns over customer cars and parts for 2009 though.
“It might happen that we leave everything as it is,” he told Austrian newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten this weekend. “We haven’t been informed about the new rules yet and it depends on what is written down there – which parts each team must design and produce individually.
“We will see if an interested buyer shows up, but it might happen that we do not want to sell at all any more. Right now, I would say nothing is fixed yet.”
Mateschitz also confirmed that Frenchman and multi ChampCar title winner Sebastien Bourdais is in contention for a seat at the team. “We will check all the possibilities,” he said.
“Bourdais remains one of them, but overall, there are not that many possibilities.”
The possibilities so far we believe are: Sebastien Bourdais, Sebastien Buemi, Takuma Sato, Bruno Senna and Nelson Piquet.
Sebastien Buemi has admitted he is realistic about his chances of securing a drive at the Scuderia Toro Rosso team for 2009.
The driver, who is part of the Red Bull young driver programme and been a tester in F1 for a few years, admitted that he isn’t convinced he will be the driver despite a good test day with the team at Jerez.
The Swiss man is coming up against tough competition for the drive from Takuma Sato and Bruno Senna.
“I am a bit excited, but I try to stay calm,” Buemi said about the talk regarding his future. “I did my best, but maybe I will test again before they take a decision. So I have to wait and see.”
He added: “My objective is for sure to be in F1 next season. I was feeling a bit of pressure about that, which was normal, but now it is over. I did my job.”
When asked if he felt he had done a good job, Buemi said: “I think maybe with the new tyres it could have been a bit better, because I could not manage the last bit of the tyres.
“I think maybe the final tenths could have been a bit better, but my feedback and long runs with old tyres were good, I think. I don’t know when we will get a decision, but we will know for sure.”
Sources close to Scuderia Toro Rosso have confirmed rumour from earlier in the week that Japanese driver Takuma Sato is in talks with the Faenza based team.
Sato, a fast but generally wreckless driver has been without a seat after Super Aguri folded. He has proved himself on many occassions, and has plenty of backing from Japan which could be useful to STR if Red Bull were to pull their sponsorship now dealings are at a minimum.
“We have had talks but there is nothing to confirm yet,” a Toro Rosso spokeswoman said.
Sato’s manager Andrew Gilbert-Scott says they would jump at a chance to test for STR.
“If we had the chance to test with them, then we’d be delighted to do so,” he said.
If Sato is genuinly in with a good chance, as too is Sebastien Buemi it leaves little option for current driver Sebastien Bourdais, and even less for poor old Anthony Davidson who always ends up going from pillar to post.
Sebastien Buemi is in the running for a seat at Scuderia Toro Rosso for 2009, team owner Gerhard Berger said at last weekend’s European Grand Prix.
Buemi, a GP2 race winner, is part of the Red Bull junior driver programme and is quite a talent in his current field, a risk taking on such a youngster but Berger reckons it is an educated risk.
He will get a test at Jerez next month.
“We are going to test him at Jerez,” Berger informed Autosport
“It is an evaluation for next year.”
“The ideal situation would be a young driver and an experienced one,” explained Berger. “We are putting everyone on the list who is free, but there is no clear opinion at this stage. We will take our time.”
Bruno Senna, another GP2 talent and Anthony Davidson along with Takuma Sato have been touted for seats at the team, but it is as yet unknown if current driver Sebastien Bourdais has done enough to secure a seat for 2009.
Sebastien Buemi has vented his anger and frustration at the limited testing in F1, and the fact he has hardly had any running in an F1 car this season because of it.
The young Swiss driver, who helped A1 GP Team Switzerland to win the title only a few weekend’s ago in England, is the test driver for Red Bull Racing.
He arrived in France, at Paul Ricard to test on the “Canadian GP Test Circuit Configuration”. However, heavy rain meant the team cut their test short and he only got a few runs. In Canada though, it was sunny and 18oC.
“It was very frustrating, because I have not had much mileage in a Formula 1 car so far this year, so I was looking forward to Friday.” Buemi commented
“We got a couple of runs in dry conditions, but then as I was meant to be doing a long run test, the rain got much heavier and we decided the most sensible option was to stop running.”
He believes that the testing rules and regulations should be changed.