The announcement from STR last night came as a total surprise for many paddock people. I tweeted more than half an hour before the announcement that “I love the driver market! Got tip that in the 4 drivers for 2 seat case we will have a complete change of scenery”. Everyone thought the announcement would have come out today, but seems the decision has been changed (maybe because of the fact that the story was leaked and would be soon hit the press?)
Anyway … The original plan was to place Ricciardo at Caterham (he confirmed that there was a “chance” http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/96670) and to have Vergne and Alguersuari in at STR. Now it seems that something changed the last minute. Was it that someone offered more money to Caterham to get the Trullis seat from the bid Marko was putting? Was it that Marko decided that spending money was not the way and they had to use their 2 seats at STR for 4 drivers?
Franz Tost was very clear that the decision was coming from Red Bull in Austria. “However, one has to remember that when Scuderia Toro Rosso was established in 2005, it was done so with the intention of providing a first step into Formula 1 for the youngsters in the Red Bull Junior Driver programme. It is therefore part of the team’s culture to change its driver line-up from time to time in order to achieve this goal”, he said. Just before that he commented : “I must also thank Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari for all their hard work over the past three seasons. They have delivered some excellent performances which have helped the team move forward and develop. We wish them well for the future”. I thought that maybe one of them would go to RB as reserve, but I don’t think its going to happen. Reading into Tost words I get the feeling that they are out of the Red Bull umbrella. Buemi said at Blick last week that his contract isn’t renewed and he waits for that. Proved that he’s totally in the cold. You would say that Alguersuari could fit at HRT plans. Its possible but he has to find the money himself and its hard.
Take in addition that there are many drivers in the market now with big wallets.