The breakthrough success of a driver from a nation that has never before produced a world champion often paves the way for a generation of new talent from that country.
So it was with Michael Schumacher, now it may be the case with Fernando Alonso as well. Jaime Alguersuari looks to have the talent, the backing and the connections to become the next Spanish driver in Formula 1.
Alguersuari, 19, is the reigning British Formula Three champion. He snatched the title from the grasps of Carlin team mates Oliver Turvey and Brendan Hartley at the final round of the championship at Donington Park.
He came to the British series after two seasons in Formula Renault, including a championship win in the Italian winter series in 2006. Despite being bundled out of the first race at Oulton Park by Hartley, he bounced back to win in the second event.
By the end of the season Alguarsuari had five wins to his name and secured the title in one of the most competitive seasons of British F3 in recent years. As well as his competitive Carlin team mates, promising Mexican driver Sergio Perez (now in GP2) was also in the hunt for the championship.
A step up to World Series by Renault for this year surprised few people as his father helped set up the series. Alguersuari is still partnering Turvey, and at the halfway point in the series lies ninth in the championship.
Turvey, fifth, won the Monaco round. But for the time being it is Alguersuari who seems to have the strongest connections for an F1 drive.
Red Bull backing
He has just taken over from Hartley as Red Bull’s nominated third driver. Although this involves little testing at present due to the ban, it puts him in a position where he could be drafted in to replace Sebastian Vettel or Mark Webber if they have to miss a race.
Being a Red Bull junior driver gives Alguersuari a great opportunity to graduate to F1 in one of the teams’ four seats. Earlier this month he declared he has his sights on a Toro Rosso drive in 2010. It would be a big step up for a driver with just one season of WSR under his belt, but we’ve seen in the past that Red Bull are happy to take gambles on driver talent.
If that weren’t enough, the arrival of Spanish team Campos next year could present another avenue into the sport for Alguersuari. He carries the backing from Spanish petrol company Repsol on his car and overalls, who have sponsored teams and drivers in F1 before.
Alguersuari’s record may not make him stand out as an obvious candidate for immediate promotion to F1. But he is young enough, shows enough promise and is sufficiently well connected for it to look quite likely that he’ll end up on the F1 grid.
Whether Red Bull should get him into the car quickly, or give him a little more time to develop at the lower levels, will as usual be grounds for debate.
Who do you think should be featured in ‘One To Watch’? Have your say below.
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- One To Watch: Jaime Alguersuari
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Jaime Alguersuari in action
Images (C) Renault, British F3
16 comments on “One To Watch: Jaime Alguersuari”
7th July 2009, 12:56
I am sick of Bourdais. He should have been good this year but has been outshone by Buemi. I think Toro Rosso should replace him with either Jaime or Brendon
8th July 2009, 11:33
jaime has always been my third best driver i really do hope he makes it to F1 and shines like alonso
7th July 2009, 12:59
He’s certainly ambitious, but I don’t think now is the right moment for him to make the jump into F1. His FR3.5 team-mate Oliver Turvey is a much better driver in my opinion, and I think with another season under his belt, Brendon Hartley would be the better driver of the two Red Bull Junior drivers as well.
He’s good and consistent, but nothing amazing – yet.
7th July 2009, 13:08
Ninth in the WSR standings? Wow! ;)
He won’t drive for Toro Rosso. He’s not called Sebastian. :)
7th July 2009, 16:03
Or Sebastien! :P
7th July 2009, 16:13
Or Sebastien Olivier!
10th July 2009, 7:54
7th July 2009, 13:11
Its hard choosing someone from the smaller catogries. Look at Piquet. He was good and he’s useless in F1
7th July 2009, 16:04
Does anybody know of any up and coming Canadian Drivers? I know of one who won a race recently, but i can’t remember his name. i think it starts with a ‘w’.
7th July 2009, 16:52
robert wickens…dominated opening round this year of F2, and in last weeks race he DNF’d in race 1 and podium (3rd) race 2.
my candidate for USF1
7th July 2009, 17:00
ok ok im a little biased…
i purposly avoided the GP of Czech Rep.
he finished P9 and P10 there, but i know he can do better ;)
anyway, currently ranked 2nd in F2
and 14th in BF3 (ahead of fellow Canadian/Carlin, Philip Major – 0 pts.)
7th July 2009, 17:29
On a slight side note, those 2009 WSR cars looks absolutely awesome. Wide and low slung. Very nice.
7th July 2009, 20:47
Marcos Martinez is another name to follow. Actualy, he is leading the World Series, but apparently has not as many godfathers as Jaime.
7th July 2009, 23:24
I agree that Hartley and Turvey are better prospects. I was shocked when he won the F3 title last year, as I didn’t rate him at all. But results are what count, that and piles of sponsorship money. It will be pretty disappointing if he lands the Toro Rosso drive, as there are at least a dozen young drivers I put before him.
8th July 2009, 2:39
according to hartley, the reason alguersuari got the back up role was because hartley felt he wanted to focus on racing instead. The lack of testing must be so frustrating for wanna be F1 drivers
8th July 2009, 14:00
look at his eyes!, he controls the spice.
Anyway, shame on Hartley, isn’t this guy outright substituting Hartley?, he was in the Red Bulletin two months ago and they were praising his socks off.
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