Toro Rosso make bullish change to F1 line-up

Red Bull-owned team Toro Rosso ditch their 2011 drivers and name Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne for next season.

    Ricciardo of Australia (pictured) will be part of a new Toro Rosso line-up alongside Jean-Eric Vergne [GALLO/GETTY] 

    Toro Rosso named Australian Daniel Ricciardo and Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne in an all-new 2012 driver line-up on Wednesday after surprisingly ditching the youngsters who took them to eighth place in this year's Formula One championship.

    The decision left Switzerland's Sebastien Buemi and Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari looking for a drive with few options
    remaining.

    Vergne, 21, has tested for Red Bull and took part in Friday practice for Toro Rosso three times this year.

    He will be France's third driver on the starting grid, along with Lotus's Romain Grosjean and Marussia's Charles Pic, after the country had none in 2011.

    Ricciardo, a Red Bull test and reserve driver, raced for HRT this year and the 22-year-old had been linked to Caterham as a possible replacement for Jarno Trulli despite the Italian having a contract.

    The arrival of the pair means Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso will have a completely new line-up for the first time since their debut in 2006.

    'First step'

    Toro Rosso said the decision was taken in conjunction with Red Bull.

    "One has to remember that when...Toro Rosso was established in 2005, it was done so with the intention of providing a first step into Formula One for the youngsters in the Red Bull junior driver programme," said team boss Franz Tost.

    "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."

    "I have to say that joining Scuderia Toro Rosso was always my real goal, so a big thank you to Red Bull for giving me this fantastic opportunity"

    Daniel Ricciardo

    Perth native Ricciardo took part in Friday practice at grand prix weekends for Toro Rosso before moving to a race seat at HRT in the second half of the year for the final 11 races without scoring a point.

    "This is a really big deal for me," said Ricciardo.

    "I have to say that joining Scuderia Toro Rosso was always my real goal, so a big thank you to Red Bull for giving me this fantastic opportunity," he said.

    Alguersuari and Buemi were 14th and 15th respectively this season, with 26 and 15 points.

    Toro Rosso's announcement left one seat at Williams and one at HRT still to be decided.

    Force India have yet to name their line-up but are expected to go with Britain's Paul di Resta and Germany's Nico
    Hulkenberg.

    Germany's Adrian Sutil, Russian Vitaly Petrov and Brazilians Rubens Barrichello and Bruno Senna are among those who raced this season still looking for a seat.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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