Dec 15, 2011 (F1plus Team) – Toro Rosso scuderia has announced its new drivers for the 2012 season; the Asutralian Daniel Ricciardo will team up with the Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne. Surprised former drivers Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi are now in the search for new outfits.
"I am pleased that we have been able to reach an early decision on our drivers for next year, because it means we can all give our full attention to 2012," said team boss Franz Tost. "Over the past year, both Daniel and Jean-Eric have proved their worth and I expect them to make a significant contribution to the team's performance next year."
Ricciardo, 22, from Perth, drove for Toro Rosso during Friday's free practice sessions at races in the early part of the 2011 campaign. "This is a really big deal for me and something I have wanted ever since I was driving for Toro Rosso on Friday mornings at the races in the first part of last season," Ricciardo said in a team statement.
"To be honest, I am still jumping up and down with excitement at the news."
"In the second half of 2011 I learned a lot from the people I worked with, racing in eleven Grands Prix and I want to thank them for the opportunity. I have to say that joining Toro Rosso was always my real goal, so a big thanks you to Red Bull for giving me this fantastic opportunity. Now I can't wait to get to work once testing begins."
Vergne, 21, drove for Toro Rosso in practice at three of the last four Grands Prix of the 2011 season.
The Frenchman impressed Red Bull during his recent F1 test. Vergne also competed in Formula Renault 3.5 this season, finishing runner-up to Canada's Robert Wickens after a final race clash. Crucially, the Frenchman has also driven F1 machinery in 2011, having taken part in three practice session for Toro Rosso before joining World Champions Red Bull for the Abu Dhabi Young Driver test in November.
"First of all, I must thank Red Bull for all of their support so far and for believing that I am ready to take on the ultimate challenge of racing in Formula 1," Vergne, who was born in Pontoise, commented. "Christmas has come early for me this year!
"Having driven for them a few times and also testing for Red Bull, I definitely feel ready to make the move, even if I know there is a big difference between testing and actually racing. I enjoyed working with the guys at Toro Rosso and I can't wait to be part of the team for real. Sitting on the grid in Melbourne next March cannot come soon enough."
Tost concluded by thanking now former drivers Alguersuari and Buemi, but reiterated that the philosophy at Toro Rosso is to keep bringing young talent into the sport. Vettel is a good example.