Scuderia Toro Rosso today confirmed what we had been expecting. In fact, we were all so sure of it, this announcement hardly seems like news anymore. However, it is now official; Sebastien Buemi will drive for STR in 2009 having been promoted from Red Bull Racing’s test driver role after a string of strong testing runs last year. Buemi will become the first Swiss driver to take part in a Formula One grand prix since Jean-Denis Deletraz in 1995.
We are delighted to welcome Sebastien, who was already part of the Red Bull family, to our team. 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. Franz Tost.
Buemi has taken part in many promotional runs with the Red Bull team, thanks to his involvement with the Red Bull junior driver programme. Sebastien also competed in GP2 last season, mixing his racing duties with testing work for the Formula One team. Buemi finished sixth in the 2008 GP2 championship, taking two wins and three other podium finishes. Earlier in 2008 Buemi also competed in the GP2 Asia series, finishing second to Romain Grosjean after scoring one win and four consecutive second places at the end of the short season.
This year, I will do all I can to bring home the best possible results and to show Red Bull that the confidence it has shown in me is justified. I want to thank Red Bull for this opportunity and for all the help they have given me in my career, dating back to 2005. Sebastien Buemi.
Sebastien Buemi will become Formula One’s 22nd Swiss driver and Scuderia Toro Rosso’s second after they ran Neel Jani for the 2006 season in the testing role. Jani competed in the Friday sessions for the team, although he didn’t get the opportunity to actually race for the squad. All eyes now rest on the second vacant seat at Scuderia Toro Rosso, with both Takuma Sato and Sebastien Bourdais looking to fill it. Bourdais was perhaps the favourite at one point, but Sato has impressed in testing.
Buemi’s official debut as a Scuderia Toro Rosso driver will be in Portimao when the team take part in an important test session, due to commence on the January 20th.