Former Toro Rosso driver, who became AlphaTauri in 2020, Jaime Alguersuari has not forgotten the way Red Bull kicked him out of the team at the end of the 2011 Formula 1 season.
The Spaniard, now 32 and previously the youngest driver in F1 history, replaced Sébastien Bourdais at short notice during the 2009 season.
In two-and-a-half years with the small Italian team, he competed in 46 Grands Prix for 31 points, with his best race finishes being seventh places at Monza and South Korea in 2011.
Results that obviously did not satisfy his leaders, who let him know in their own way that he would not be retained for the 2012 season.
“Franz Tost called me one day after an event organized with Cepsa at eight in the morning to tell me that Red Bull could no longer help us and that he had bad news. Then he hung up on me, probably because he didn’t want to talk to me”, says Alguersuari for the newspaper El Confidencial.
“So I pulled out my phone and called Helmut Marko directly. ‘Is this a joke?’ Then he said to me: ‘You know that, don’t you?’ I asked, ‘What is it, Helmut?’ And he said, ‘I can’t do anything.'”
And Alguersuari to add a layer on his former employer: “At Red Bull, in Formula 1, you never lived in peace, even when you achieved very good results. You did a good job and you never felt that everyone was satisfied. Your rivals congratulated you more often than the people on your own team.”
“And you lived with that feeling from the age of 15. It was never enough. And if you look closely, that’s exactly the pattern Max Verstappen had with his father. That’s the Red Bull school, the one I lived”.
Traumatized by Red Bull, Alguersuari still has nightmares
Although the Barcelona native left Formula 1 more than ten years ago, he says that his move to the premier category within the Red Bull industry still disturbs his sleep today.
“When I sleep, I still have very strange dreams from that time. Mostly about the helplessness and frustration of never getting there, of seeing Mr. Marko still angry and scolding us. Like we were children.”
“It created a real trauma, and I’m sure Sebastien Buemi (who was his teammate at the time) and many others also went through the same thing.”
“I couldn’t erase it. I went to therapy, several psychologists helped me after retirement, but strange things keep coming to my mind. Sometimes I wake up, crying, after dreaming that I was doing a big trick, just to see Mr. Marko’s angry face.
If Buemi was also out at the end of the 2011 season, Red Bull still offered him the reserve position, but nothing to Alguersuari.
But the Spaniard thinks he knows the reason for this final rejection in F1: he believes, like Carlos Sainz, that he did not fit the mold according to the Austrian sector.
“Red Bull wants to find drivers in the middle of a lake and total strangers, just like their family, their friends and they will only depend on them. It was not the case of a driver whose father was a promoter a championship that led to F1 (Alguersuari’s father was then in charge of the World Series by Renault), nor to Carlos Sainz”.
No offense to the former driver, remember that Max Verstappen, whose father Jos was also in F1, is doing very well at Red Bull…