Spanish teenager Jaime Alguersuari is set to become Formula One’s youngest ever driver after Toro Rosso ran out of patience with France’s Sebastien Bourdais on Thursday.
The Ferrari-powered team, winners of their home Italian Grand Prix last year with Germany’s Sebastian Vettel, said four-times Champ Car champion Bourdais had made his last appearance for them.
His replacement will be announced shortly before next week’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
“In Sebastien’s second year with us, the partnership has not met our expectations,” added team boss Franz Tost. “Therefore we have decided to replace him as from the next round of the world championship.”
The statement did not say who would get the drive but 19-year-old Alguersuari, the team’s newly appointed reserve driver, has been widely tipped to start in Budapest.
The Spaniard, the British Formula Three champion, is competing for his Carlin team in a World Series by Renault race at Le Mans — Bourdais’ home town — this weekend.
If confirmed for Hungary, he will make his debut aged 19 years and 125 days. The previous youngest was New Zealand’s Mike Thackwell, who entered the 1980 Canadian Grand Prix with Tyrrell aged 19 and 183 days. Bourdais was in his second season at Toro Rosso but was the first driver to retire from Sunday’s German Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring and has been regularly out-qualified by Swiss rookie team mate Sebastien Buemi.
The Frenchman has scored just two points from nine races while Buemi has three.
His future had been in doubt already last year, when he ended with four points to Vettel’s 35, but Toro Rosso eventually decided in February to stick with him after testing Japan’s Takuma Sato.