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DATE News (chronologically)
09/19/08
f1
Buemi to race with Toro Rosso in 2009 UPDATE #7 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost has told a Swiss newspaper that Sebastien Buemi will be signed to make his formula one race debut with the Faenza based team in 2009.

The Swiss teenager this week tested the team's STR3 car at Jerez, as did Takuma Sato, as Toro Rosso looks to replace the Red Bull-bound Sebastian Vettel.

Tost, who admits that Buemi is team part-owner Red Bull's recommended driver for the post, told Le Matin that he was delighted with the youngster's performance in Spain.

"After what we have seen this week, and as long as we manage to find a suitable experienced driver to be next to him, I think we can take the risk to have Sebastien with us in 2009," he said.

"You can take that as an official declaration," Tost added.

The team's Austrian-born boss continued of Buemi: "He is very, very talented, and as we belong to the Red Bull family, we must help to support their drivers."

A race contract with Buemi has not yet been signed because "we are not in a hurry", but Tost indicated that it is only a matter of time.

Sato, the 31-year-old veteran of approaching 100 grands prix, remains an outside chance for a 2009 seat at Toro Rosso, especially while the future of Sebastien Bourdais is unclear.

"If they need me, I would be ready," the Japanese is quoted as saying by Switzerland's Blick newspaper.

09/16/08 (GMM)  Sebastien Buemi could make his formula one race debut with Toro Rosso within the last four races of the 2008 season, a member of his management team has said.

Bahrain-based Humbert Buemi, the uncle of the 19-year-old Swiss driver who also lives in Bahrain, told the country's local newspaper Gulf Daily News that Buemi might benefit from a reshuffle among Red Bull's two F1 teams.

Although denied by the Scottish veteran, it has been rumored for some time that David Coulthard could be asked to retire before the end of the season, thus allowing Sebastian Vettel to take up his 2009 seat early.

This would create a vacancy at the junior team Toro Rosso, who this week is giving Buemi and Takuma Sato an evaluation test at the Jerez circuit.

Sebastien Buemi
"The possibility of Sebastien being in F1 this year is very real, but it depends on a lot of factors that are out of our control," said Humbert Buemi, who is the brother of Buemi's father Antoine.

It is believed that Dietrich Mateschitz, who is an owner of both the Red Bull and Toro Rosso teams, told Coulthard at Monza last weekend that he is not expecting the reshuffle to happen.

Humbert acknowledges this but insists that it is still a "possibility".

Buemi raced in the feeder series GP2 this year, and is also a F1 test driver for Red Bull Racing.

His uncle, who said Toro Rosso is likely to announce its 2009 driver lineup in the second half of October, added: "I am convinced that Sebastien can do well in Jerez, and hopefully race in F1 soon."

09/15/08 Sebastien Buemi could be driving in a Formula One Grand Prix as early as this season, it has emerged. Buemi's uncle, Humbert, who works in the kingdom and is part of his management team, told the GDN exclusively that based on recent discussions around the F1 paddock, a race seat may open up with Toro Rosso for the remainder of this season, and Buemi could be the one who takes it.

The 19-year-old Swiss, who resides in a family home in Budaiya, is currently a test and reserve driver for Toro Rosso's sister team Red Bull Racing, but has yet to start a Grand Prix. He is also one of the top candidates to join Toro Rosso next season, but the chance of racing this year has now arisen and Buemi would be pleased to make the most of it.

"The possibility of Sebastien being in F1 this year is very real, but it depends on a lot of factors that are out of our control," explained Humbert, who is the brother of Buemi's father Antoine.

According to Humbert, the situation would play out if Red Bull veteran David Coulthard is asked to give up his race seat to Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel for the remainder of the season. Coulthard has announced he will retire at the end of the current campaign, and Vettel has already been revealed as his replacement. But Red Bull may want Vettel to man their RB4 car in at least one of the four remaining Grands Prix on the 2008 World Championship, in order to give the young German some immediate experience alongside teammate Mark Webber which could prove valuable for next year.

Vettel's move would leave a seat vacant in Toro Rosso, which Buemi could step into as he is greatly admired by top officials from both teams. "Of the new generation, Sebastien is the only one who can say he is really ready (for F1)," Red Bull motor racing adviser Dr Helmut Marko has said.

Added Humbert: "The scenario has been of great talk around the paddock in recent weeks, but word after the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday was that Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz told Coulthard he wants him to finish the season. We are currently not sure about this, so there is still the possibility for Sebastien racing this year."

Meanwhile, Humbert added that Buemi's F1 future relies more heavily on tests scheduled to take place in Jerez, Spain, tomorrow and Friday. Toro Rosso have scheduled and confirmed the sessions, which will be used to evaluate Buemi's capabilities in an F1 car compared to those of rival candidates Bruno Senna of Brazil, Takuma Sato of Japan, and Anthony Davidson of Britain.

Senna, like Buemi, is one of the top drivers in GP2, which is F1's feeder sport, while Sato and Davidson have both raced in F1 Grands Prix in past seasons.

"I'm pretty sure that Sebastien will impress," said Humbert, who said that his test tomorrow will be in Toro Rosso's STR3 car, and then on Friday in an RB4.

"He's tested in Jerez before and he is extremely quick there. I believe that in the past, he was even faster than Coulthard and Webber at the circuit, so definitely the potential is there.

"It's just a question of when he will get the chance to race in F1. In terms of talent, Sebastien is probably the best out of all the aspiring F1 drivers, but other factors can come into play, like the sponsors you can bring into a team. If we get even one major sponsor, his chances would increase dramatically. Unfortunately, Sebastien is lacking that right now.

"As a test driver for Red Bull, Sebastien has a great relationship with the entire team, including all the engineers and mechanics. This is very important, as they rely heavily on him for shake-downs, which is when they test spare parts, tires, the aerodynamics, etc. They say that he gives very good feedback to them, which is very helpful.

"I am convinced that Sebastien can do well in Jerez, and hopefully race in F1 soon." Gulf Daily News

08/29/08 (GMM)  Of all the youngsters queued at F1's door, only Sebastien Buemi is ready to make his debut for Toro Rosso next year.

That is the claim of Dr Helmut Marko, the Red Bull motor racing advisor who is making no secret of his quest to accommodate the Red Bull test driver and GP2 racer at the energy drink's de-factor 'junior' team in 2009.

STR, co-owned by Gerhard Berger, has at least one vacancy, due to the promotion of Sebastian Vettel to Red Bull Racing next year.

"Of the new generation, Sebastien Buemi is the only one who can say he is really ready.

"For the others, formula one is still some distance further away," Marko is quoted as saying by Switzerland's Motorsport Aktuell.

However, Berger and Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost are known to be very interested in Bruno Senna.

Also among the GP2 field, Senna claims his management has been in talks about the future with every formula one team, with the exception of Ferrari.

Reportedly among his best options for 2009 are a race debut with Toro Rosso, or a test driving berth with McLaren, with whom he shares the hotel chain Hilton as a sponsor.

"I am seeking a long-term commitment," Senna is quoted as saying.  "It makes no sense to look for something for only one year and then stand with empty hands in 2010."

08/26/08 Red Bull motor racing advisor Dr Helmut Marko says Toro Rosso, the energy drink company's de-facto junior team, could easily select Sebastien Buemi to replace the departing Sebastian Vettel next year.

Marko told Switzerland's Motorsport Aktuell that 19-year-old Buemi, a GP2 racer and occasional Red Bull test driver, would be a natural candidate for the seat should Toro Rosso bosses Gerhard Berger and Franz Tost agree.

In Vettel and incumbent Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing has already determined its race lineup for 2009, but Marko said there is "no hurry" for Toro Rosso to follow suit.

He noted: "Buemi already has a contract. If Toro Rosso want, they can have him at any time."

Also strongly linked with Vettel's vacant seat has been Bruno Senna, but the cockpit currently occupied by Sebastien Bourdais may also be up for grabs.

Marko sees the situation as not overly complicated for Toro Rosso.

"There are not many drivers on the market at which you should take a closer look," he said.

He also said Toro Rosso is under no obligation to choose Vettel's successor from the Red Bull clan.

08/23/08 (GMM)  Red Bull motor racing advisor Dr Helmut Marko says Toro Rosso, the energy drink company's de-facto junior team, could easily select Sebastien Buemi to replace the departing Sebastian Vettel next year.

Marko told Switzerland's Motorsport Aktuell that 19-year-old Buemi, a GP2 racer and occasional Red Bull test driver, would be a natural candidate for the seat should Toro Rosso bosses Gerhard Berger and Franz Tost agree.

In Vettel and incumbent Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing has already determined its race lineup for 2009, but Marko said there is "no hurry" for Toro Rosso to follow suit.

He noted: "Buemi already has a contract.  If Toro Rosso want, they can have him at any time."

Also strongly linked with Vettel's vacant seat has been Bruno Senna, but the cockpit currently occupied by Sebastien Bourdais may also be up for grabs.

Marko sees the situation as not overly complicated for Toro Rosso.

"There are not many drivers on the market at which you should take a closer look," he said.

He also said Toro Rosso is under no obligation to choose Vettel's successor from the Red Bull clan.

07/23/08 (GMM)  Sebastien Buemi has admitted he is hoping to be selected to make his formula one debut with Toro Rosso in 2009.

The 19-year-old Swiss, a GP2 racer and F1 test driver for Red Bull, said after testing at Jerez on Tuesday that he sees Sebastian Vettel's graduation to the senior team next year as his chance to move out of the summit of the energy drink's junior development program.

"For me my main objective is to try and finish well in the GP2 season this year, but then the objective is really to be in the Toro Rosso next season," he told the F1 website of British broadcaster ITV.

Buemi, seventh in the GP2 standings, was fifth quickest of the nine drivers in action at the Spanish F1 test on Tuesday.

He is well-placed to achieve Red Bull's support for the STR seat; reportedly the cream of the company's junior program in the eyes of racing advisor Helmut Marko, and racing for Red Bull team boss Christian Horner's GP2 team Arden.

"If Red Bull is making a junior team then it is just not for fun," Buemi confirmed.

"They want to develop drivers and then when they get one who is not too bad they will put him in F1."



07/18/08 (GMM)  F1 teams Toro Rosso and BMW-Sauber may be interested in accommodating rising GP2 driver Sebastien Buemi in the near future.

The Swiss daily Le Matin quotes BMW boss Mario Theissen as praising the developing talents of the 19-year-old, who is currently a test driver for Red Bull.

With Sebastian Vettel moving on to the senior team in 2009, speculation has linked Buemi's name with the vacant seat at Toro Rosso.

But Theissen may also be interested, particularly following Buemi's run of good form in GP2, the F1 feeder category.

"When he was in formula BMW, he was very young but immediately very fast," the BMW chief, whose F1 team is based in Switzerland and considerably sponsored by a Swiss company (Credit Suisse), said.

"He can still make the odd mistake, but I am following the GP2 championship very closely and I find that Sebastien is making consistent progress," Theissen added.

He would not, however, be drawn on suggestions that Buemi is at the top of the list for a BMW-Sauber contract, perhaps initially as a test driver.

"Let's see how his season progresses, but I am not saying no," Theissen explained.

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