He may have retained a contract with Infiniti Red Bull Racing but Sebastien Buemi has described his experience as “torture”. Why? Well, the young Swiss driver finds himself in the role of Test and Reserve Driver – in other words: so close to a full time return, yet still so far!
I can empathise with him. Imagine being handed your chance in a Toro Rosso, the mighty Red Bull within sights, only to be unceremoniously dropped from the team and demoted to the pit lane. To watch whilst Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne battle it out on the grid must be exactly that – “torture”.
He is lucky though; his former team mate Jaime Alguersuari’s connections to Red Bull and their young driver programme appear to be all but over. With two seats still yet to be filled, a return is possible (indeed he has appeared overly confident that this will be the case).
But it does pose the question. Why cling onto a team that have shown no remorse for dropping you? It’s a fair question and one that the team nor the driver have ever addressed. Perhaps using his past racing experience would be more beneficial? If he can find more funding then one of these seats at Caterham or Marussia could be his. It does sound like an unlikely scenario but it is certainly one worth considering.
After all, there is no guarantee that Red Bull would permit him to race if Vettel or Webber were unable to. Case in point, Bruno Senna (then Test and Reserve Driver at Renault GP) was pushed aside allowing Nick Heidfeld to enjoy a brief stint following Robert Kubica’s rally crash in 2011. Alas, Sebastien Buemi could remain sidelined.
He has had little experience outside of F1 since his exit. He’s driven in the Le Mans 24 Hours but besides that has few connections to the world outside of Formula 1. The path from here will be difficult and it will be interesting to see what the future has in store for him.
Christian Horner has described him as “key member of the team”, and to be fair his work in the simulator was impressive – the feedback he gave enabled Adrian Newey and his team to further improve the championship winning car. But he, unlike their number 1 driver, is not the one who can call himself a Triple World Champion. Shame.
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