Red Bull facing problem over talented Sébastien Buemi

By Gareth Llewellyn
sebastien buemi(Photo: Estoril)

sebastien buemi

Red Bull have a problem on their hands over their talented driver Sébastien Buemi, currently at junior team Toro Rosso.

Buemi has consistently outperformed team-mate Jaime Alguersauri this year, but is out of contract at the end of the current season, with no room at the inn with the Red Bull team until 2012 after the team confirmed an unchanged driver line-up for next year.

Buemi’s performances have shown he deserves better than to be in the junior team for another year before making the inevitable step up to replace Webber. Rival teams are already sniffing around the youngster with a view to a seat for 2011.

Red Bull’s engine supplier Renault are just one of the teams interested, with team boss Eric Boullier admitting that Buemi is on their ‘shopping list’ for 2011 to partner Robert Kubica.

The second space at Renault is attracting much attention as the only ‘big’ seat left for 2011 with Ferrari, Red Bull, and McLaren already confirmed for next year, and Mercedes set to remain unchanged too.

As they look to attract a new principal sponsor for 2011, former world champion Kimi Räikkönen, Mercedes test driver Nick Heidfeld, and Force India’s Adrian Sutil have all been linked with a move to the French team, which could spell disaster for current Renault driver Vitaly Petrov who has rarely impressed in his debut season.

If Renault fail to lure Räikkönen—currently driving in the World Rally Championship in a Red Bull sponsored Citroën—back to F1, they may look at a deal for Buemi.

If Red Bull want to hold on to Buemi for 2012 to partner Vettel, a loan move might not be a bad option, perhaps with a negotiation on customer engine costs as part of the bargain.

Buemi gets experience of driving a decent car with a respectable team for a year before going to Red Bull.

It would also allow them to bring through another new young driver at STR, and Renault have a more than capable young F1 driver to push their main man.

And with two ‘big name’ drivers at the team, it also would enable them to secure a big sponsorship deal with more time to find a new driver to partner Kubica.

But the ball is firmly in Red Bull’s court—the best they can offer Buemi is Webber’s race seat for 2012.

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