Jaime Alguersuari says he was very surprised by Toro Rosso's decision not to renew his contract to stay with the team in 2012, after the Italian squad announced an all-new driver lineup on Wednesday.
The Italian squad revealed yesterday that Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne would replace Alguersuari and teammate Sebastien Buemi from next year, in a surprising move by Red Bull's junior team. Just the day before, Alguersuari had said he was not even considering a scenario in which he was out of the team.
"I'm very surprised with the decision," said the Spaniard. "Just a week ago, after winning the Challenge of the Stars [kart race] in Florianopolis, I talked to [Red Bull racing advisor] Helmut Marko and [Toro Rosso principal] Franz Tost and both talked to me about the plans they had for me for 2012. They talked with enthusiasm and they showed great confidence, also asking me to be in Madrid on Monday, for a great event by CEPSA where they made me insist about our project in F1 for 2012."
Although the 21-year-old admitted he found the situation "incomprehensible" because of the strong form he believes he showed during the 2011 season, he said he is not judging the decision because of the way he arrived in F1. Alguersuari replaced Sebastien Bourdais midseason in 2009, having not driven Formula 1 machinery before.
"I'm not going to judge the situation, because if I thought it was crazy that they made me debut in 2009 at 19, without having done a single kilometer in an F1 car before, today's news was even more incomprehensible in the best moment of my sporting career," he added.
"I won't judge the reasons for the decision, because Red Bull gave me everything since I was 15. I have grown with them and I have become a complete driver in F1 at the age of 21."
The Spaniard said it was no drama losing his seat, and acknowledged that the support Red Bull had given him during the years had helped him become the driver he is today.
"I don't feel a victim because I've enjoyed the privilege of being in the best team in the world and with the best resources for seven years," he said. "They brought me here – with them I won the British F3 championship at 18 and with them I've achieved the best result for a 21-year-old driver in F1 in 2011. They've taken a decision I respect."
He added: "It's not a drama, because I have a lot of plans for the present and the future. The surprise lasted a couple of hours. Enough to talk to my family, look around and realize that life is full of opportunities and challenges."