x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Fight between Buemi and Alguersuari helps Toro Rosso improve

Among the five things we learnt from the Hungarian GP is that the internal battle between Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari is proving good for Toro Rosso.

Jaime Alguersuari is fighting for a seat for next season at Toro Rosso with his teammate, Sebastien Buemi.
Jaime Alguersuari is fighting for a seat for next season at Toro Rosso with his teammate, Sebastien Buemi.

Toro Rosso's internal battle is good

The ongoing fight at the Italian team between Sebastien Buemi and his teammate Jaime Alguersuari appears to have more twists than the Hungaroring.

Both drivers know they are battling for one seat next year as Daniel Ricciardo has already been confirmed to race with Red Bull's feeder team.

Things looked ominous for Alguersuari after he was beaten by Buemi in the first six races of the season, and he retired in two of them.

But since Canada, the Spaniard has appeared rejuvenated and turned the tables on his teammate in the previous four races. When Buemi was handed a penalty in Germany last week that saw him start the race in Budapest at the back of the grid, it looked like more bad news for the Swiss.

Yet Buemi fought his way from 24th to eighth in Hungary, on the way passing Alguersuari, who finished 10th.

It was the second time this season they both finished in the points - a feat they had failed to achieve in either of the two previous seasons they have raced together. It would appear the desire to beat each other is providing added motivation.

Ricciardo shows patience

Daniel Ricciardo, who made his Formula One debut with Hispania at Silverstone earlier this month, is getting better by the race.

On Sunday he finished 18th, his best of his three races so far, but more pertinently the 21 year old passed the chequered flag one lap ahead of his teammate, the Italian, Vitantonio Liuzzi. Ricciardo is as good as guaranteed to race for Toro Rosso next year and is using Hispania as a means of gaining experience.

He will race for the Spanish team for the rest of the season - with the possible exception of the Indian Grand Prix, when Narain Karthikeyan will probably reclaim his seat - and Team Lotus could do well to keep an eye on his progress.

Lotus gave Karun Chandhok a race in Germany last week, but the Indian driver struggled and Jarno Trulli was back this weekend.

Without further races, as Ricciardo has been afforded, Chandhok has little chance of gaining experience and will not improve.

And Renault have countless reserve drivers, but when Robert Kubica got injured at the start of the season, they recruited the age-old Nick Heidfeld.

It is time teams started showing faith in their young reserves, otherwise, what's the point?

Button is the rain man

Jenson Button proved once again that when it comes to driving in wet conditions, there is nobody in the field as accomplished as the 2009 world champion.

Button's victory on Sunday was his second triumph of the season, following a sodden Canadian Grand Prix, and Martin Whitmarsh, his team principal, was quick to compliment his driver's on-track temperament calling him "smooth and smart".

Button's patient style is perfect for wet racing, but in dry conditions, drivers such as Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso are superior.

Add to that Sebastian Vettel, who has won every dry race this season, and Button's prowess among the puddles will only see him go so far this season.

F1 will benefit from Sky deal

When it was announced on Friday that Formula One in Britain will, from next season, only broadcast half the races on terrestrial television and Sky will show everything, some of the negative reactions on social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and online forums were close to hysterical. Yet by taking football as a comparison, Sky's involvement, while expensive to the enthusiast, can only be good for F1.

Since Sky bought the rights to the English Premier League, football has mushroomed into a truly global game with more analysis and insight than ever before.

Formula One will grow with Sky in terms of coverage, while it could also benefit the sport in terms of converting it into a social event: Those who cannot afford to subscribe will now be more inclined to gather with a group of friends and watch it together. The potential is enormous. As, no doubt, was the cheque that has been written to Bernie Ecclestone.

Proposed calendar needs tweaking

The new provisional calendar for 2012 that was leaked on Friday features six back-to-back pairings. Team principals have already raised concerns regarding the economical and logistical implications of undertaking seven races in 10 weekends. Hosting Japan-Korea, Bahrain-Abu Dhabi and United States-Brazil all in quick succession would require a monumental effort late in a long season.

With Eric Boullier, the Renault team principal, revealing he wants to discuss a few calendar issues with Ecclestone, we can be sure it will change again.

What would make greatest sense would be for Abu Dhabi to replace Bahrain as the season-opener and the Kingdom's race to move to the end of the season. That way the UAE capital gets a prestigious position on the calendar, Bahrain gets more time to recover from its ongoing problems and the two Gulf races do not find themselves competing with each other for exposure and tourist dollars.

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae


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