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July 21, 2009

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Alguersuari replaces Bourdais at Toro Rosso

TORO Rosso named Spanish driver Jaime Alguersuari as its replacement for the fired Sebastien Bourdais yesterday.

The 19-year-old Alguersuari will become the youngest driver to take part in a Formula One race at this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Barcelona native, a British Formula 3 champion, came up through Red Bull's young driver program and replaces Bourdais 10 races into the season. Although owned by Red Bull, Toro Rosso races independently of the Austrian team.

"I would like to thank Red Bull for giving me this great opportunity to race in Formula One," said Alguersuari, who was promoted to reserve driver before the German GP, where reports first began to surface that he would replace Bourdais.

"I am aware that I'm facing a very tough challenge ... coming into Formula One in the middle of a season is even harder and doing so without any testing is really difficult."

He joins Sebastien Buemi, 20, to make up the youngest lineup on the starting grid.

The Italian team fired Bourdais last week, midway through his second season.

The 30-year-old Frenchman, a four-time Champ Car series winner, has threatened to sue Toro Rosso for breach of contract after it labeled his performance unsatisfactory. Bourdais picked up six points in 27 starts.

"I am well aware that over the next few months the team and Jaime will face a major challenge, especially because of the testing ban," team principal Franz Tost said. "But Red Bull is always ready for a new challenge."

Alguersuari had been racing in Renault's World Series this season.


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