Toro Rosso has fuelled rumours that Sebastien Buemi could be set for a surprise return to the team as the Italian outfit looks to replace the departing Pierre Gasly.
The team posted a photo of the 2015-16 Formula E champion undergoing a seat fitting, captioned: “Ciao Seb! Our reserve driver stopped by earlier today for another seat fit.”
Whilst it’s not unusual for a reserve driver to undergo a seat fitting, it’s often something that takes place before the season has begun, whilst a second fitting in the same chassis isn’t so common and some would say unnecessary, unless a driver has drastically changed shape/weight.
Also, given it’s happening at a time when the 2018 ‘silly season’ is very much in full swing and Toro Rosso are hunting for a replacement to partner Brendon Hartley – or maybe even two drivers for an all-new line-up given Hartley’s underperformance – and with limited options available after Lando Norris, a prime target for Red Bull, was announced at McLaren, Buemi is certainly a contender for the vacant seat.
Whilst it could well be an innocent photo, it adds to speculation as to just who might be announced at the Red Bull junior team, with only a handful of names being mentioned alongside Buemi’s, including Daniil Kvyat and the recently available Stoffel Vandoorne.
Buemi has now joined a list of ex-Toro Rosso drivers who are in the frame for a return. They include, Russian drive Daniil Kvyat and French driver Jean-Eric Vergne. Kvyat was racing for Red Bull before being dropped in favour of Max Verstappen. After leaving Toro Rosso, he became a Ferrari reserve driver. JEV too tread a similar path before he joined growing motor-racing series Formula E. It was there that he became the Season 4 world champion and the last champion in the Gen 1 era.
The Gen 2 cars have already begun to roll out with the season starting in December. Buemi too, is a Formula E champion and will be hoping to drive for Nissan, who have taken over from Renault.
Coming back to Toro Rosso, there are several candidates to fill 2 seats. Who will secure those seats, all bets are on.