Ralph Ellis tells us why the expected debut of Jaime Alguersuari, who will become the youngest-ever driver in F1 aged just 19, has riled the likes of Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
"The other drivers see it as less than funny, and not just out of jealousy that a rookie hasn’t had to do his time before getting a chance. Even some of the sport’s other “youngest ever” stars are appalled. That’s because for them, it’s a safety issue. An F1 track is a dangerous enough place to be without a learner driver among them."
At this time of year - and especially in a recession - it's tough for young kids leaving school or University. Interview after interview ends with the verdict: "Sorry, but we wanted somebody with more experience." Which ends with the obvious question: "If nobody will give me experience, how do I get some?"
Well welcome to the kid who's bucked that particular problem. Jaime Alguersuari will sit on the starting grid of a Grand Prix race in Hungary despite having never driven his Torro Rosso car in anything other than a straight line before.
The 19-year-old from Barcelona will become the youngest driver in Formula One history, assuming, of course, that everything goes OK in the next two days of practice and qualifying. Backed by big sponsorship from petroleum giant Repsol, he won the British Formula Three title last season but to step into an F1 seat brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'fast-tracked'.
He tried to win over journalists by starting his press conference in Hungary explaining how to pronounce his name. "I know it's a little bit tough," he laughed. "My name is 'Heimi Al-gay-shuari'.
The other drivers see it as less than funny, and not just out of jealousy that a rookie hasn't had to do his time before getting a chance. Even some of the sport's other "youngest ever" stars are appalled. That's because for them, it's a safety issue. An F1 track is a dangerous enough place to be without a learner driver among them.
"It's wrong. He's too young," says Ferrari's Felipe Massa. "When I came into Formula One I was only 20. I was too inexperienced and made mistakes. But at least I had done a whole winter of testing. He's never driven an F1 car, or he has in a straight line or whatever, but it's not good for him and it's not good for everybody else."
And Lewis Hamilton put it into perspective. "In 2006 when Juan Pablo Montoya left McLaren I was going to replace him in China, Japan and Brazil. I'd done only straight line tests and it would have been the worst move of my career. It eventually took me eight days of strong, core testing before I felt comfortable in the car."
So that's enough advice not to back Alguersuari to win in Hungary, even at a mind boggling 870.0! The big issue is what influence his presence on the track could have on the top drivers.
The warm temperatures at the Hungaroring should give Jenson Button, who is 3.5 favourite, every chance of extending his 21 lead over Sebastien Vettel this weekend, especially with new innovations added to his Brawn car. But with a twist of the unknown added every time one of the top drivers moves to overtake a learner, I'm more inclined to lay that.
Five things you might not know about Jaime Alguersuari
1. Born in Barcelona in March 1990, his dad is a Mr Fixit for Formula Three racing who helped set up the World Series.
2. As a teenager he spent a year at boarding school in Ipswich to improve his English - his dad's idea to prepare him for press conferences after winning races!
3.He started karting at the age of eight, and had four wins in four races to be Spanish junior karting champion at the age of 13
4. He's a decent golfer with a handicap of five
5. He's also a part time DJ, and together with friends helps organise an electronic music festival in Ibiza every year