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Alguersuari surprised at exit from Toro Rosso

Updated: December 15, 2011, 11:53

MADRID(AP) Spanish driver Jaime Alguersuari said he is "very surprised'' by Toro Rosso's decision to drop him for the 2012 Formula One season.

Alguersuari said Thursday that team principal Franz Tost and adviser Helmut Marko had as recently as Monday "told me to insist on our 2012 project in F1.''

Toro Rosso announced two days later that Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Jean-Eric Vergne of France would replace Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi in the Italian team's driver lineup for next season.

Even so, Alguersuari said he accepted the disappointing news and trusted that his former bosses had their reasons.

"I will not judge the reasons for the decision, because Red Bull gave me everything since I was 15 years old,'' he said. "I've been formed by them, and I've become a complete F1 driver at age 21.''

Tost explained in a team statement released later Thursday that the overhaul of his lineup was due to Toro Rosso's mission of acting as a "rookie training school'' for Red Bull Racing.

"With over two seasons under your belt, you are no longer a rookie,'' Tost said. "In an ideal world, drivers would move from Scuderia Toro Rosso to Red Bull Racing, but there are no vacancies with our sister team right now.''

Tost also clarified that the final decision to replace his drivers for the past three seasons had been taken on Tuesday, a day after Alguersuari said they had spoken about him continuing in 2012.

"It might be seen as a harsh decision, but Formula One is a tough environment and Toro Rosso has always been very clear about the principles behind its driver choice,'' Tost said.

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