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Moments after BMW announced that it had released Sebastian Vettel to Toro Rosso "with immediate effect", the Italian team officially confirmed that the German youngster will replace Scott speed at this weekend's Hungarian GP.
A brief statement issued by the Faenza outfit read:
"Scuderia Toro Rosso announces that as from the Hungarian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel will replace Scott Speed as the driver of car number 19.
Vettel will drive for the team in all the remaining rounds of the 2007 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
Having joined the Red Bull Junior Team in his early karting years at the age of 12 and been guided by us and BMW through his Formula BMW and Formula 3 career, we now welcome Sebastian back to the Red Bull family."
The news, coming days after the release of the official (provisional) calendar for the 2008 Formula One World Championship season, is another blow for American F1 fans, who now face the bitter blow of having lost their round of the World Championship and their sole representative on the F1 grid.
Although Vettel is an exciting prospect, having made a dramatic F1 debut last month, when he replaced Robert Kubica in France, becoming the youngest points-finisher in the history of the World Championship, one cannot help but feel that his future would have been more assured at BMW.
On the other hand, Speed is unceremoniously dumped just days after alleging that he had been assaulted by Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost following his retirement from the European Grand Prix.
The American claims that Tost and Gerhard Berger have continually undermined him and his Italian teammate, Tonio Liuzzi, a view that many would agree with since the team has made no secret of its desire to woo Sebastien Bourdais from Champ Cars.
Toro Rosso has an option on the French racer until midnight tonight, by which time it must officially confirm whether he will race for the Faenza-based outfit next year.
Expect an announcement any time, and thereby further de-motivation for Liuzzi.
One might question the claim that Vettel is returning to a "family", then again, in these days of disfunctional clans and 'pick and mix' partners, perhaps they’re right.
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