BMW has announced that it has released test driver Sebastian Vettel "with immediate effect", allowing the youngster to join Toro Rosso.
The German team claims that the decision will allow the youngster to "take the step into a Formula One cockpit", which suggests he might replace Scott Speed, possibly as early as this weekend's Hungarian GP, following the American's much publicized 'difference of opinion' with team boss Franz Tost.
In a statement released this morning, BMW Team boss Mario Theissen said:
"As our test and reserve driver Sebastian has carried out sterling work for us. When he stood in for Robert Kubica in the USA Grand Prix he made history by becoming the youngest debutant to earn a world championship point. However, the current testing rules mean that he barely gets a chance to drive for us. Now he has been offered the opportunity to get inside a Toro Rosso cockpit. We have sponsored and coached Sebastian over a number of years. To place obstacles in his career path now would go against our concept of talent promotion.
TBMW and Red Bull have a longstanding partnership in supporting Sebastian. Toro Rosso is the sister team of Red Bull Racing, and in that context it makes sense for us to release him. In a sponsoring partnership the main thing is to use the best opportunities that present themselves to a young driver at any given time."
Taking over the role of reserve driver for the BMW Sauber F1 Team will be Timo Glock, who is currently a test driver. The 25-year-old from Brensbach- Wersau is championship leader in the GP2 Series and would forgo a GP2 race should he have to step into the breach for the BMW Sauber F1 Team.