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Alguersuari says Formula One has become an auction

Toro Rosso Formula One driver Jaime Alguersuari of Spain arrives for the news conference ahead of the South Korean F1 Grand Prix at the Kore
Toro Rosso Formula One driver Jaime Alguersuari of Spain arrives for the news conference ahead of the South Korean F1 Grand Prix at the Kore

(Reuters) - Pirelli tire tester Jaime Alguersuari vented his frustration at failing to secure a Formula One race seat on Saturday by saying the sport had become an auction favoring money over talent.

The 22-year-old Spaniard has been trying to find a way back onto the starting grid since he and Swiss team mate Sebastien Buemi were dropped by Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso at the end of the 2011 season.

He had sounded confident about his chances but those hopes have been dashed with lower-ranking teams favoring drivers who can bring sponsorship with them to help shore up strained budgets.

The only remaining vacancy is at Force India, with whom Alguersuari had been linked, whose decision now looks like a choice between their former driver Adrian Sutil and young Frenchman Jules Bianchi.

"I never imagined that after Red Bull's incomprehensible decision not to count on me in 2012...I would have to fight so much outside the track," Alguersuari said in a statement issued by his management.

"I have been convinced most of the 2012 season that my seat was secured in a team that usually scores," he added. "They did tell me and I believed it to be true.

Alguersuari said he had hoped that "the value of my sporting career, and the verbal commitments received, would materialize with my return to F1 in 2013. This has not happened.

"Those who committed themselves with me have given me reasons that I must accept but that I do not share. F1 has become an auction."

The Spaniard said he would continue working with Pirelli and had not given up hope of returning to grand prix racing despite the difficulty of securing backing in debt-stricken Spain.

"Although Spain's economy is in the worst shape in our modern history, and except for Banco Santander no other company considers Formula One as a profitable and sustainable business, I know how old I am, I know my track record and I'm convinced that I deserve a winning car in F1," he said.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso will be the sole Spaniard on the starting grid this season at Santander-backed Ferrari. The country's sole F1 team, HRT, folded after the end of last season.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by John Mehaffey)

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