If I were to mention the subject of battles between teammates for the 2011 F1 season, you might think of Vettel/Webber, Hamilton/Button, Alonso/Massa or maybe Schumacher/Rosberg. You probably wouldn't think of Buemi/Alguersuari, yet this battle has the potential to be the most decisive.

The reason for this is that it could make or break their careers. As the pair fought over 17th place in qualifying in Abu Dhabi, there was more than just a place in Q2 at stake. While one of them will probably take Webber's seat at Red Bull Racing when the Australian leaves, the other could be dropped by Toro Rosso and consigned to the F1 scrap heap.

For Red Bull (the company) it makes sense to replace Webber with either the Spainard or the Swiss driver. There is no point in ploughing money into a second team if you are not going to use it to develop talent for the senior team. Webber is under contract for next year, but with Vettel now World Champion at 23, Webber, 34, will find the going tough at the team in 2011, particularly after throwing away his own chances by being off the pace at the season finale.

If he does not impress, he will be dropped for 2012. They will promote the Toro Rosso driver that has shown the most potential to become a future World Champion for the team. This is why so much is at steak between Alguersuari and Buemi.

If one of them does not perform sufficiently at the start of the season, they could find themselves dropped quicker than they can say 'Scott Speed'. The reason is that Daniel Ricciardo is ready for a shot at F1. While Webber was winning the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix, Ricciardo, also Australian, was winning the Formula Renault 3.5 support race, in the colours of Red Bull. Today he topped the timesheets in the Young Driver Test at Abu Dhabi, by some way.

Having finished second in the FR3.5 standings, Ricciardo, the 2009 British F3 champion, is now ready for a seat in F1 as soon a one becomes available. Even if one of the current STR drivers is promoted to RBR (vacating an STR seat for Ricciardo), the other could come under threat from the next driver on Dr Helmut Marko's production line - Jean-Eric Vergne. The Frenchman won British F3 this year, and is already winning in FR3.5 before he has even joined the series full-time. He tested for STR in Abu Dhabi today.

Buemi impressed in his debut season in 2009, but Alguersuari grew during 2010 after being thrown in when he was not yet ready during last season. Despite Buemi scoring eight points to Alguersuari's five, the Spainiard ended the season as the faster driver, scoring better results than his teammate in four of the final five races. 2 years younger than Buemi, Alguersuari appears to be showing the greater potential.

Providing Red Bull don't make any changes prior to 2011, expect the battle between the Toro Rosso teammates to be a great fight next year.