Faenza, Monday: Scuderia Toro Rosso have announced that they will decide their driver line-up for 2010 based on the results of a reality TV show, to be aired across Europe this autumn.

Reality: The STR, the prize for winning the show
Reality: The STR, the prize for winning the show

The show has yet to be named, with previous suggestion The F1 Factor having to be abandoned in the wake of the news that STR may not be competing in Formula One next year, instead participating in FOTA’s own series. But team principal Franz Tost, who will also act as one of the judges of the show, says that the opportunity of a lifetime still stands.

“We’re looking for a young, talented racing driver who can cope with the pressure of racing at the top level, and of course be physically attractive enough to receive the votes of thousands of European housewives and bored students,” Tost said. “And I would like to take this opportunity to categorically deny that the driver must be named Sebastien if they are to be considered.”

Tost himself is said to fit the profile of a harsh, outspoken judge in the mould of Simon Cowell or Sir Alan Sugar, with added assurances that he is prepared to physically assault any entrant who is not quite good enough to win the ultimate prize.

Competitors will have to face a number of challenges that will replicate actual situations encountered by Toro Rosso drivers, including being lapped, not crashing into more senior F1 drivers while under the safety car, and being shunned by your team who have decided to exercise blatant favouritism towards your younger and more talented teammate. “Anyone who can excel in these challenges will clearly be perfect for us,” Tost said.

The show is expected to tour Europe looking for hopefuls, who will be subjected to verbal abuse from the show’s judges before the field is narrowed to twelve potential F1 drivers, who will face a public vote each week until just one is left to drive the Toro Rosso in 2010.