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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Silly season update: So much centers on Bourdais

With a good portion of the seats filled for 2009, the focus is on Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Bourdais.

So, although the Frenchman was again outshone by his highly regarded teammate Sebastian Vettel, his top 10 in qualifying and 10th place finish in Valencia were just what the doctor ordered.

“Things are finally starting to come together and go in the right direction,” ITV reports Bourdais said in his column for French sports daily L’Equipe. “And as a result, the pleasure is finally coming back. I finally broke into Q3 and was able to battle with the quickest guys. It’s good for the confidence.”

The four-time Champ Car champion believes he has found the right combination to help him compensate for aspects of the STR3 which do not suit his driving style. But the question is, will that be enough to save him for 2009?

SpeedTV reports German magazine Auto Motor und Sport is claiming Toro Rosso will test both GP2 competitor and Red Bull test driver Sebastien Buemi and Takuma Sato in Jerez. Team co-owner Gerhard Berger is also known to be a big fan of Bruno Senna.

Berger is on the record as saying a rookie and a veteran is the right combination for his team. With Vettel moving to parent squad Red Bull, that would seem to solidify Bourdais’ position.

But the appearance of Sato’s name in connection with an STR test doesn’t bode well for the Frenchman. Sato is still hugely popular in Japan, a market Dietrich Mateschitz covets for his energy drink.

Bourdais’ manager Nicolas Todt, son of Jean, is cautiously optimistic.

“In Formula 1, whether it is your first or your tenth year, you always have something to prove and you are always judged on your most recent races,” Todt told French language publication RMC, according to crash.net. “Right now, Sebastien's future in Formula 1 is not yet assured, but I have a good feeling that he can stay at Toro Rosso.”
Much depends on how much influence Mateschitz has over driver choices at STR. It would be expected he’d be keen on getting one of his drivers in an open seat.

But Toro Rosso was openly critical of Red Bull drivers Scott Speed and Tonio Luizzi in the past, and Bourdais’ signing was in many ways a backlash against that driver pairing.

Kubica, Alonso on collision course?

With so few changes in driver lineups for 2008, this year’s silly season is looking more and more about who goes where in 2010.

The latest example: Robert Kubica is reported to have singed a one-year contract extension with BMW Sauber, according to Sky, who are predicting the Pole has eyes on a Ferrari seat in 2010.

Manny believe that is also the goal of Fernando Alonso, who is reportedly in talks with Honda on a one year deal, possibly replacing veteran Rubens Barrichello.

Setanta reports while the Brazilian accepts those discussions are taking place, he wants to continue to race for the Brackley-based outfit.

“I think the team is definitely talking to Fernando but that’s the question mark,” he is to have said. “I have never been so enthusiastic about my whole situation with the team. I left Ferrari because I didn’t have the freedom to do what I wanted to do. I have that at Honda but I still have not had the car to perform and I am waiting for that chance.

“What can I say, but honestly the day that I feel that I am slower than my first race is the day I will call it off and stop. The conversations are there and I am talking to the team, I am talking to all the teams. I want to be racing.”

Davidson would test

F1-live reports former Super Best Friend Anthony Davidson was making the rounds in the paddock at the European Grand Prix in hope of landing a job.

The Briton has been working as a commentator since the demise of the Leafield squad, but is keen to remain in a Formula 1 car.

To that end, the 29-year-old told Switzerland's Motorsport Aktuell “he would accept a place as a test driver.”

Davidson is highly regarded as a test driver, having filled that role over half a decade for Honda. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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