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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bourdais: Cost cuts saved job

Sebastien Bourdais claims cost-cutting measures by the FIA and FOTA saved his ride with Toro Rosso.

STR had been in the market for a driver who could bring personal sponsorship money, something both Bourdais and Takuma Sato had trouble coming up with.

The team changed its tune with the announcement of cost-cutting measures, Bourdais told French newspaper L'Equipe, according to ITV.

“Originally it was in effect essential, but then when all the cost-saving measures were taken into account, it was clear that Red Bull would save 100 million dollars on its two teams,” the Frenchman said. “All of a sudden it became much less of a concern and I was back at the head of the queue compared to their initial preferences.”


Sebastien Buemi , Test Driver Red Bull Racing during testing in Spain


Toro Rosso is set to debut its 2009 challenger, the STR4, in early March, according to Bourdais. He will be driving the 2008 car in Jerez.

“It is clear that this is not ideal,” he said, “If the deadlines are met, the new car will be presented in early March.”


Still, he’ll have a good idea of what it will look like when Red Bull launches the RB5 Monday. And Bourdais can take solace in knowing he has a job in F1 for 2009.

And that’s not all. Unsure he would have a drive at all just a week or so ago, he now has his confirmation at STR, as well as a ride at Le Mans.

Peugeot is set to officially announce he will be part of their effort in the famed 24 this year.

It will be his sixth crack at the race. He finished second with Peugeot in 2007, his last season in Champ Car.

“I will be with Peugeot on Monday to talk at a press conference,” he is to have told L'Equipe. “But if I take part [at Le Mans] it will definitely be to win it.”


For Senna, what next?

With the team-that-was-Honda’s future in question, and STR locking up its 2009 lineup, Bruno Senna finds himself out in the cold.

iSport International head Paul Jackson discussed Senna in an interview with Crash.net Radio.

“[Toro Rosso] is obviously one avenue that's closed off to him but, in all honesty, I don't think that that was a very strong possibility for him anyway,” he said. “Obviously, the way things have unfolded in the F1 world, his opportunities seem to have been diminishing all the time, so it's put him in a very difficult position, where there isn't an obvious ‘win’ situation. He's in a very disadvantaged situation really.”


Read the full interview, which also talks about iSport’s 2009 plans.

The latest on USF1

ITV is the latest to get confirmation from a source about the projected USF1 team. What sets this one off, however, are some juicy quotes.

Grandprix.com weighs in with thoughtful commentary, as usual.

Superlicence battles rolls on

The battle over the price of superlicence fees continues.

The Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) believes the FIA is using the increase in cost to pay for other programs.

The GPDA says the increase is unfair, but FIA president Max Mosley has little sympathy, citing driver salaries. Mosley wants the drivers to disclose their income before considering a case of hardship, a move the GPDA is resisting.

Read the GPDA statement here.

British, Turkish races have shaky futures

Questions continue to add up for the British Grand Prix’s move to Donnington, with debt problems and a lawsuit against the circuit’s boss, according to F1-Live.com.

The Financial Mail reports former Chief Operating Officer Lee Gill challenging his dismissal in court, and that reports show a €14m loss for 2008 and 76m in debt.

Meanwhile, a report in the Zaman newspaper states Bernie Ecclestone wants to break his contract with the circuit at the first opportunity the contract allows, after the 2011 race.

IndyCar’s Fisher gets unique sponsorship deal

The Associated Press reports Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has backed Sarah Fisher for the 2009 season to promote the school's four-year motorsports engineering program.

“We see this sponsorship as an investment in opportunity for our students, and Sarah couldn't be a better role model as she was once a student here at IUPUI,” the AP quotes Oner Yurtseven, dean of IUPUI's school of engineering and technology.

Fisher has run a limited schedule since starting her own team last year. Earlier this month, Dollar General rental cars would double its sponsorship commitment, and prior to the IUPUI announcement, Fisher was targeting at least four appearances on the IRL schedule this season. 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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