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Friday, February 6, 2009

Seabass confirmed

Toro Rosso confirmed Sebestian Bourdais will return for 2009.

The move guarantees STR will feature a pair of Sebs again this year, but it was a long time coming.

Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix: Qualifying

The Frenchman, a four-time Champ Car champion before moving to F1 last season, found himself on his heels and quickly outperformed by teammate Sebastian Vettel last year, particularly after the team launched the STR3 mid way through the season.

That, combined with the team's need for funding, conspired to see the 29-year-old replaced.

Indeed, Bourdais faced a strong challenge from Honda and Super Aguri vet Takuma Sato, and the Japanese driver's manager said it all came down to money.

“Taku had showed tremendous speed and commitment during the three tests he did for the team and I believe he proved to be the faster driver,” Sato’s manager Andrew-Gilbert Scott, said. “We have all been working very hard and have been able to attract a significant amount of sponsorship to support the team but unfortunately it was obviously not enough to secure the drive.”

The team had long said it wanted an experienced driver to line up with rookie Sebastien Buemi, the young Swiss who has taken over for the promoted Sebastian Vettel, and will be looking for Bourdais' experience to pay off this year.

“After one year with Toro Rosso, we expect him to profit from the experience he gained last season.” Team principal Franz Tost said. “This will be especially valuable given that our other driver, Sebastien Buemi, is an F1 rookie, who has come up through the ranks of the Red Bull Junior Driver programme.”

For Bourdais, it was a long wait, but he's ready to get on with the job.

“It has been a very long and difficult winter, but now the waiting is finally over and I am really excited about tackling my second season with Scuderia Toro Rosso,” he said.
Considering STR is a team where drivers are often on a very short leash, it's nice to see Bourdais getting a second crack at F1. He spent a long time trying to get an opportunity, and was rewarded by being lined up next to a potential star and in a car that did not suit his driving style. The new aero regs and slick tires should wipe the slate clean. Now is a chance for Bourdais, a driver so dominant in other formulae, to show 2008 was an abnormality. 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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