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Posts Tagged ‘Contract’

Sebastien Bourdais in Turkey

Scuderia Toro Rosso confirmed on Friday that Sebastien Bourdais will continue as a driver for the team in 2009. After many months of speculation about his future at the team, he narrowly avoided being replaced by Japan’s Takuma Sato.

Bourdais had a difficult, and some might say, unlucky season with Toro Rosso in 2008. He was largely overshadowed by team mate Sebastian Vettel who, after some impressive showings last year which included a race win at Monza, has been promoted to the Red Bull senior team. Towards the end of the season doubts were starting to form as to whether STR would retain him, and after the conformation that the team were looking for a pay driver to fill their second seat, Sato, who fell victim to the collapse of Super Aguri, became a favourite for the seat with his Japanese backing. Bourdais managed to cling on though, and will partner rookie Sebastien Buemi in the upcoming season.

Bourdais has announced he will also be competing in this years 24 Hours of Le Mans race for Peugeot. He is the first active F1 driver to do so since fellow Frenchman Franck Montagny in 2006. STR’s decision leaves all the driver positions for 2009 filled, with the exception of the two seats at the former Honda team, who are yet to announce a buyer.

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Sebastien Buemi in 2008

Scuderia Toro Rosso officially confirmed on Friday that Sebastien Buemi has been signed for a race seat at the team for the 2009 season. He replaces Sebastian Vettel who moved to the Red Bull parent team alongside Mark Webber, in response to the retirement of David Coulthard. Since then, the Swiss driver, who took up the third driver role at Red Bull last year, had become the favourite to take one of the two available seats.

“I am naturally very happy to be driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso this year,” said Buemi. “This year, I will do all I can to bring home the best possible results and to show Red Bull that the confidence it has shown in me is justified. I want to thank Red Bull for this opportunity and for all the help they have given me in my career, dating back to 2005.” The 20 year old will make his first outing as an official race driver for STR later this month in Portugal.

His 2009 teammate is yet to be confirmed, but either Sebastien Bourdais or Takuma Sato are favourites to take the job. It is possible that STR are waiting for more news from Honda, before confirming their second driver, in the hope of signing Jenson Button.

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Racing at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix

It has been announced today that negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone over next years Canadian Grand Prix have come to an end. After a shock move in October, the Montreal race was dropped off the second provisional calendar, despite the huge fan base in Canada.  A glimmer of hope for the event was offered following the withdrawal of the French Grand Prix, but the local government could not afford the amount Ecclestone was demanding for the race.

The Mayor of Montreal, Gerald Tremblay, released a statement saying: “Despite our endeavours and those of the business community, the unreasonable demands of Formula One exceeded the taxpayer’s ability to pay.” The local minister of tourism added: “We worked very hard over the past few weeks to ensure there would be a grand prix in Montreal, while staying fiscally responsible. We cannot meet Mr. Ecclestone’s unworkable demands.”

This move leaves no races in North America for the 2009 season and, providing no more events drop out before the final calendar is released in December, just 17 rounds of the world championship.

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Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet Jr at Albert Park

Renault have confirmed they will not change their driver line up, singing Nelson Piquet Jr for next year and Fernando Alonso until 2011. The announcement ends speculation that Piquet Jr might have been replaced after a poor season in comparison to Alonso.

Piquet was tipped to be replaced by either GP2 driver Lucas di Grassi or GP2 champion Romain Grosjean, after suffering nine retirements and being the only driver who was out-qualified by his teammate at every single round of the season. The son of the triple world champion said “Although I have had a tough year, I have learned a lot from my rookie season and I will aim to put that experience to good use next season.”

After the first few rounds of 2008, Alonso was tipped to be making a move to Ferrari or BMW for next season, and strong rumours began to go round at mid-season that he would replace Rubens Barrichello at Honda but after his back-to-back wins at Singapore and Japan, the chances of the Spaniard leaving Renault for 2009 looked unlikely.

Renault become the seventh team to announce an unchanged line-up, and the eight team to confirm their drivers for 2009, leaving just Honda and Toro Rosso with question marks.

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BMW Sauber have confirmed that both race drivers, Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica, will stay at the German team in 2009. The announcement ends speculation that Singapore Grand Prix winner, Fernando Alonso, will leave Renault for BMW for next year. Third driver, Christian Klien, will also remain at the team.

The German outfit has had a very strong year, with the team still mathematically able to win both championships. Kubica led home a 1-2 finish at this years Canadian Grand Prix, which remains the highlight of BMW’s 2008 season. This means rumours that Alonso might move to the team for 2009 have come to an end, leaving him with only two options of either going to Honda or staying at Renault.

Heidfeld has a long history with the team, having started his F1 career at Sauber, before joining BMW in 2006 after their taking over of the Swiss-based constructor. Kubica also started his F1 career at BMW in 2006 following the departure of former world champion, Jacques Villeneuve.

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Kazuki Nakajima will remain at Williams for their 2009 campaign, the British team have announced. This is the Japanese drivers first full season in F1, have competed in last years Brazilian Grand Prix. His original signing to the team was largely influenced by Toyota, who provide Williams’s engines.

Nico Rosberg will also be staying at the team in 2009, having extended his contract before the season began. Both drivers have had a difficult championship campaign, with the Williams FW30 proving not to be as fast as expected in the pre-season. However, Rosberg has managed to take two podiums this year, with his best ever F1 result at last weeks Singapore Grand Prix.

Third driver, Nico Hulkenberg, will also stay at the team, meaning Williams’s driver line-up will remain completely unchanged in 2009.

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It was confirmed by Ferrari on Friday that reigning world champion, Kimi Raikkonen, will stay at the Italian team in a new contract that sees him signed until the end of the 2010 season. This ends speculation that Fernando Alonso would replace Raikkonen at Ferrari in 2010.

Alonso was rumored to be in talks to Ferrari to stand in for Raikkonen after his possible retirement at the end of 2009. Speculation still remains that Alonso may leave Renault for Honda next year but if so, the move would likely be long-term, rather than the expected one year contract before moving again. This wouldn’t have been the first time Alonso has stood in for Raikkonen’s absence, having replaced him at McLaren for 2007.

Felipe Massa is also signed until the end of 2010, meaning Ferrari’s driver line-up will not change for at least 2 years.

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