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Posts Tagged ‘Sebastien Bourdais’

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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Sebastien Bourdais in Toro Rosso STR3 at Shanghai

Three drivers will be joining Scuderia Toro Rosso for their first testing duties of the off-season. Sebastien Bourdais, Sebastien Buemi and Takuma Sato will be under evaluation for the two race seats available at the Italian team, who waved goodbye to their star driver, Sebastian Vettel, at the end of the season.

Four time champ car champion, Bourdais, came under pressure mid-season for not matching up to Vettel’s results, and may now get the boot from the team if he is out-performed at the upcoming test. His rivals (Red Bull third driver, Buemi, and Sato, who also tested for STR in September following the collapse of his Super Aguri team), are both looking in very strong positions for a race seat. If rumours are to be believed, GP2 drivers Bruno Senna and Giorgio Pantano may also be in the running for a seat, and even Rubens Barrichello may be a contender for a drive, if he is forced out of Honda.

The test will take place at Barcelona next week.

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Sebastien Bourdais has had 25 seconds added to his Japanese Grand Prix finishing time after making contact with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa on lap 52. The penalty demotes him to 10th place, after finishing the race in sixth, meaning he looses three world championship points.

The incident occurred as Bourdais was leaving the pit lane. He entered the first turn at the same time as Massa, who was setting fastest laps to try and get past his rivals in the pits at the time. The French driver tried to get out of the Ferrari’s way, but the two made contact and Massa spun round, losing the time he had made up in the previous laps.

Crucially, this gives Massa an extra point in the race, which decreases Lewis Hamilton’s championship lead to five points. Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Nick Heidfeld also benefit from the decision, promoted to sixth, eighth and ninth.

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