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Posts Tagged ‘Takuma Sato’

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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Takuma Sato in STR3 at Barcelona

The first test since the conclusion of the 2008 season got underway on Monday, with all but one team present. It was Toyota that sat out whilst the rest of the pack started their preparations for the 2009 season, by testing new regulations and evaluating new drivers at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona

Toro Rosso’s fight for race seats was brought to the front of the time sheets and Takuma Sato set the fastest time of the day, a 1:20.763, three tenths faster than Sebastien Buemi in the sister STR. The Italian team will continue their driver evaluation into tomorrow, where Sebastien Bourdais will join the battle. Alex Wurz was in a modified RA108, and set the third fastest time for Honda ahead of the McLaren test drivers, Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett. Robert Kubica and Christian Klien set the sixth and ninth fastest time in a radical concept BMW F1.09 car. Five-time rally champion, Sebastien Loeb, took the to wheel of the Red Bull RB3, and finished seventh fastest. Test drivers Luca Badoer and Mark Gene were out for Ferrari and tried out their KERS and former test driver for Spyker, Giedo van de Garde, was driving for Renault. Bruno Senna finally made his first appearance in an F1 car, sharing the Honda RA1O8 with fellow Brazilian and Renault test driver, Lucas di Grassi.

Testing continues into Tuesday at the Circuit de Catalunya.

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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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Former F1 driver, Takuma Sato, will test for Toro Rosso later this month in the hope to get back in a F1 car for 2009. Sato is Japan’s most successful racing driver, having accompanied Jenson Button at BAR for three years, before moving to Super Aguri, who folded this year at Turkey. However, with Vettel leaving for Red Bull next year, a spare seat is open at Toro Rosso, which Sato is keen to fill.

Red Bull test driver, Sebastien Buemi, will also test for Toro Rosso in late September. Buemi is the favourite to take Vettel’s seat at Toro Rosso next year, however he could line up with Sato if rumours about Sebastian Bourdais seat being under pressure are true. Buemi is currently competing in this years GP2 series, running fifth, and signed as Red Bull’s reserve driver in January

Team principal Franz Tost has not given anything away, saying “Buemi is an obvious candidate, because not only is he already part of the Red Bull family, he is currently performing well in the GP2 series. As for Sato, he has proved worthy of a place in Formula One and would be a good fit with the Red Bull spirit, while his recent F1 experience would be undoubtedly valuable to our team.”

The test will take place at Jerez in Spain on September 17th and 18th.

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