Scuderia Toro Rosso Officially Drop Sebastien Bourdais

Scuderia Toro Rosso Officially Drop Sebastien Bourdais

Scuderia Toro Rosso have announced today what many had expected; multiple Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais has been dropped by the team with immediate effect. It had been rumoured in Germany last weekend that unless Bourdais produced a decent result, he would be released from his contract, and while team boss Franz Tost cited an overall lack of achievements, it is likely that last weekend’s poor run in qualifying and race proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

As previously mentioned in the speculative article before the announcement had been made, Bourdais hasn’t enjoyed the success he had hoped for in his transition from American Open Wheel racing to Formula One. Although results were plentiful while Sebastien was driving in the Champ Car World Series, the Frenchman has struggled to come to terms with last year’s STR3 and this year’s STR4.

In Sebastien’s second year with us, the partnership has not met our expectations and therefore we have decided to replace him as from the next round of the world championship, the Hungarian Grand Prix. Franz Tost.

Scuderia Toro Rosso have had a shaky relationship with many of their drivers in their so-far short history, and Sebastien wasn’t afraid to show his displeasure at the action, releasing a statement on his website.

I am very disappointed and shocked by the decision taken by Scuderia Toro Rosso of not allowing me to drive for the Team until the end of the current season.

I consider that, in doing so, Scuderia Toro Rosso has breached its contractual duties towards me; also I believe that nothing in my behavior would legitimate a decision of the Team to terminate the contract. I think that the Team’s decision is in clear violation of Scuderia Toro Rosso’s obligations under the agreement. I have instructed my lawyers to review the situation including the possibility of issuing legal proceedings. Sebastien Bourdais.

Bourdais went on to say that the decision was even more shocking to him as the team are about to introduce several new upgrades that would have undoubtedly helped the Frenchman overcome his difficulties with the car. Bourdais also thanked his fans and supporters.

It is likely that Bourdais will return to America (although he states he won’t as he his “committed to [his] Formula One project”), much like how Alex Zanardi did after his [second] attempt at Formula One, where I am sure a team would be happy to place him in one of their cars.

As for Scuderia Toro Rosso, it is likely they will place Jaime Alguersuari in the second seat alongside Sebastien Buemi. Should STR take this option then Alguersuari will become the youngest driver to compete in Formula One, beating Mike Thackwell’s record by 57 days assuming he races on the Sunday of the Hungarian Grand Prix. The pairing of Buemi and Alguersuari will also create the youngest team pairing in Formula One’s history.

Of course, while Scuderia Toro Rosso haven’t yet officially announced who will take the second seat, one has to wonder whatever happened to Takuma Sato…

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16 comments

  • Ooh, I have a question: How will Jaime Alguersuari (or Brendon Hartley for that matter) acquire a super-license when in-season testing is currently banned? Assuming they have only done a straight-line test or two in a Formula One car, how are they going to be able to rack up enough mileage to gain that special certificate allowing them to race?

    C’mon, you know Sato’s gonna get the drive…! 🙂

  • Alguersuari obtained his superlicence though winning the British F3 last season.

    Hartley claimed his through testing for RBR at Jerez pre-season.

  • I think they need a super license before they can become even a reserve driver, so they both already have one. I know Alguersuari was unable to get one earlier this year, and that was the reason Hartley became the official reserve driver. Makes you wonder what he’s done since then to attain one. I do wish the rules surrounding the super license would be made clearer. Sometimes it feels like they just hand them out willy-nilly. *cough*Yuji Ide*cough*

  • Alguersuari obtained his superlicence though winning the British F3 last season.

    Really, you can gain a F1-worthy license through winning a lower formulae championship? I never knew that. I always thought you had to rack up some mileage in a Formula One car as well.

    I live and learn though, thanks Dank.

  • I do wish the rules surrounding the super license would be made clearer. Sometimes it feels like they just hand them out willy-nilly. *cough*Yuji Ide*cough*

    I completely agree with everything you have just said. Everything! 😀

  • Doh, beaten to it by Dank! I’m sure he’s right though, I wouldn’t want to question the blogosphere’s foremost expert on all things Red Bull F1! 😀

    Should have known Alguersuari already has his super license from winning British F3. What I was remembering was this article where he is said to have turned down the reserve role because it would be suicidal for his career! Funny how he changed his mind when the sniff of an STR drive came along, not that I blame him. 😀

  • Really, you can gain a F1-worthy license through winning a lower formulae championship? I never knew that. I always thought you had to rack up some mileage in a Formula One car as well.

    You don’t even have to win one! I’ve just looked it up, and you qualify for a super license if you finish in the top 4 of the GP2 Championship, the top 3 of Formula Nippon, or the top 6 of IndyCar. Formula 2 will be added to the list for next year I believe – Max made much of that I seem to recall!

    You’re also in luck if you’ve won Euroseries 3000, World Series by Renault, International Formula Master, F3 Euroseries, or British, Italian or Japanese F3.

    OR (and here is the catch-all Ide rule) “has a record of results which is judged sufficient”.

    Quite a lot of drivers get it then! But can anyone remember the last Formula Master or Italian F3 driver to get straight into F1?

  • Quite a lot of drivers get it then!

    All I can remember of super licenses prior to the recent fiasco from this and last year, was Kimi Raikkonen almost being refused one because of his lack of experience in anything other than karts, really. I think Peter Sauber persuaded the FIA and he drove in a couple of tests and just about got one. The rest, as they say, is history.

    But can anyone remember the last Formula Master or Italian F3 driver to get straight into F1?

    Without looking it up myself… Italian F3 would lean me towards an Italian driver, and one who had little experience of other formulae or, it was years and years ago and therefore the current rulings weren’t in force.

    I think Fisichella had some experience prior to F1, but then he was signed in a bit of a hurry to Minardi. So maybe him. And he fits in with Duncan’s humour about drivers who aren’t doing so well yet have made it into F1. Although Fisichella in his early career was, in my opinion, pretty good. Anyway…

    It wouldn’t be Trulli because he did well in lower formulae I think. Before that? Larini? Morbidelli?

  • Elio went from Italian F3 to British F1 (Aurora series) before Formula One. That’s pretty close to going straight to F1 from a quite-junior series. And before Italian F3 he was in karts, so he kinda did a bit of a Raikkonen, and had the talent to do well. And Elio had bags more personality than a million Kimis.

  • I’ve long been campaigning for a Sato return to F1 – although I don’t like to see it at the expense of Bourdais. We’ll see what happens in the next few days.

    And Ollie, what has happened to the Caption Contest lately?

    *withdrawal symptoms*

  • And Ollie, what has happened to the Caption Contest lately?

    Option 1: Plead ignorant. “What Caption Contest? I know nothing about this.”

    Option 2: Plead insanity. “Orange grapes make for better clouds.”

    Option 3: Plead stress. “IT’LL RETURN WHEN I SAY IT WILL!”

    Option 4: Apologetic plea. “Sorry, it had slipped my mind for a couple of Wednesdays, and then slipped my mind altogether probably because I hadn’t posted one in the past fortnight. I shall return the Caption Contest this coming Wednesday.”

    I’ll go with the fourth option, me thinks. Although the second option is tempting; it sounds like fun…

  • Really, you can gain a F1-worthy license through winning a lower formulae championship? I never knew that. I always thought you had to rack up some mileage in a Formula One car as well.

    I live and learn though, thanks Dank. {Ollie – 9 comments ago}

    You do need to rack up mileage in an F1 car. Jaime did the requisite miles with Williams last year.

    However, the test alone isn’t enough – there has to be some sort of racing pedigree also, hence why the British F3 championship is significant.

  • I do wish the rules surrounding the super license would be made clearer. Sometimes it feels like they just hand them out willy-nilly. *cough*Yuji Ide*cough* {Duncan Stephen – 10 comments ago}

    They don’t – at least in theory. It’s Article 5 of Appendix L of the International Sporting Code.

    There’s a list of series that automatically prove competence, provided an appropriate result was attained within a particular time limit (ranging from 1 to 3 years depending on series). If one’s sporting achievements aren’t on that list, the WMSC and the Safety Commission vote on your case.

    In addition, the following criteria must be met:

    1) The driver has an International A level of licence (this may have been what caught Jaime out, since British F3 doesn’t require one).

    2) The driver must have done 300km of testing in a F1 car (within 90 days of the application, if the application is without a result considered to automatically prove competence).

    3) The driver must apply, and pay for (or make arrangements for someone else to pay for) the licence.

  • But can anyone remember the last Formula Master or Italian F3 driver to get straight into F1? {Duncan Stephen – 9 comments ago}

    As far as I know, no Formula Master champion has ever entered F1 purely on the strength of that championship. That said, Jérôme d’Ambrosio, currently in GP2, won the Formula Master championship in 2007, so if he can make himself noticed, he won’t be reliant on a good GP2 result to get a Superlicence.

    As for Italian F3, Giancarlo Fisichella is definitely the last champion of that series to get into F1 (in fact, I’ve never even heard of most of his successors to the title before looking it up). Given that the only racing he did between taking that championship (in 1994) and entering F1 (in 1996) was in ETCC (which has never been on the Superlicence list of automatically-valid racing), the F3 is almost certainly the basis of his getting a licence. It does have to be said that the Italian F3 championship was a lot stronger in the early 1990s, although doing F3000 in between the F3 and the F1 was more common than relying on the F3.

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