Sebastien Bourdais was this morning confirmed as a Scuderia Toro Rosso driver for the 2009 season. After a long wait and much speculation about the French drivers future in Formula One, team bosses decided the four-times Champ Car champion would be the best option to partner rookie pilot Sebastien Buemi. Both drivers had been taking part in testing duties along with Takuma Sato, who was until today also in contention for the drive.
Aside from the ongoing issues surrounding the former Honda team, this announcement now completes the 2009 grid, with all available seats taken with teams that are definitely expected to arrive in Melbourne for the first race of the year. Understandably, Sebastien Bourdais was jubilant at the news while Takuma Sato is considering his next career move.
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.
Now, I can focus on preparing for the coming season. It promises to be a very interesting one, thanks to all the rule changes and I’m also looking forward to establishing a good relationship with my new teammate, Sebastien Buemi, to ensure both of us do the best possible job for the team and for Red Bull. Sebastien Bourdais.
I am not sure what my future holds. I will be discussing with my manager what our next steps should be. However, I strongly feel that I have unfinished business in F1 and that I still have a lot to give. Takuma Sato.
Bourdais had a difficult debut season with Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2008, but despite proving to be very successful in America, Sebastien wanted to drive in Formula One, even if it was with a team yet to win anything. Of course, that changed when team mate Sebastian Vettel took pole position and race victory in Monza, but the result overshadowed some strong races by Bourdais throughout the year.
Scuderia Toro Rosso scored well in 2008, largely thanks to Vettel’s efforts but also Bourdais, who collected 4 points during the course of the season. Whether or not this can be repeated in 2009 is another question entirely as the regulations could very easily shake up the grid. The Red Bull car will be one of the last to launch, and the junior team will receive the chassis very late in the day for any serious testing to be completed by the two drivers. However, both Bourdais and Buemi have each put in a lot of miles since the Brazil Grand Prix, albeit in the STR3 chassis.
Sebastien Bourdais deserves another chance to prove himself in Formula One following some strong performances last year. But with the knowledge that Formula One careers can be very short-lived, Bourdais will undoubtedly be driving for his future in 2009. He proved his ability to win in America, and now Bourdais needs to prove his ability to maximise the results from the STR4.