Toro Rosso confirms Bourdais, not Sato
Toro Rosso has confirmed that Sebastien Bourdais will again race for the Red Bull-owned team in 2009.
|Bourdais happy to still have ride after being beaten soundly by teammate Vettel in 2008|
Admitting the news had become perhaps F1's "worst kept secret", the Faenza based team said in a statement that the 29-year-old completes the Toro Rosso lineup alongside Swiss rookie Sebastien Buemi.
"After one year with Toro Rosso, we expect him to profit from the experience he gained last season," team boss Franz Tost commented.
STR had considered replacing Bourdais with Takuma Sato for 2009, leading the French driver to admit that the pre-season period was "very long and difficult".
In a separate statement, Japanese Sato's manager Andrew Gilbert Scott said the 32-year-old had been unable to raise enough sponsorship.
"We have all been working very hard and have been able to attract a significant amount of sponsorship to support the team but unfortunately it was obviously not enough to secure the drive," he said.
“I am extremely disappointed that Scuderia Toro Rosso has not chosen Takuma to race for them in 2009,” he said.
“Taku had showed tremendous speed and commitment during the three tests he did for the team and I believe he proved to be the faster driver.
“Unfortunately however the team made no secret about the fact that they would need the drive to bring a substantial amount of funding to the team to secure the drive.
“We have all been working very hard and have been able to attract a significant amount of sponsorship to support the team but unfortunately it was obviously not enough to secure the drive.
“We would like to thank our loyal and new sponsors and also many Takuma fans for everything they did to try to help secure the Toro Rosso drive for Taku.
“We will now be looking ahead for the next opportunity.”
It's probably been the worst kept secret in Formula 1 for the past few weeks, so Red Bull's Italian team, Scuderia Toro Rosso, is pleased to confirm that Sebastien Bourdais will drive for the team again this season. It will be the twenty nine year old Frenchman's second season in Formula 1. This means that once again the team's driver line-up consists of two Sebs.
Commenting on the announcement, Team Principal Franz Tost, said: we are pleased that Sebastien will be with us again for another season. After one year with Toro Rosso, we expect him to profit from the experience he gained last season. He now knows the F1 environment, the race tracks and the team. In addition, the slick tires, which make a comeback this year, should suit his driving style very well. Therefore he will tackle the coming season with much more experience under his belt. This will be especially valuable given that our other driver, Sebastien Buemi, is an F1 rookie, who has come up through the ranks of the Red Bull Junior Driver program."
"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," said Sebastien Bourdais. "I would like to thank Red Bull and Dietrich Mateschitz for this opportunity to continue with a team that made so much progress last year. 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 team-mate, Sebastien Buemi, to ensure both of us do the best possible job for the team and for Red Bull."