Loeb to land F1 ride in Abu Dhabi? UPDATE #9 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Sebastian Loeb will definitely not be on the Abu Dhabi grid next weekend.
The multiple world rally champion has been musing for some the possibility of a one-off debut with Toro Rosso.
But a spokesman for his rally team Citroen on Tuesday was carrying the message that Frenchman Loeb, 35, does not have the necessary super license.
"Seb had requested that he have the answer (about the license) today," said Citroen Racing's Marie-Pierre Rossi.
The news was met with skepticism in the French press, however, with some suspecting Loeb simply was not offered a seat, or elected not to take the risk of pitting himself against the world's best single seater drivers.
Four time F1 world champion and fellow Frenchman Alain Prost backed Loeb's decision.
"Motor sports fans were very curious to see what Sebastien might be able to do in Abu Dhabi," Prost told Europe 1 radio, "but, really, sense prevails.
"Sebastien is a great champion and it would be a shame to risk his image. The two disciplines are so different," he added.09/29/09 (GMM) Sebastien Loeb has confirmed reports that he is set to test a GP2 car run by the British team David Price Racing.
The multiple world rally champion said on his official website that he will attend the last of three days of GP2 testing at the Jerez circuit next Thursday.
The report said 35-year-old Loeb, who wants to race for Toro Rosso at the 2009 season finale in Abu Dhabi, has also been regularly karting with a weighted helmet to strengthen his neck muscles.
"If his participation at the last grand prix of the season in Abu Dhabi takes shape, the driver (Loeb) will have done his utmost to be ready," the report at sebastienloeb.com reads.09/28/09 (GMM) Rumors linking Sebastien Loeb with a formula one race foray continued on Monday.
The Le Parisien newspaper reports that the multiple world rally champion is scheduled to test the GP2 car of the David Price Racing team after this weekend's Catalunya rally.
It has been rumored this year that Loeb, 35, wants to race in November's Abu Dhabi grand prix for his sponsor Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso.
All F1 testing during the championship season is banned, except promotional days and some straight-line aerodynamic running.
Loeb's rally team boss Olivier Quesnel said earlier this month that "if someone makes a proposal (for Abu Dhabi) to Sebastien, Citroen Racing will authorize him (to race)". 09/08/09 (GMM) Sebastien Loeb has admitted that talks with Red Bull about a one-off formula one appearance in Abu Dhabi this year have taken place.
In an earlier report, the multiple champion of world rallying admitted discussions with the energy drink company about his interest in grand prix racing but said a possible location for a drive had not been raised.
But the 35-year-old Frenchman is now quoted by RTL as saying: "It is true that there were contacts with Red Bull about the possibility to do Abu Dhabi, but for the moment there is nothing more."
It is rumored that Loeb would be drafted in for the 2009 season finale to replace either Sebastien Buemi or Jamie Alguersuari, the full-time race drivers for Red Bull's second team Toro Rosso.
"I would be happy to be able to confirm it but it is not the case," he responded.
"But it is the sort of opportunity that you cannot refuse. So, tomorrow, if someone gives me the opportunity to do a race, it would be difficult to say no.
"On the other side it's not as if you wake up one morning and make a F1 race. It requires a kind of preparation completely different from rallying and I have not done that.
"I think, to give up the rallying for F1, it would be a quite complicated adventure," said Loeb. 09/07/09 (GMM) Sebastien Loeb has played down renewed speculation he might make his formula one race debut in Abu Dhabi later this year.
His world rally team boss has been quoted as saying Loeb, 35, would be released from his Citroen contract if he secures a seat for November's F1 season finale.
"For the moment, rumors are going on but I haven't been told anything," said the French driver after the weekend's Rally Australia.
"I've not been offered anything," Loeb added, despite the rumors linking him with a one-off race with Toro Rosso. "We've talked about projects but not one special race in particular."
The multiple rally champion however makes no secret of his interest in the FIA's other premier racing series.
"If I have an opportunity to do formula one another time, I will take it," he is quoted as saying by The National newspaper.09/05/09 Speaking from Rally Australia, Citroen Racing boss Olivier Quesnel said he would authorize five-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb to race at next November's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the 2009 Formula One season finale.
"I am not a Formula One boss, so I have no seat to offer Sebastien," AFP quoted Quesnel as saying. "But if someone makes a proposal to Sebastien, Citroen Racing will authorize him for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since the rally season will be over at that date."
08/25/09 (GMM) Ultra-successful world rally driver Sebastien Loeb has reportedly made an approach to the new-for-2010 formula one team USF1.
"Somebody representing Loeb called us but I won't give details of the conversation," sporting director Peter Windsor is quoted as telling the French sports daily L'Equipe.
Ever since Loeb, 35, tested Red Bull's F1 car over the winter, his rising interest in a more serious foray has been rumored, including recently putting his name forward as Sebastien Bourdais' Toro Rosso replacement.
Windsor added: "He is an incredible talent and he would definitely make things interesting in F1. We are looking more on the American side but are going to take him seriously."
Loeb also confirmed the USF1 approach to L'Equipe.
"I wanted to know if a team was really interested in me for F1. Someone contacted this new team but I don't know what happened.
"I am enjoying myself in the WRC and am on the verge of extending my contract with Citroen. But if I get the opportunity to do a couple of races in 2010 when the calendars don't clash then why not?" the Frenchman added. 07/24/09 Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost has denied Sebastien Loeb's claim that he is a contender for a one-off grand prix ride at the Abu Dhabi season finale in November.
"He is the world's best rally driver and last year he had the opportunity for a test with Red Bull," the Austrian is quoted as saying by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
35-year-old Frenchman Loeb is openly playing down the possibility of a full-time 2010 cockpit, but he says he is available for the last grand prix of the season for a one-off appearance.
"We have had no contact with him," Tost clarifies. "On the Toro Rosso side, this has never been planned. We have good young drivers in our team."07/23/09 (GMM) Sebastien Loeb has admitted it is possible he will make a one-off formula one appearance for Toro Rosso at the season-ending Abu Dhabi grand prix.
The multiple world rally champion, who still drives in the WRC for Citroen, was recently linked with Sebastien Bourdais' Toro Rosso cockpit.
Jaime Alguersuari ultimately landed the vacant seat while Loeb, 35, and Citroen played down the F1 rumors.
But now the Frenchman has admitted the possibility of a one-off race with the Faenza based team in November's season finale, even if he rules out a full-time switch to F1 for 2010.
"If I do Abu Dhabi -- and at the moment nothing is done for this -- it would be too late in the season for me to change my mind for next year," Loeb said.
"I'm sure (in November) I will have signed for Citroen next year and I would have already begun testing for the WRC," he is quoted as saying by Britain's Daily Telegraph.
"I am keen to sign a contract with Citroen and that is the only negotiation that I am having at the moment. It would be a pleasure to drive in F1, but I don't know if I am able to do that or not."
Loeb clarified that his plans for 2010 involve rallying "and not F1".07/12/09 (GMM) Sebastien Loeb will not move into formula one this rally season and probably not in 2010 either, his team Citroen clarified on Saturday.
Earlier this weekend, the 35-year-old suggested he might be a candidate to replace Sebastien Bourdais, if the Toro Rosso team ousts his struggling countryman as expected.
But in a statement issued by Citroen it was pointed out that Loeb has "just one objective" for 2009 "and that is to successfully defend both drivers' and manufacturers' world rally championship crowns".
"Sebastien Loeb is under contract with Citroen until the end of the current year and negotiations for 2010 are in the process of being finalized," the statement added.
Loeb, the most successful rally driver in history, said he was "surprised" by the attention caused by his comments in L'Equipe, blaming the way they were "misquoted or taken out of context". zzzz
He said his priority is world rallying "but what would you expect a driver to answer if asked whether he would like to drive a formula one car?"
"For the moment, my energy is fully focused on that goal," added Loeb, who has tested for the Red Bull F1 team.
Citroen team boss Olivier Quesnel said: "Should Seb get an opportunity to race in F1, our reaction would not be to prevent that from happening, so long as it would happen after the final round."
The world rally calendar concludes in Wales in late October, meaning Loeb would be free to make his grand prix debut in Abu Dhabi.