After months of speculation surrounding his future, Sebastien Bourdais has secured a second year in Formula One after Scuderia Toro Rosso confirmed that it has re-signed the Frenchman for 2009.
Despite some encouraging results towards the end of his rookie season, the Frenchman saw his seat come under threat as STR evaluated its options for the new campaign, with Takuma Sato producing some impressive performances during testing with the team over the winter.
Speculation also suggested that Jenson Button could have been an outside contender for a seat after Honda announced it was withdrawing from the sport, while Bruno Senna was another name mentioned as possible partner for Sebastien Buemi.
However, the team has now confirmed that Bourdais will get the chance to return for 2009 and the multiple Champ Car title-winner admitted he was delighted to see the speculation over his future brought to an end.
"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," he said. "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."
Team principal Franz Tost was also pleased to end the speculation by confirming Bourdais in the vacant seat alongside Buemi, admitting that his year of experience would be helpful in aiding his rookie team-mate.
“We are pleased that Sebastien will be with us again for another season,” he said. “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 tyres, 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 programme."