Sebastien Bourdais has admitted that a 'combination of different things' helped him to secure a return to Scuderia Toro Rosso for the 2009 Formula One season, with the cost-cutting measures being introduced into the sport featuring highly on the list.
The Frenchman looked like he could have been left on the sidelines for the new campaign for long periods, with the team making no secret of the fact that finances would play a part in deciding its driver line-up for 2009.
Further fuel was added to the fire when former Super Aguri racer Takuma Sato completed a series of impressive tests with the team, and appeared in a strong position to secure a return to the grid before last week's announcement that Bourdais had re-signed to race alongside rookie Sebastien Buemi this year.
Bourdais then returned to the track during testing at Jerez this week, leading the way in what was the final on-track action for the STR3, and he admitted that there were a number of factors that had allowed him to secure a return.
“I think it's a combination of different things,” he said in an interview with the official F1 website. “First of all, the fact that there has been a lot of cost-cutting measures in F1, so the financial aspect of the problem became a bit less of a priority, although for sure the team's budget has been reduced. But then the costs have been dramatically reduced as well. And then obviously there is [Red Bull owner] Dietrich (Mateschitz). At some point he said, well there is a little bit of money missing, but we want you and an end to the waiting. He's been more than influential on this.
“I believe what Franz [Tost] has always said - the fact that they wanted me back in the car because stability in the team is very important, to know what their driver needs is very important. The fact that they worked really hard to try solutions [when he struggled with the STR3 following its introduction last year], although we could not really fix it because it was really a conceptual problem, has nothing to do with the fact that I'm still there.
“I think I'm still here because they believe there is some potential that was left on the side of the road last year, and that we can do better this year.”
Bourdais will also contest the Le Mans 24 Hours again this year with Peugeot and admitted he came close to returning to the United States before inking his new F1 deal – with a return to America having been the 'Plan B' to prevent him being left on the sidelines altogether.
Both Bourdais and Buemi will now look forward to a first taste of the new Toro Rosso STR4, which is expected to be ready early next month.