Five-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb has pitched his hat into the ring to replace underperforming namesake and compatriot Sébastien Bourdais at Scuderia Toro Rosso in F1 – as his own bid for a sixth successive World Rally Championship crown looks to be falling apart at the seams.
Following three consecutive below-par outings – including crashes both on the Acropolis and in Poland – the Citroën star has slipped a point behind Ford rival Mikko Hirvonen in the title standings, and with the ball seemingly in the Finn's court, the pressure is undoubtedly on.
The record-breaking Frenchman is not entirely a stranger to F1, having tested impressively for STR 'parent' outfit Red Bull Racing at Barcelona last November and having reportedly spent several hours at RBR's UK headquarters in Milton Keynes three weeks ago.
Bourdais' career in the top flight is very much hanging by a thread, with suggestions the former multiple Champ Car king will be out on his ear following this weekend's German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring – and though the common school of thought is that the 30-year-old would be replaced by RBR and STR reserve driver and reigning British F3 Champion Jaime Alguersuari [see separate story – click here
], Loeb has dropped hints that there may be more than one candidate to fill the cockpit.
“If Toro Rosso need a driver I'd love to help out,” the 35-year-old told French sports daily newspaper L'Équipe
. “I've heard talk of this possibility [regarding] Sébastien Bourdais, but nothing has happened. I'd race instead of Sébastien Bourdais.
“Who knows, as long as the Formula 1 and rallying calendars don't overlap anything is possible. If there is a place at Toro Rosso, I'm available.”