Sébastien Bourdais has criticised namesake Sébastien Loeb for ramping up the pressure on him in revealing that he would happily replace his compatriot at Scuderia Toro Rosso in F1 – as speculation mounts that the record-breaking former multiple Champ Car king has been informed that he is out after today's German Grand Prix.
Bourdais qualified 20th on the grid for the third time this season at the Nürburgring, more than 1.3 seconds away from rookie team-mate Sébastien Buemi, who has outpaced him on Saturday afternoons on seven occasions out of nine so far this year, belying the considerable discrepancy in experience between the pair. That is understood to have been the final straw for his employers, who RACER
reports have since told the Frenchman that he is to lose his seat following the race.
Bourdais' form in 2009 has been a disappointment, particularly considering the very real step forward he seemed to take towards the end of his own maiden season last year, when he transformed himself from a tail-ender into a regular points-challenger. More progress was expected in his sophomore campaign, but instead – not helped by arguably the slowest car on the grid in the Ferrari-powered STR4 – he has appeared to go backwards rather than forwards, and has invariably been shown the way by long-time Red Bull protégé Buemi.
Whilst the last driver to be confirmed on the 2009 grid – following a shoot-out with Super Aguri F1 refugee Takuma Sato over the winter – is adamant that he has heard nothing from the team regarding a threat to his position, rumours persist that his seat will be occupied by reigning British F3 Champion and current RBR and STR reserve driver Jaime Alguersuari from the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards.
Though the Spanish teenager – currently competing in the World Series by Renault for Carlin Motorsport – is widely tipped to get the nod, five-time World Rally Champion Loeb has added to the intrigue in suggesting that he too would be more than willing to step into the void, provided there are no clashes with his rallying commitments for Citroën [see separate story – click here
]. Bourdais has made clear that he was far from impressed with the 35-year-old's very public declaration.
“He wants to race in Formula 1, that's normal, it's his right,” he is quoted as having said by F1SA
, “but that's not how you do it.”