Sébastien Bourdais has revealed that he was informed he had been sacked by Scuderia Toro Rosso by text message – accusing his former employers of a lack of 'style' after being evicted from the Red Bull 'junior' concern's revolving ejector seat.
Bourdais was unceremoniously dismissed following last month's German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, confirming long-running paddock rumours and bringing down the curtain on an overwhelmingly disappointing F1 career that lasted just 27 races and accrued a mere six points.
For a man who entered the top flight at the beginning of last year – somewhat belatedly, many felt – with a glittering reputation as the record-breaking, reigning four-time Champ Car king, it was a poor return indeed. Admitting that the Red Bull Racing RB5-based STR4 was not built 'around a driver' – placing the onus upon the drivers to adapt to it – Bourdais confessed that such a skill 'was never my best strength'.
Though there were genuine signs of improvement in the latter half of 2008 – with six top ten qualifying positions from the last seven grands prix, backed up by a string of encouraging race day performances to boot – in 2009 he failed to start higher than 14th in nine outings, and troubled the scorers just twice.
Worse still, Bourdais found himself repeatedly shown up and outperformed by young rookie team-mate and namesake Sébastien Buemi, a driver who some had suggested was not F1 standard prior to the start of the campaign. After qualifying 1.3 seconds adrift of Buemi and more than a second shy of the next lowest-placed driver at the Nürburgring, Toro Rosso decided enough was enough, and the man from Le Mans was shown the door, to be replaced at the Hungaroring a fortnight later by Jaime Alguersuari, the youngest starter in the official 60-year history of the world championship. The threat of legal action on Bourdais' part was subsequently settled out-of-court.
“The way they got rid of me was very disappointing,” the 30-year-old told French magazine Auto Hébdo
. “Dietrich Mateschitz (Red Bull magnate) was at the Nürburgring but he did not speak with me. He did not call me. Everything was done by SMS, which to me has no style.”