Scuderia Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost has hit back at accusations that he informed Sébastien Bourdais that he no longer had a drive with a team by text message – and explained that the Frenchman's performances had simply failed to meet expectations.
Bourdais parted company with the Red Bull 'junior' outfit following the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in July, after being generally outclassed by young rookie team-mate and namesake Sébastien Buemi for much of the first half of the 2009 F1 season.
Tost contends that it was just such a lack of form – failing to build on an encouraging series of improvements that Bourdais had displayed in the closing stages of his own maiden campaign in the top flight last year – that led to the decision being made to terminate the record-breaking former multiple Champ Car king's contract.
The Austrian also categorically refuted claims that he dismissed Bourdais by text message, a move the man from Le Mans had said proved STR had 'no style' [see separate story – click here
“I told Monsieur Bourdais personally that he was not going to drive anymore and did not write any SMS,” Tost told German publication Sport Bild
. “I can understand that he is disappointed, but his performances were simply not what we expected. We wanted an increase in speed from him in his second year and it did not happen.”
Other notable Toro Rosso casualties in recent years have been Vitantonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed, with the American famously being fired mid-2007 following a heated argument with Tost – also at the Nürburgring – during which the latter is rumoured to have pinned his driver up against the pit wall, a charge he has always denied. Speed later told the media that Tost wanted to get rid of both him and Liuzzi.