Sébastien Bourdais has ramped up the pressure on his employers Scuderia Toro Rosso to make a decision regarding drivers for 2009 – warning that he cannot afford to hang around waiting forever.
The Frenchman was denied what would have been the best result of his fledgling Formula 1 career when he was controversially demoted 25 seconds by race stewards following the Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji Speedway last weekend, dropping him from sixth to tenth position in the process.
Bourdais' fury at the penalty – one that received similar reaction throughout the F1 paddock [see separate story – click here
] – was symptomatic of his knowledge that his seat at STR is still far from secure for next year, and whilst he had the beating of highly-rated young team-mate Sebastian Vettel throughout the weekend in Japan, he acknowledges that it is the on-track results that are 'essential' to his future.
The record-breaking four-time Champ Car king has been robbed of as many as 15 points to ill-fortune this year, losing fourth place on his grand prix debut in Australia to late-race engine failure, a potential rostrum finish during a chaotic last lap at Spa-Francorchamps, another possible podium in Italy due to gearbox problems on the formation lap and most recently the sixth place at Fuji.
“My team has not yet decided whether it will keep me next year,” Bourdais wrote in his latest column for French sports newspaper L'Équipe
. “If there comes a certain time when they have not taken a decision, it may be necessary for me to take it for myself. I am neither hopeful nor anxious.”
Indeed, STR have now insisted that no decision will be made until after the end of the season in just over a fortnight's time, with Sebastian Vettel graduating to parent concern Red Bull Racing and Super Aguri F1 refugee Takuma Sato and GP2 Series race-winners Sébastien Buemi and Bruno Senna all believed to be in the frame alongside Bourdais.
However, team principal Franz Tost delivered a rare vote of confidence to the 29-year-old from Le Mans by praising his performance in Japan.
“Bourdais was a front-runner right from the beginning,” the Austrian told Spanish newspaper Marca
, “going on to have his best-ever race for us.”
Bourdais has also been tenuously linked to a Renault seat next season [see separate story – click here
], despite the Régie
having stymied his original F1 ambitions six years ago by electing to sign-up Franck Montagny to be its test driver instead.