S?bastien Bourdais has revealed that he is tabling offers from outside of Formula 1 as his current employer Scuderia Toro Rosso continues to drag its feet over any announcement regarding its 2009 driver line-up in the top flight.

Whilst the small Faenza-based concern's co-owner Gerhard Berger recently confirmed that the Frenchman is at the 'top of the list' regarding potential candidates [see separate story - click here], Bourdais has repeatedly urged that he cannot afford to wait for a decision forever.

The record-breaking multiple Champ Car king endured a trying first half to his maiden F1 campaign - what he acknowledges was 'one of the worst of my whole career' - but has since come on increasingly strong over the second half, in the last six grands prix qualifying five times inside the top ten.

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What's more, of late he has more often than not matched highly-rated young team-mate Sebastian Vettel and raced strongly, if remaining dogged by ill-fortune - such as losing out in the last lap chaos at Spa-Francorchamps and being controversially penalised out of the points at Fuji earlier this month.

"I hope I will get a second chance," he confessed to French sports newspaper L'?quipe, "because it has been a difficult season - one of the worst of my whole career - without really being able to leave a lasting impression."

Whilst both the man himself and many within the paddock believe the sport's raft of new regulations for 2009 will play to his driving style and his strengths, Bourdais is adamant that he cannot wait around much longer - with German magazine Auto Motor und Sport suggesting that he has set a deadline of the end of next month before making alternative plans. He is understood to have received offers to return across the Pond to race in America once more.

"The bosses of Scuderia Toro Rosso seem in no hurry to decide my fate," the 29-year-old stated. "I am concerned about the other proposals I have received from outside of Formula 1, and that soon they will need my answer.

"A time will come when I will have to take the responsibility. For sure there are some options, but for now the target is to stay here."

It is believed that one of the biggest obstacles in Bourdais' way to a contract renewal is the desire of Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko to see namesake and GP2 Series race-winner S?bastien Buemi promoted to F1 with STR next season, possibly alongside former Red Bull ace and current Force India test driver Vitantonio Liuzzi, thereby fulfilling Berger's desire for one young driver and one more experienced one in the team.

In further possible evidence that Buemi is edging closer to a seat at the Red Bull 'junior' outfit, is has been reported by Spanish newspaper Diario Sport that Red Bull-backed British F3 Champion Jamie Alguersuari is being lined up to replace the Swiss star as RBR test driver next season, in addition to competing in the feeder GP2 Series.

Meanwhile, another less likely but nonetheless possible door to Bourdais closed when Renault managing director Flavio Briatore described the man from Le Mans as being 'too old'.

The Italian suggested that the R?gie would sooner look towards young talents such as GP2 front-runners Lucas di Grassi and Romain Grosjean - both currently members of the Renault Driver Development programme - whilst seeming to imply that under-fire rookie Nelsinho Piquet could yet hang onto his seat at the French concern in 2009.

"Fuji and Shanghai were new circuits for him, and he learnt them quickly," Briatore told Auto Motor und Sport. "Previously, he was pretty weak on new tracks."