Sébastien 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.
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'Équipe
, “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 Sébastien 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.