With no word still on his chances of retaining his seat at Scuderia Toro Rosso in Formula 1, it would appear that opportunities back in the States are also thin on the ground for S?bastien Bourdais as the 2009 campaign approaches apace.

The Frenchman is in contention with out-of-work Super Aguri refugee Takuma Sato for the remaining seat at STR alongside grand prix debutant S?bastien Buemi, with the ultimate decision expected to come down to which of the pair can bring the most cash to the small Faenza-based concern.

Bourdais has repeatedly insisted that he cannot wait forever for the Red Bull 'junior' concern to make up its mind [see separate story - click here], and it was rumoured that he was being considered as a replacement at illustrious IndyCar Series squad Penske Racing for Helio Castroneves, due in court in early March on charges of tax evasion. Now, however, it has been revealed that the Brazilian's spot will likely be taken by erstwhile KV Racing star, and 2008 Long Beach winner, Will Power [see separate story - click here].

There were also whispers the record-breaking, multiple former Champ Car king could rejoin forces with old team Newman Haas Lanigan Racing, with whom he claimed all four of his US titles from 2004 to 2007, but paddock experts suggest Dutchman Robert Doornbos could be a rival for the drive.

Doornbos, however, is also being linked to a possible second car at former Champ Car employer HVM Racing - which ran the Dutchman under the Minardi Team USA banner - and some insiders believe that, if Bourdais made a concerted play for a seat at NHLR, he would comfortably slip into the berth previously filled by Justin Wilson, who currently does not have the backing to continue to partner Graham Rahal for a second season.

Bourdais endured a trying maiden season in F1 in 2008, but improved considerably as the year progressed to take the fight to highly-rated young team-mate Sebastian Vettel, qualifying six times out of the last seven races inside the top ten and being unlucky to miss out on a podium finish at Spa-Francorchamps and a strong points result in Japan.

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