Sebastien Bourdais has conceded that Toro Rosso’s 2009 driver line-up will ultimately be dictated by finance rather than driver talent.
The four-times champ car champion endured a trying start to his Formula One career in 2008 having struggled to match the pace of his team mate Sebastian Vettel who will race for Red Bull Racing next year.
Now Bourdais awaits a decision about his future, with several drivers in the frame to replace him including Takuma Sato and GP2 star Sebastien Buemi who both tested for Toro Rosso, alongside Bourdais, in Barcelona last week.
“It is a rather unpleasant period,” said Nicholas Todt, Bourdais’ manager and the son of the former Ferrari boss Jean Todt, confirming that Bourdais has yet to sign a contract with STR for 2009.
Bourdais meanwhile does not believe that the test at Barcelona was a genuine scout for talent and says that Toro Rosso have little say in their driver line-up given the financial pressures that face the team.
“As long as they don’t have the money to run the team in a proper way they won’t be able to say (who will drive in 2009), because it doesn’t matter whether you have talented drivers at the wheel of the car if you can’t run the car,” he told Formula One’s official website.
“As far as I am concerned I don’t see a decision being made any time soon because I don’t see anybody being able to guarantee money right now, or tomorrow or the next day,” he added.
“If nobody is able to assemble enough solid funding I guess, from what Franz (Tost) is saying, I am number one on the list because to change two drivers in a team is always a tough thing to do, and that is not their preferred solution, for sure.”
“Actually Franz wanted to keep both Sebastian and me, but obviously Sebastian has moved on to Red Bull and I don’t have the money, so this makes things quite difficult,” Bourdais added.