Sebastien Bourdais will drive for Toro Rosso for a second year in 2009, alongside Sebastien Buemi, the team confirmed today.
The Frenchman’s future in Formula One has been in doubt for several months with Takuma Sato the rumoured favourite to line-up alongside Buemi because of his financial backing and sponsorship.
But Bourdais impressed sufficiently during a three-way driver shoot-out before Christmas to prove to the team that his vast experience was an equally important asset.
The four-time Champ Car champion will resume testing duties in Jerez next week as Toro Rosso prepare for the season-opening grand prix in Melbourne at the end of March.
“It has been a very long and difficult winter, but now the waiting is finally over and I am really excited about tackling my second season with Scuderia Toro Rosso,” enthused Bourdais.
“I would like to thank Red Bull and Dietrich Mateschitz for this opportunity to continue with a team that made so much progress last year.
“Now, I can focus on preparing for the coming season. It promises to be a very interesting one, thanks to all the rule changes and I’m also looking forward to establishing a good relationship with my new teammate, Sebastien Buemi, to ensure both of us do the best possible job for the team and for Red Bull.”
Team principal Franz Tost expects great things from Bourdais this year after the Frenchman began to close the gap to German star Sebastien Vettel in the latter stages of the season.
“After one year with Toro Rosso, we expect him to profit from the experience he gained last season,” said Tost.
“He now knows the F1 environment, the race tracks and the team. In addition, the slick tyres, which make a comeback this year, should suit his driving style very well.
“Therefore he will tackle the coming season with much more experience under his belt. This will be especially valuable given that our other driver, Sebastien Buemi, is an F1 rookie, who has come up through the ranks of the Red Bull Junior Driver programme.”