JULY 14, 2009
Bourdais out, Alguersuari in
Scuderia Toro Rosso is expected to confirm shortly that Sebastien Bourdais is to be dropped by the Faenza team and will be replaced by Spain's Jaime Alguersuari.
The 19-year-old from Barcelona could thus become the youngest ever driver to compete in Formula 1 in Hungary, beating the record currently held by Sebastian Vettel. Alguersuari was recently named as the reserve driver for Red Bull Racing, and qualifies for a superlicence thanks to his victory in last year's British Formula 3 Championship and the fact that he has completed sufficient mileage in a test last winter at the Algarve Circuit.
Alguersuari is competing in the World Series by Renault in 2009 with Carlin Motorsport.
It is anticipated that Alguersuari's role at Red Bull Racing will go back to Brendan Hartley.
The word is that Toro Rosso is looking to use Alguersuari in the long term and is interested in doing a deal with Spanish oil giant Repsol, which is a supporter of the youngster.
Thirty-year-old Bourdais, who arrived in F1 after four triumphant years in the United States, has had a very poor career in Grand Prix racing.
The interesting question is whether the news means that rumours regarding five-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb racing for STR are now dead. Loeb has to fight for a six WRC title, but has not won since April. There are four events left Finland at the end of the month; Rally Australia at the start of September; Catalunya at the start of October (which clashes with the Japanese GP) and the Wales Rally in October. Loeb could in theory race F1 in Belgium, Italy, Singapore, Brazil and Abu Dhabi if it was deemed to be a good idea.
Loeb tested impressively for Red Bull Racing in Barcelona last November. He also tested a Renault F1 car in 2007. He is no mean road racer and finished second in the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans.