America's default Formula One driver, Sebastien Bourdais, winner of four successive titles in the Champ Car series, now IndyCar Series, might well be spending the annual summer break thinking about how much longer his long-awaited F1 drive will ...
America's default Formula One driver, Sebastien Bourdais, winner of four successive titles in the Champ Car series, now IndyCar Series, might well be spending the annual summer break thinking about how much longer his long-awaited F1 drive will last.
The Frenchman has written in a column in the French newspaper L'Equipe about his troubles in coming to grips with his Scuderia Toro Rosso STR3, the model introduced this season that has eluded his mastery. He doesn't fancy the way the back-end squirrels around on entering slow corners. Similarly, he doesn't care for the front-end not responding on fast corners. Doesn't suit his "driving style," he writes. "One minute I'm overdriving and the next minute I'm not driving hard enough," he wrote.
While Bourdais, 29, contends his relationship with the STR3 is improving, if incrementally, he allows that his young teammate, Sebastian Vettel, has adapted to the vehicle quickly, a fact that has seen the 21-year-old German promoted to a Red Bull Racing seat next year after David Coulthard retires. Vettel has scored 12 points this season to Bourdais's two.
Meantime, Bourdais's boss, Gerhard Berger, has been speaking to Spanish magazine Grand Prix to say that what Bourdais has produced to date hasn't been so bad but he needs to step it up to save his drive.
"Bourdais will continue with us in 2009 only if he really now begins to show us his potential," the magazine quoted Berger as saying. Not really new comments because Berger started making these noises a few weeks ago. And Austrian Berger is known for holding high standards.
Seen as working in Bourdais's favor is the thought that Scuderia Toro Rosso would not want a completely new driving tandem for 2009. Berger has talked up the GP2 driver with the famous name, Bruno Senna, nephew of the late Brazilian world champion Ayrton Senna. But Red Bull test driver Sebastien Buemi, also in F1's GP2 feeder series, is local favorite for Vettel's spot.
What would Toro Rosso be without a Sebastien lineup?
In other silly season chatter, just as BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica let it out before him, World Driving Champion Kimi Raikkonen has let slip his racing future might lie in the World Rally Championship. The remark prompted Ford Rally team boss Malcolm Wilson to offer Raikkonen a test. Perhaps some of these F1 coves just want a series contested in a lower-key setting ... McLaren Mercedes staff members have spent the day rubbishing talk that McLaren supremo Ron Dennis will retire at the end of the season if a world title comes his way. German magazine Auto Motor Und Sport kicked into life what McLaren reps called "a very old quote." ... Series team members who receive a break of any kind -- you know factories are white-hot busy as you read this -- will enjoy their last. The summer break is scheduled to disappear from the calendar next year. No doubt to be filled with testing.