Sebastien Bourdais faces his 30th birthday at the end of the month in a coveted spot: employed.
After keeping the Frenchman in character-building suspense through most of the close season, Red Bull Racing announced Friday the four-time Champ Car title winner will return to Scuderia Toro Rosso's Formula One team.
His second season in F1 finds Bourdais wanting to improve on four points scored, fourth spot in qualifying, and seventh place as highest finish earned. He started each of 18 races staged.
Bourdais loses teammate Sebastian Vettel to the mother ship, Red Bull, whose lead driver Mark Webber returns to action next week in testing after breaking his right leg when he and his mountain bike crashed into an SUV during an extreme endurance contest in November. Happily for Bourdais, he won't need to learn any new names; Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi will be his new Toro Rosso teammate. But the Frenchman will face the same old challenge of trying to keep up with a younger, faster teammate. Buemi showed his heels throughout off-season testing in Toro Rosso and Red Bull chassis. Loser in the musical seats game was veteran F1 racer Takuma Sato, whose team, Super Aguri, died under him after four races last season.
"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," Bourdais said. "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."
Bourdais and Buemi must carry on with the great leap handed them by Vettel, who gave the team its first pole and first victory in Italy, a tremendous feat for the smallest team on the grid. Keeping on the heat will be team principal Franz Tost.
"We are pleased that Sebastien will be with us again for another season,". Tost said. "After one year with Toro Rosso, we expect him to profit from the experience he gained last season. He now knows the F1 environment, the race tracks, and the team. In addition, the slick tires, 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 program."
No word on prospects for unemployed Jenson Button of the defunct Honda team. He turned 29 last month.