Guest Author - Christine Blachford
After a very long wait, we've finally found out that Bourdais will join Buemi at Toro Rosso this year. There's been a lot of speculation over the winter regarding who would get the drive, since Buemi, Bourdais and Sato all took part in a test at the tail end of 2008.
There were other drivers rumoured to be in line for a seat at the team, but once Buemi was announced, it seemed to narrow down to either Sebastien Bourdais or Takuma Sato. All the signs pointed towards the fact that Sato would get the drive. He has more experience in F1, and could be considered a faster driver, plus he has an awful lot of fans back in Japan, that could open a new market for the team and their sponsors.
However, as with a lot of things, it all came down to money. The team needed to sign the driver who could bring the most sponsor money on board, and it looks like Bourdais was the winner. Sato is understandably disappointed, and his managed admits that they had got a good source of funding already, although it obviously wasn't enough for the team. Sato is still determined to get back into Formula 1, although his options are very limited for this year.
Meanwhile, regardless of whether it was money that got him the seat, Bourdais is pleased to have been given a second year at the time. His performance in 2008 was hit and miss, with a strong start. He was soon outshone by Vettel, who won the team's only victory last year, whilst Bourdais struggled with the new car that was introduced halfway through the season.
Now he has a chance to prove that he can race well, and perform in a car that suits him. Of course, the car may not suit him perfectly, but it's more likely to this year, with the new regulations. The slick tyres, especially, make conditions much more similar to Champ Car, which of course, Bourdais is a multi-World Champion of.
However, it seems to be very clear that Bourdais needs to do well this year to secure his future in the sport. He is 30 this month, which is not old by any means, but does put him in the older bracket on the grid, meaning he has less time to prove himself. I hope he can do it.