Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

And it's goodbye from him // Sébastien Bourdais bids farewell to Toro Rosso and Formula One

Published by Christine

Sébastien Bourdais

Toro Rosso confirmed today that they'd be waving goodbye to Sébastien Bourdais. This didn't come as a surprise as the rumour has been doing the rounds for a long time. Speculation stepped up prior to the German Grand Prix, and I suppose as Bourdais didn't do anything to impress the bosses during the weekend, his exit was inevitable.

It did seem to come as a surprise to the man himself, though, as he has issued a statement suggesting he will seek legal action against the team. Obviously he feels he hasn't fallen below whatever performance related clauses are the excuse for seeing him out.

I have a funny feeling he will lose that battle.

I supported Bourdais pretty much from the beginning, because he is small, and he is French, and he seemed like an all round nice guy. I even put up with his constant moaning in radio transmissions because, let's face it, the car isn't exactly stellar.

Except, last year that car won, and it wasn't Bourdais putting his foot to the floor to make it happen. His brief flashes of potential just as quickly sputtered out, and it didn't seem like he would get another chance. However, I really wanted him to, and was pleasantly surprised when he did.

But what has he done with that opportunity? Not very much. This year was supposed to be the making of the four-times Champ Car Champion, as the new regulations, and particularly slick tyres, brought it back to a level he was comfortable at. It doesn't seem to have worked, and as the STR's trundle around at the back, it's easy to forget they are even there. Buemi has shown the flashes of potential this year, but Bourdais has proven very little.

I feel like Toro Rosso knew this was going to happen, but had very little option other than to sign Bourdais when it came to it. Now, they know that rather than spend their time watching Le Seb retire from each race, they can give the seat to a young driver who needs the experience. It makes sense, and I understand their decision. I'm still a little sad to see Le Seb go, but I concede that he has been about as useless as Piquet.

Still, Bourdais has provided two very special things this year, if nothing outstanding out on track. We've seen the first active Formula One driver for a long time compete in Le Mans (and finish second!), and now we have our first midseason shuffle for well over a season too. Now, if only Renault could sort out their second seat, all would be well with the world.