Citroen Denies Loeb's Switch to F1

Citroen issued a complete statement shortly after the German Grand Prix this weekend, denying the latest rumors linking their WRC champion Sebastien Loeb to a Scuderia Toro Rosso seat in the remaining rounds of the 2009 Formula One Championship. The document clearly states that Loeb's priority this season is to defend his WRC crown and only later try out a Formula One drive.

Sebastien Loeb is under contract with Citroen until the end of the current year and negotiations for 2010 are in the process of being finalized,” said the statement from the French manufacturer.

Allegations about a potential switch to Formula One racing for Loeb started after the Frenchman was interviewed by sports newspaper L'Equipe. When asked if he'd like to race on a Formula One machinery in the near future, he said yes, starting a bunch of rumors in the F1 paddock.

His comments were as valuable (to the media) as they came in a moment when Sebastien Bourdais is one step out of Formula One. According to several media reports, the Frenchman was issued an ultimatum by his team to score a good result at the Ring, or else remain without a racing spot for the remainder of the year. The pressure seems to have gotten to the former Champ Car winner, as he recorded a DNF on Sunday due to a hydraulic problem with his car.

As for Loeb's comments, the 5-time WRC champion admitted he was surprised of the magnitude of his saying inside the world of Formula One, but insisted his goals are strictly related to the WRC. He then rhetorically argued “what would you expect a driver to answer if asked whether he would like to drive a formula one car?

Citroen team boss Olivier Quesnel revealed, however, that if Loeb were to receive an offer to drive an F1 car, Citroen would not have a problem with it as long as it will happen after the WRC will have ended this season.

“Should Seb get an opportunity to race in F1, our reaction would not be to prevent that from happening, so long as it would happen after the final round,” said Quesnel. That would leave the Abu Dhabi open for Loeb, as the WRC ends in late October.
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