Pantano to Replace Bourdais at Toro Rosso?

Sebastien Bourdais might not race for much longer in Formula One, as recently rumored in the Italian media. Although the Frenchman extended his deal with Scuderia Toro Rosso for an additional year in 2009, his poor performances in the first 5 races this season will likely cost him his seat with the Faenza based team.

According to media reports in Italy, last year's GP2 Series champion Giorgio Pantano is only one step away from replacing Bourdais at Toro Rosso. Although every GP2 winner since the formation of the series has stepped into F1 in the very following season, Pantano broke that tradition in 2008.

Although becoming GP2 champion ahead of Brazil's Bruno Senna, he was unable to land an F1 seat during the course of last winter.

Bourdais, however, went through some tough times to secure a second consecutive F1 seat in 2009, after a close battle with former Super Aguri driver Takuma Sato. He was eventually confirmed by Red Bull's sister team less than 2 months before the season opener in Australia, but has so far been outpaced constantly by rookie teammate Sebastien Buemi.

Bourdais scored a single point in the series so far, as a result of Lewis Hamilton's exclusion from the Australian Grand Prix in late March. Buemi, in turn, has made two Top 8 appearances in the first 5 races – Australia and China – while also making his maiden Q3 entry in F1, at Shanghai.

30-year old Pantano is no stranger to F1 action, as he used to contest for Jordan in 2004. Following a disappointing first season in the series, he was replaced in the late stages of the 2004 season by Germany's Timo Glock. If he won't get to return to F1 this year, Pantano will likely continue his racing career in the Renault Eurocup.
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