Loeb not set for imminent F1 switch

Discussion in 'F1' started by AlexO91, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. AlexO91

    AlexO91 F1 Rookie

    Sep 26, 2008
    NW England
    Full Name:
    There has been growing speculation that the 5 time rally champion will probably drive for Red Bull sometime in the future, but he says this is not true just yet.

    World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb says he remains committed to his bid to win a sixth title in the rally championship this year –but his Citroen team has left the door open for the Frenchman to compete in a Formula 1 race once its season is over.

    Quotes attributed to Loeb in the French newspaper L'Equipe on Saturday suggested the 35-year-old had lodged his interest in replacing countryman Sebastien Bourdais at Toro Rosso, with speculation mounting the STR incumbent will be dropped after this weekend’s German Grand Prix.

    In response to the rumours, Loeb and his Citroen team issued a joint statement on Sunday in which they made it clear the Frenchman was focussed on completing the WRC season, with Citroen adding that Loeb was under contract for the remainder of this year and that negotiations for 2010 were currently being finalised.

    But while it added that any other racing interests “will in no way take precedence” over his current commitments, it added it would not prevent Loeb competing in F1 if the opportunity arose after the final rally in Wales on October 25 – raising the prospect he could compete in the F1 finale in Abu Dhabi a week later if a seat became available.

    "Citroën Racing has never prevented its drivers from expressing their passion for motor sport,” said the French carmaker’s racing director, Olivier Quesnel.

    “As we have already said, Sébastien Loeb is shortly due to do some testing with the
    Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, because I know how important it is for him to try his hand at different activities as a driver.

    “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.

    "We've got the challenge of Rally Finland coming up at the end of the month.

    “The 2009 World Rally Championship is turning out to be a thrilling contest and I just hope that we will succeed in sparking the same sort of media interest as these rumours concerning Formula 1 have."

    Loeb himself added that it was natural he would express interest in driving an F1 car if an opportunity arose, but insisted his original comments had been taken out of context and hadn't speculated about Bourdais’s future.

    "I know what my priority is: it is the World Rally Championship. But what would you expect a driver to answer if asked whether he would like to drive a Formula 1 car?" he said.

    “That said, with four rallies still to come, we have our work cut out if we want to secure a sixth drivers' title and a fifth manufacturers' crown.

    “For the moment, my energy is fully focused on that goal.

    "I am a little surprised by the turn this whole business has taken, and above all by the way what I said has been misquoted or taken out of context to spread rumours.

    “It just isn't really my style to make declarations in the press about Sébastien Bourdais."

    New Red Bull reserve driver Jaime Alguersuari is expected to replace Bourdais should the former Champ Car king be dropped before the next F1 race in Hungary.
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