Sebastien Bourdais loses IndyCar seat for 2020

Sebastien Bourdais
© Chris Owens for IndyCar Media

Former Toro Rosso F1 driver Sebastien Bourdais has lost his NTT IndyCar Series place at Dale Coyne Racing, it was confirmed on Friday.

The 40-year-old driver from Le Mans was a four-time CART champion before joining the Red Bull junior team in 2008, eventually returning to US open wheel racing in 2011.

But despite back-to-back victories at St Petersburg in 2017 and 2018 and two podiums since then, the Dale Coyne team has decided to drop the driver for next season.

“I want to thank Sebastien for having the confidence to come back from his Formula 1 tour and join our team in 2011 and again for his commitment to the team during the past three years,” said team owner Dale Coyne.

“It is not a decision we take lightly, but due to the ever-changing landscape of IndyCar racing, we have no choice but to make a change for 2020."

In a brief statement, Bourdais thanked Coyne and the rest of the team's management "for giving me this opportunity to continue racing in the NTT IndyCar Series over the past few years."

He confirmed that he was not considering retiring from motorsport: "I look forward to pursuing new opportunities in racing in the years ahead."

Bourdais has already been announced as joining the driver line-up #5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the 2020 and 2021 seasons of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

"I won't comment on my exit from DCR but I am very excited and thankful for the opportunity to race in IMSA," he tweeted. "To clarify things, none of this means my retirement from IndyCar. See you guys at the tracks!"

The Dale Coyne Racing team is yet to announce who will replace Bourdais next season. James Hinchcliffe, Conor Daly and Spencer Pigot are all currently without seats for 2020.

Sebastien Bourdais

© Chris Owens for IndyCar Media

And rumours continue that Nico Hulkenberg might be snapped up by an IndyCar team, if the German driver and former Le Mans winner fails to find a way to stay in Formula 1 after his contract with Renault expires next weekend.

Hulkenberg had been linked to a vacant seat in the Ed Carpenter Racing team, but that door has now been closed after the position went to rookie driver Rinus Veekay instead.

"I received calls from different, let's say, racing series and teams, but nothing is really happening at the moment," Hulkenberg insisted this week. "I'm certainly not having the feeling that I want to rush into something."

Despite 176 race starts in F1 since his debut in the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix, the 32-year-old has yet to finish on the podium. But he's not giving up on the dream just yet.

"I don't feel I am leaving F1. I might not be on the grid, but if there's an opportunity I'm going to be ready.

"I just need to see when the new year starts, how I feel, and how things develop and evolve and in which direction."

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