Toro Rosso gives Bourdais the boot

FAENZA: Formula One team Toro Rosso fired French driver Sebastien Bourdais on Thursday, ending a disappointing brief stint in the sport for the former four-time Champ Car series winner.

"In Sebastien's second year with us, the partnership has not met out expectations and therefore we have decided to replace him as from the next round of the world championship, the Hungarian Grand Prix," Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said in a statement.

The statement said the replacement driver would be named in the lead-up to Hungary.

The team's reserve driver, 19-year-old Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari, was among the leading contenders to get the drive. If he does, he will be the youngest driver to start an F1 race.

In 2008, Bourdais, 30, was outshone by teammate Sebastian Vettel, with the talented German winning the Italian Grand Prix and earning a move to Red Bull for this season when he has emerged as a title contender.

In 2009, Bourdais was expected to be the senior driver alongside rookie Sebastien Buemi, but the young Swiss had earned three points over the opening nine races of the season against two points for Bourdais. Buemi had outqualified Bourdais in seven of nine races.

In all, Bourdais totalled six points from four points finishes across 27 races. He never bettered the effort of his debut in the 2008 Australian Grand Prix when he was running in fourth place and looked a chance of a podium finish but suffered an engine failure and was classified in seventh.

He suffered bad luck at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix, which Vettel went on to win. Having qualified fourth after a rain-soaked qualifying session, Bourdais was a strong chance of a career-best finish, but his car stalled on the grid and by the time he started, was already a lap down.

Bourdais' removal was the first driver change in the 2009 season.