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Bourdais threatens to sue Italy's Toro Rosso

FRENCH driver Sebastien Bourdais was shocked at being fired by Toro Rosso on Thursday, then the four-time Champ Car series winner threatened legal action against the Formula One team.

Toro Rosso said it would announce a replacement for Bourdais ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, ending a disappointing brief stint in the series for the 30-year-old at just over the halfway point of his second season.

"I am very disappointed and shocked by the decision," Bourdais said in a statement. "I consider that, in doing so, Scuderia Toro Rosso has breached its contractual duties toward me."

Toro Rosso principal Franz Tost said that "the partnership has not met our expectations and therefore we have decided to replace him as from the next round of the world championship."

But Bourdais said his behavior had been professional and the Italian team had violated its contract.

"I have instructed my lawyers to review the situation, including the possibility of issuing legal proceedings," Bourdais said.

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

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

This year, Bourdais was expected to be the senior driver alongside rookie Sebastien Buemi, but the young Swiss earned three points over the opening nine races of the season against two points for Bourdais. Buemi out-qualified Bourdais in seven of nine races.

"I am even more frustrated by the team's decision considering that the latter has been taken immediately before the Hungarian Grand Prix, where a new highly competitive racing package will be introduced," Bourdais said.

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


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