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Bourdais crash puts new Toro Rosso race debut in doubt 17 Apr 2008

Sebastien Bourdais (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR03. Formula One Testing, Day Three, Barcelona, Spain, 16 April 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton Marshals clean up after Sebastien Bourdais (FRA) crashes the new Scuderia Toro Rosso STR03. Formula One Testing, Day Three, Barcelona, Spain, 16 April 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton Sebastien Bourdais (FRA) shakes down the Scuderia Toro Rosso STR03 for the first time. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Barcelona, Spain, 15 April 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton

After starting the season with an interim car, Toro Rosso had scheduled to give their new charge, the STR03, its maiden race appearance at the Turkish Grand Prix in May. The Italian squad, however, have revealed they may now have to delay those plans following Sebastien Bourdais' crash during testing on Wednesday.

The accident at this week’s multi-team session at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya occured during the car’s first public appearance. Bourdais was unhurt and while the cause of the crash remains unknown, the damage inflicted is understood to be so severe that the team have been forced to suspend their two-day test to carry out repairs.

It wasn’t all bad news for the Italian squad on Wednesday, however. Before the accident Bourdais had completed 71 laps of running at the Spanish circuit, setting a competitive time of 1m 20.715 in the new car. And during the lunch break he had even praised the STR03’s performance.

“The base line is quiet good and I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised,” the Frenchman explained. “However, the track conditions might be extremely good so I need to be careful with everything I say but so far the car has had no problems at all, which is a very encouraging point. The feeling is good and I felt comfortable in the car straight away. From a driving point of view you can feel it has more downforce than the current one and it's a big step forward on the aero package.”

The premature end to the test also means that Bourdais’ team mate Sebastian Vettel, who had been expected to take over driving duties on Thursday, will now have to wait a little longer to experience the new car for the first time.