He’s a Formula 3000 title winner, and a three times ChampCar champion. He has tested for the now defunct Arrows team, and also for reigning champions Renault. Every time he has driven a Formula One car he has impressed. So why isn’t Sebastian Bourdais a Formula One driver?
Bourdais is in the news again because it has been announced today that he will test for Scuderia Toro Rosso in Jerez later this week. However, despite the Frenchman’s talent at single seater racing, no Formula One drives have come his way yet and he has remained in America with the Newman-Haas team, breaking records and winning titles.
Tom Walkinshaw came the closest at signing Sebastian back in 2002 for his Arrows team. Unfortuantely, the team went bust soon after Bourdais’ test. The following month Renault gave the young driver an opportunity to test their car, but neither party could come to an agreement and both went their separate ways. Bourdais chose to drive in America and has done well stateside, winning three titles in three consecutive years. Recent rumours have linked Bourdais to BMW – who recently gave Alex Zanardi the chance to drive a modified F1 car – but it seems Toro Rosso have got there first. Has now part owner and team boss Gerhard Berger got his little black book out and stuck two fingers up to his previous employer BMW? Possibly? Toro Rosso do have a weak lineup. Even Super Aguri have experience with Sato, and potential speed with Davidson. STR just have a funny hair style and a poor attitude! They could do with talent, but would a three time ChampCar champion want to drive a Toro Rosso to ninth place each race, or is he a David Coulthard replacement for 2008?
it dosent matter who sebastian bourdais drives for, he is to aggressive and its gonna cost him, but dont get me wrong, his a great driver. F1 is completely different to champ cars.
I didn’t think the contracts of either Red Bull driver allowed for a change at the end of 2007 (though if DC’s repair bill carries on mounting, an exception may be made…) However, I would suggest that Sebastien has a front-row seat for STR in 2008, with a possible upgrade to Red Bull in 2009, when both Webber and DC are due for contract re-negotiations.
There is no question in my mind that Sebastien deserved an F1 drive back in 2002 – the Arrows thing was just unlucky. The trouble is that F1 teams have lost so much faith in the American system that they can’t spot a great talent there for trying. It’s not fair, but we can hope that this test marks the belated arrival of justice.
Sorry Alianora, I’m not sure why your comment went to moderation, but I’ll add your name to the whitelist to prevent it happening in the future.
At the time of writing, I believe DC had secured a one year extension, but I could be mistaken – it was a fair few months ago that wrote this entry. I remember Red Bull were umming and ahring, even after the podium in Monaco.
Bourdais for 2009 – certainly possible. The kid seems keen to get into Formula One, but as you say, it is so hard for drivers to cross the Atlantic. Villenueve and Montoya are the most recent two, and look how they ended up! JV won it because Hakkinen’s Mercedes was unreliable, and JPM simply gave up trying. And had an unreliable Mercedes. Speed doesn’t really count in my mind as he made a name for himself in European racing before entering F1 and he had the ‘Bull link. Bourdais would certainly help relations between Ecclestone and the US and help open up F1 to US fans.
To comment on stanton’s point about the aggressive style of Sebastian: I don’t think that will harm him too much. Most drivers adapt and change their style. A typical example of this was the change from Bridgestone to Michelin this year. A lot of drivers have had to make adjustments to get the best out of the tyres. For sure Bourdais will find it tough to begin with, but I think it won’t harm him providing he has a decent car and team.
(Oh, and it is Sebastien. Bloomin’ French 😉 )