Bourdais: It's still a car.
Bourdais: It's still a car.
Sat 27 Oct, 11:06 AM
Despite his run of four Champ Car titles, Sebastien Bourdais has no expectations of his switch to Formula One next season, but is looking forward to embracing the challenge of joining a midfield team in the most high-profile series in the world.
Speaking in the wake of clinching his fourth title at Surfers Paradise last weekend, the Frenchman made no bones about the scale of the task ahead of him, having agreed to join Scuderia Toro Rosso for 2008. There, he will be paired with the equally inexperienced Sebastian Vettel in an outfit that has rarely threatened the top ten, despite a double points finish in China.
"I'm not a visionary, I can't really say what's going to be the toughest part of the next challenge," Bourdais admitted, "It's obviously different from Champ Car, [where] everybody has the same car and it's up to you and your team to do the best you can to beat the other guys just by set-ups. In F1, it's a bigger scale. You need the best design, you need the best engineering team to use the car at its max when it's on the track, and it's more people involved, so it's a little more complicated. But, you know, it's still a car which has an engine and four wheels, and you've got to make it around that racetrack as quick as you can. So we'll see how good we can do."
Figuring that his reputation as a multiple champion could be a mixed blessing in Formula One, Bourdais admitted that his success did play a part in finally allowing to make the move back across the Atlantic after having almost given up hope of cracking F1.
"I don't know that [the reputation] going to really help me, [but] I think, obviously, what I have achieved in Champ Car with these guys has given me the shot to finally make it to F1 and to come back to Europe," he acknowledged, "Now, what is it going to do for me? I don't know.
"I don't think it's really going to do much. I'm going to have to prove myself all over again and, in racing and sport in general, what you've done in the past doesn't really help you much at all for your newer challenges. I think probably the biggest [challenge] of all is to be successful in F1, but we'll see what happens."
The Frenchman did admit, however, to possibly benefiting from Formula One's decision to 'dumb down' some aspects of its technical package, with the removal of traction control and the standardisation of each car's electronics.
"I guess time will speak but, yeah, I think it's also something I'm very much looking forward to," he smiled, "It puts things back a little bit more into the hand of the drivers, and it's also going to dictate quite a few changes to the way you have to approach the set-up and everything in F1. So it might be even more interesting for the team, and I'm certainly glad that it's going this way.
"I never said I wanted to get into F1 just to get into F1. I want to be competitive and do the best I can. Now is the beginning of a new adventure that's coming to me, and we'll see how it shakes out. But, right now, I'm just going to give my very best - like I did in 2003 - and we'll see what happens really. I think you can only give your very best and it's not worth thinking about what's going to happen. You just need to do just that, and see."
Aware, however, that previous attempts to make the switch from US domestic series to F1 have met with mixed results - ranging from Jacques Villeneuve's world title to Michael Andretti and Alex Zanardi's dismal failures - Bourdais refuses to completely close the book on Champ Car.
"Obviously, you can't really predict what's going to happen to me in the future," he accepted, "I think it felt very much like the American period of time for me is kind of over because it was always a wish from my family that we come back to Europe and be close to our relatives. But it doesn't mean that we'll never come back. I think it would be foolish to say no. I think there's a very good lesson about never say never. So we'll see."