Previous F1 Teams:
- 2008 Toro Rosso
Sébastien grew up in the town of Le Mans, where the great 24 Hour race takes place. He followed the classic motor racing route of starting in go-karts, then moving as a teenager to cars. This he did at the famous Elf racing school based in Le Mans. There he raced in Formula Campus, Formula Renault and F3. He spent 3 years in Formula 3000, finally winning the title in 2002. It was a championship that many observers thought was tainted, as Bourdais won the title after Tomas Enge was eliminated for testing positive for marijuana after the race in Hungary and being disqualified from the championship.
His Career Thus Far:
For Sébastien, 2008 is the culmination of a long road to Formula 1. If some people questioned his F3000 title, his career in Champ Car would forever silence his critics and prove that he had a place in F1.
In 2002, Sébastien tested with both Arrows and Renault, and while Arrows signed an option on him, the team went out of business. Bourdais won the rookie of the year title in Champ Car in 2003 before going on to win the next four drivers' titles in that series. He is the only driver in the history of American open-wheel racing to have done that. Only two other drivers have as many or more titles than Bourdais in the U.S. - they are Mario Andretti, who has four titles, and A.J. Foyt, who has seven. But clearly, Bourdais dominated the series in the U.S., and if he should fail to win races in F1, then it will be due to his equipment and not his driving talent.
Sébastien is also one of the most versatile and busiest drivers at the top level of motor racing. He has raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans whenever his schedule permits, finishing second there in 2007. He has also won the 24 Hours of Spa. He became the first open-wheel racer in a decade to win a race in the IROC series, usually dominated by NASCAR drivers.
Sébastien is naturally fast, but occasionally takes chances that sometimes pay off and other times fail. He is a thinking driver in the tradition of an Alain Prost, as he will study the best setup with his engineers and develop the car until it is perfect for the track at hand. He has a clean style, also like Prost, and therefore not always spectacular. But what becomes spectacular is when his strategic or tactical approach begins to bear fruit. Although he scored dozens of pole positions in Champ Car, he was also capable of waiting for the right moment for strategy to play out in order to take the victory.
Sébastien is one of a rare breed of drivers today who speak their mind. That may lead to problems for him in Formula 1, where it is not a very popular quality amongst team owners and directors (although journalists love it). However, he is also a strong team player and knows how to motivate colleagues both through his personal feedback to engineers and mechanics and his ability to deliver the required speed at the required time. He is open and receptive to fans and the media.