Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto Champ Car Final Qualifying Press Conference An interview with: SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS JUSTIN WILSON ORIOL SERVIA THE MODERATOR: We'll get started as Sebastien Bourdais makes his way to the press ...
Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto Champ Car Final Qualifying Press Conference
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started as Sebastien Bourdais makes his way to the press conference.
Congratulations to Justin Wilson and Oriol Servia, started second and third.
Oriol, yesterday you said that you really missed coming to press conferences. Now two days in a row, starting third. How was it?
ORIOL SERVIA: Good, and I keep changing seats, so I don't know which one I'll be tomorrow (laughter).
No, it's good again. Very happy with the performance of the car. We're solid there in the top three, top four all weekend. I think yesterday maybe we had a better car compared to the rest, and everybody kind of catch up. So we have to put the engineers to work tonight and give me again as good of a car as I had yesterday.
THE MODERATOR: With his third-place starting position, that marks the best starting position Oriol will have this season.
Starting second is Justin Wilson, making his second front-row start of the year. Justin, 1/100th of a second separates you from the pole position.
JUSTIN WILSON: Is that a question (laughter)? You just want to see my disappointment?
Yeah, obviously I thought we had it for a minute, and then they came on the radio and told me Sebastien's time. I knew what mine was. Okay, I'm up again. I got the lap going. I just got carried away at turn six. As I went back to throttle, it pushed out and hit the wall.
You know, pretty happy but also disappointed. You know, make the most of it. Looking forward to tomorrow and see if we can do well for CDW and all our sponsors.
THE MODERATOR: Our polesitter tomorrow is Sebastien Bourdais, who earned his 28th career pole, his third pole this season, and also his third pole here at Toronto.
Sebastien, came down to another last lap just like yesterday.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, well I guess the cars are getting faster and faster. It takes quite a few laps actually to get the full grip. I don't know if everybody agrees, but it took me quite a few attempts to really get the grip and the car going.
In the meantime I seem to be struggling a little bit more in the corners as the run was going. It didn't look obvious we're going to be able to grab this one. But the team did a fantastic job. I'm really, really pleased. I think we have a good car. But obviously these two guys are pushing really hard. It could have gone either way.
We're going to have to stay on our toes and keep working hard 'cause it's not automatic, that's for sure. We're very, very happy, though, and we'll try to do the best job we can for tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Sebastien. We'll open it up to questions.
Q: How important is another championship for you after winning three in a row? Sebastien we are in the middle of the season. You are two points ahead in the championship how important is another championship for you?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I think that was the whole thing about coming back this year. It's a big challenge. You start from scratch. Everybody's got the same stuff around, so it makes it even tougher.
It's very, very good that it's that tight. I think it shows how good the level of driving and the competitiveness of the series at the front.
In the meantime, it also shows that everybody could say anything about us, Newman/Haas and everything, but the truth is damper or no damper, we're still fighting at the front and doing a good job. That's what's really satisfying.
We just kind of really are working probably even harder to try and stay at the front, but it's even more rewarding.
Q: Yesterday you talked about how tough this course is. How much does the knowledge of the course come into play?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, I think it plays a big factor, for sure. Like I said, it's a tough track. It's a tough track to know what a good car feels like. I think the perfect car at Toronto doesn't exist. You're going to have to accept and live with some problems and just know what you should just live with and what you need to fix. That's the tough thing.
You know, I think it's very easy to get lost in the setup when you're in your first year. I've been there before. It was really hard. I'd have to say it was the toughest for me.
You know, I'm just glad we've been able to get there. But for sure, as a rookie, it's always a tough place.
Q: How important is it to start upfront?
JUSTIN WILSON: It's always important to start at the front, especially turn one and turn three, potential danger zones on lap one. You know, to be honest, anything can happen in these races. Quite often you see guys come from behind, are involved in incidents and they come out on top.
You just can't say, okay, we got the front row and it's going to guarantee we'll be on the podium tomorrow. We've still got to work hard and make sure we do everything right.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, well, I think just like Justin said, this race can really go anywhere from now. It's good that we've done our job and we're going to start at the front. But, you know, if the race goes well and there's no yellow, yeah, for sure, it's very good to be starting from where we are. But the truth is, there are always yellows everywhere here and fuel strategy plays a big role.
If someone from the back, you know, stops at some point, benefits from the yellow, cycles to the front of the pack, it's a whole new game again. So, you know, this race can be pretty frustrating for the quickest guys, but you still have to do the best job you can and start the highest up there.
That's what we've done. We can't anticipate what will happen tomorrow, but so far we've done our job.
Q: The top 14 are within a second of each other how will be going into Turn 1?
ORIOL SERVIA: Well, I think if it would be five seconds apart, still would be a mess, first turn here, just because of the nature of how it is. You have a long straight before turn three, and everybody gets really ambitious. We all done mistakes there.
Yes, but the fact we are 14 cars in one second, it's, A, very frustrating when you are a little slow because you are 5 or 6/10ths off, and instead of being fifth, you're suddenly 12th on the grid. But it's really good because it shows to the rest of the world how competitive Champ Car is right now.
When you look at any championship and you see that you have 10 cars in a second, that shows it's very competitive. Over that, it just means a lot of talent, a lot of hard work, and basically a lot of competition out there.
I mean, we all talk about the times of Champ Car or CART when we had 27 cars on the grid, and you had 15 cars in one second. Well, we may not have 25 cars, but we definitely have a very powerful grid when, as you say, you have 14 cars in one second.
Q: Given that you haven't had great results since your first race, do you see this as a weekend of progress?
ORIOL SERVIA: I see every weekend, every Sunday, coming the win. The truth is, yeah, we struggled very much the last two, three races. It was almost embarrassing that Forsythe team, you know, we couldn't have the speed that we should have.
But, as I said yesterday, in Mont-Tremblant we definitely find something that made the cars better and we just carried on here. I think we're going to be at the front every race.
Q: Talk about how the standing start might effect Turn 1.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I don't really think it makes things tighter. If anything, for the most part, it tends to stretch things out a touch. Obviously the spacing between the cars make it this way. To be very honest, we're supposed to leave two car lengths between the rows on the running start, but that was only on the paper. It was a tough thing. Now obviously you can only start from your box and that's the way it is.
I personally think it's probably a little better. But we'll see what happens tomorrow, I guess.
JUSTIN WILSON: I think, like Sebastien said, everyone's more evenly spaced. I think it's maybe a little bit better. But from my point of view I just hope that we all do a standing start tomorrow because at the last race somebody did a rolling start (laughter).
Q: Yesterday there was a severe penalty to Will Power for blocking. Do you feel that the blocking situation is improving?
ORIOL SERVIA: I didn't feel an improvement. I didn't feel an improvement myself. But in a track like this, you know, you have a lot of cars at the same time on track, you're always going to have people in front. I mean, they are not trying to give you a hard time. They're just trying to pace themselves. It's really hard to make it perfect.
JUSTIN WILSON: I didn't see the incident, but I know Tony's pretty disappointed in the driver etiquette out there. I think it's good they start coming down hard on people if you do something blatant. Like I say, I didn't see it. He obviously felt it was time to make a point.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, personally, I think obviously when it's a one-minute racetrack, it's always going to be very difficult. The more cars you've got, the harder it gets. Obviously, we only have 17 cars, but it's hard enough already.
It's not about penalties really. We're not asking for tough penalties; we're just asking for everybody to kind of be working with the same rules. If someone decides that it's not, then it's a shame and it should not happen. So, you know, that's pretty much the point we're trying to make.
Q: There use to be single car qualifying, would you like to see that come back?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, it never was a single-car qualifying, right? We were like two cars or three cars at some point.
ORIOL SERVIA: At some point we were one car. Yeah, I've been here longer (laughter).
JUSTIN WILSON: He's older (laughter).
ORIOL SERVIA: I thought it was very exciting. The only downside is that it took too long. We have tire warmers. We go out. It takes two laps each car, two qualifying laps, then in. Each car the same process, so it took forever. The fans maybe thought it was just too long to be sitting there just to see one car at a time.
I thought it made it very exciting because, you know, everybody sees everybody's times. Maybe if we have tire warmers, the old process takes less, I think it would be an option.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It's always a big debate, right? I mean, F1 has been going back and forth, trying to find a different format. They have tire warmers. Yeah, I think the single-car qualifying is a good thing, but obviously it can only happen on long racetracks like Elkhart or places like that if you do only one lap.
So you need tire warmers. It's not the philosophy of the series. You can't really implement that if you're not going to be using it in the race, which obviously would not be the case.
So it just really makes things hard.
JUSTIN WILSON: From what people have told me between getting out of the car and getting here, I think this format is quite exciting to watch. I think it's still, in my opinion, one of the better ways to go. I've done the F1 qualifying. It's not a lot of fun, in my opinion. But, you know, that's just my own opinion.
I think this is good fun. You get to see people going backwards and forwards. I think we just need a little bit more respect amongst the drivers.
Q: Can you comment on the difficulty of the track with the new car?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: And it also shows that, you know, everybody's got the same car, and it's just how well you use it with your team, so... I mean, as long as you've got all the parts that are sold on the Panoz catalog, you're probably covered.
Q: Oriol is this a track that brings you luck?
ORIOL SERVIA: You mean, if this track brings me luck? I mean, actually I always had good results here. I could see it both ways, you know. In '05, I was leading toward the end. Then Justin passed me with a few laps to go and then there was a yellow, he won. Maybe if we would have had a little more luck that day, we would have won.
I don't know. Maybe it's just -- it's not actually one of my favorite tracks. It's just one more track. So I don't really have an explanation. I just think, honestly, we just made the cars better. That's why we're at the front.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and break off to one-on-ones. Thank you, everyone.