Continued from part 1 Q: Will you take some time and celebrate this one, or with the new challenge and new opportunity so close at hand in F1, are you just sort of anxious to get right on to that as soon as possible? SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: ...
Continued from part 1
Q: Will you take some time and celebrate this one, or with the new challenge and new opportunity so close at hand in F1, are you just sort of anxious to get right on to that as soon as possible?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, obviously we have one more race to go, so I'm not going to turn the last page of Champ Car before it's done and over. I think we'll have a nice celebration coming, and we've got the banquet and everything. Obviously I've got the first testing in F1 right after Mexico City. But these guys, for a lot of them, they're really close friends and everything, so I think we'll still stay in touch, and in many ways, like I said -- it's not because I'm going to move onto another challenge that I'm going to forget and just reject everything, not at all; it's going to be something that will stay a part of me forever.
Q: I'm curious to find out what you think your legacy will be and just kind of how you want people to remember your Champ Car career and your four championships.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I kind of missed the beginning of the question.
Q: I just said, what do you think your legacy will be in Champ Car? And then the second part is just how do you want people to look back on your four championships and your Champ Car career?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I don't know if I have any influence over what people are going to remember or keep in memories over what I have done. All I hope is that people remember that we went after it and we gave it our very best, and we haven't won these four championships just kind of waiting for the points to accumulate and just being inconsistent. We obviously tried to put on the best show we could, and we had a lot of fun doing it.
Now, about the legacy obviously, I'm not too comfortable talking about myself. I never really liked that. I think to call it a legacy, I don't know if it's really me, but obviously when you've done things that have never been done before, people give it different importances, and for me it's just been kind of, like I said, a race-by-race thing, and then it transformed into one championship and then another and then another and then another.
So I never really looked back yet, and I think it's probably going to take me a few years before I do that. But right now I'm just kind of looking forward, and I think you only realize the importance of what you've done in the past after a few years because you need a little bit of time to just kind of get everything ordered.
Q: And then also, how do you think all of the expectations that have been on you in Champ Car, how do you think that will help you in Formula 1?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I don't know that it's going to really help me. What really did help is to make the switch. 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.
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 in sports in general, what you've done in the past doesn't really help you much at all for your newer challenges. I think obviously a big one, probably the biggest of all, is to be successful in F1, but we'll see what happens.
THE MODERATOR: In terms of his legacy, one of the things Sebastien is adept at is being fairly adaptable. One record that is not as well-known that he established was he required the fewest starts in history, 49, to win his first 20 races. And obviously he came into Champ Car with a legacy of winning, as well. He won the 2002 FIA Formula 3000 Championship, as well, and he also captured in 1999 the F3 Championship and was the Formula Renault champion in 1997. So I think that speaks highly of what Sebastien could do.
Q: If I could ask you, looking back on this past year, I know initially you were a little bit critical of the new car and the standing starts and all. But as the year progressed, what's your feelings now? Do you think the car is a good car
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, it's a good car. Obviously it was a lot of hard work for the teams and everything because when you use a new car you kind of have problems no matter what, no matter how hard you try and everything. It's definitely leveled the playing field, and I think it was a good thing.
I think as a series Champ Car needed a new face and some new instrumentations, and that was a great way to do it. Obviously the results -- it's not that I was against it, I was just concerned about the safety, and just very glad that there's not been any big incidents, and obviously it's made the enforcing and -- an easier way to control, I should say.
Q: With the great success you've had in going from one of the best teams or the best team in Champ Car to Toro Rosso, who is not the worst team in Formula 1 but not the best, you have a great challenge ahead of you. F1 is a dog-eat-dog world, so to speak, so success is never guaranteed. If it didn't work out for you, and I say if, because I'm hoping it does for you, would you ever consider coming back to Champ Car?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I think anything is possible. Obviously you can't really predict what's going to happen to me in the future. I think in the meantime it felt very much like the American period of time for me is kind of over because it was always a wish from -- on my family's side obviously 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.
Q: One more follow-up. In Formula 1 they've had traction control for years now, and I believe next year that's going to go away, and Champ Car doesn't have traction control, so you're used to driving a car with no traction control. Will that be somewhat to your benefit over in F1?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I guess time will speak. But yeah, I think it's also something I'm very much looking forward to. It puts things back a little bit more into the end of the drivers, and it's also going to dictate quite a few changes to the way you have to approach the setup 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.
It also goes along with the introduction of a new ECU, which also advanced quite a few assistances in the driving, including the engine brake control system. It's quite a few changes, and I'm sure it's going to play into my favor. How much it's a little difficult to say.
Q: When you look at F1 and the championship this year was decided a lot by politics, fortunately it was won on the track but now there's an appeal by McLaren, do you feel that that's a bad thing, that you're entering a World Series that is defined a lot by politics and what happens off the track?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I think obviously 2007 has been extremely different from any other. There was a great on-track effort with four very good drivers, but it kind of turned into a bit of a political game. In the meantime I think the strongest guy won. He kept his nose clean and stayed out of trouble.
You know, it's a shame for Lewis what happened, but fortunately he's made a couple of mistakes in the last couple of races, and that lost him the championship. I don't really think the political aspect of things really dictated what happened on the racetrack, and to be honest, I don't think it would, even if the two teams that McLaren appealed against necessarily meant it would change the order of the championship. I think the FIA already said that. It might not get Lewis back up in the classification.
I think a lot of things come into play in racing sports, and this year probably more than ever in F1, but at the end I think the strongest guy won the championship.
Q: Kind of along the same lines, F1 related, what's your relationship as it stands with Sebastian Vettel? Have you met him?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: No, he's obviously quite a bit younger than me, and we've never competed against each other or anything. But we haven't met yet because I've been pretty busy on my end and actually pretty focused on the Champ Car stuff because it's something I owed to my team.
No, like I said, I will go on with the next challenge when it's time, and it's coming close now, but not yet.
Q: Do you have to establish your name like Alonso when he entered in Formula 1 with Renault and won the championship?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I think it's obviously the goal. I never said I wanted to get into Formula 1 just to get into Formula 1. 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.
Q: What do you think the biggest obstacle will be?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I guess I'm not a visionary. I can't really say what's going to be the toughest part of the next challenge. It's obviously different from Champ Car. In Champ Car 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, by just by setups. 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.
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.
@#THE MODERATOR: I did have one other question I wanted to ask you, and that is over the last five years, how do you think you've changed as both a driver and as a person from when you first entered Champ Car?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I think the first time I arrived in the series, I had never been a professional race car driver before. You know, I learned a lot from a lot of obviously very experienced people, from Craig (Hampson), my team leader, and all these guys, and I've learned from the best.
So now it's -- obviously a lot of things have changed over the years. We've won the championship, but not only done that. I think I grew up as a man and as a driver, and now I obviously became a dad and I got married to Claire, and although we were already together when I arrived in the States, it was all different back then.
Yeah, when you look back over five years, a whole lot of things happened.