Bourdais Hopes to be Next French Driver

Sebastien Bourdais believes he has the talent and the experience to become the next leading French Formula One driver

Bourdais Hopes to be Next French Driver

France are without a regular Formula One driver for the first time in 40 years since Olivier Panis, now a backup test driver for Toyota, left racing at the end of last season.

Bourdais, the 2004 Champcar series Champion, has been a regular in the Le Mans 24 Hours classic and has been trying to break into Formula One for three years.

Tom Walkinshaw, the owner of the English team Arrows gave the talented driver the opportunity to drive in Formula One for the first time in Valencia in 2002. The test went well and Bourdais was offered a seat for the 2003 Formula One World Championship.

However, Arrows' financial situation was critical, and after several attempts to save his team, Walkinshaw had no other choice but to declare bankruptcy and liquidate the company.

At the same time he broke his contract with Bourdais, who decided to join the Champcar Worldseries.

In Germany, Bourdais became the first rookie to take pole position and the checkered flag and was subsequently awarded the "Rookie of the Year" title after finishing fourth at the end of the season.

With seven victories, Bourdais became the new Champcar Worldseries Champion after only two seasons in the series.

Much More

He is now looking for much more.

"The people don't look at me the same way since I've left Europe," Bourdais told a news conference ahead of the French Grand Prix on Sunday.

"Everybody knows who I am. My status has changed. I cannot say there's anything concrete right now. I just feel I am in a much better position than before, I became more mature.

"It's my third season in the Champ Car series, which has a very competitive field," added Bourdais, who failed to convince Renault to hire him in 2002.

"When I made it out of F3000, I was not into Renault's motorsport policy."

Now Bourdais is not just looking for a test driver seat.

"It might have been interesting to be a test driver in 2002, but now I am 26 and I want to fight for titles," he said.

"I know the window is getting smaller and smaller but in the meantime I've never been that close to make the cut."

However, Bourdais is not desperate to drive for Renault. Any competitive team would fullfil his Formula One dreams.

"Renault does not need a French driver, they just need to win. You do not see an Italian driver in a Ferrari. The world is changing," he said.

"If I have to drive another car to get into Formula One, I'll be happy to.

"If we keep saying being a French driver is a disadvantage to be in Formula One, we're never going to make it. We need to be positive. There is a need of a French driver. And today is the day."

 

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