Bourdais says that time was right to move to F1
After winning the provisional pole on Friday Sebastien Bourdais took the time to talk with some of us media at Road America. Is Bourdais concerned that he is moving from the top team in Champ Car to one of the backmarkers in F1?
"I wasn't going to make it with Ferrari or McLaren or any of the top teams, so I was getting close to the end of my window when Toro Rosso called," said Bourdais, who was released from the final year of his contract.
"For sure it's always tough to give up these kind of situations, but we made our point here. It's great to be satisfied with winning, but for me it felt like it was the right time to move onto another challenge.
"You can't be sure if it's the right thing to do until you do it, but at least I will have done it. I won't look back 10 years from now and say, 'Why did I not do it?' "
Bourdais has for years questioned the future and direction of American open-wheel racing, saying its best hope for prosperity stood with a single, unified series.
"When you know it's a bit difficult for the series and for open-wheel racing in general, and then you're offered something in Formula One, being European, being married to a French girl and having a baby, it makes all the sense in the world for it to have me come back to original plans and to fulfill the loop," said Bourdais, a Formula 3000 champion. "This was the initial target."
Even with a back-marker team, Bourdais can make a statement in F1.
"If he's much quicker than his teammate, then he'll be looked at, which I would expect him to be," his teammate Graham Rahal said.
"Look at (Fernando) Alonso. When he started, he was at Minardi, and now he's probably going to be three-time world champion."
But for now Bourdais is focused on winning his 4th straight Champ Car title. With six races left, Bourdais holds a 10-point lead over Robert Doornbos, a Champ Car rookie who also has a testing contract with Red Bull, Toro Rosso's sister team in Formula One.
"I don't think it's going to change anything," Bourdais said of signing. "I had in mind anyway, just to give it the very best for the Champ Car season and hopefully finish on a high with the team. It's not going to change the intensity level, but we will keep trying to win that [4th] championship."