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DATE News (chronologically)
03/11/13
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IndyCar preseason: Sebastien Bourdais Press Conf. Transcript  
Sebastien Bourdais
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 7 DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Barber media day and discussed the off season, his thoughts on standing starts and other topics.  Full Transcript:

HOW WAS YOUR OFF SEASON? WHAT DID YOU DO DURING THE OFF SEASON?
“Long, very long, way too long. Pretty much V8 and Daytona (Rolex 24 Hour) that is it.”

IS IT HARD TO GET BACK INTO THAT RACING FORM?
“Yeah, it has been a long off season and obviously just trying to get back in the groove so Daytona was good.  Straight away a double stint it was like ‘okay wake up’ (laughs).  So, yeah pretty sore after that actually.  I was starting to get a little worried about the rest of the race, but it’s funny how the body kind of gets back into it.  Like the first double stint was really bad then I got out of the car was broken pieces and so was the same thing.  You do an endurance race and you don’t have your own seat and then you try and ‘I’ll be alright I don’t need an insert or anything.’ Then you come out of the car you are in pieces so it’s another 20 hours to go so you are like ‘whoa that is going to be a long one.’ Then the body adjusts and you get back in the groove and the next ones go smooth and you can even do a triple stint no problem.  It was kind of good to do that.  For sure it has been a long off season just glad we did a little bit more testing last year at that point.  We did half a day in Sebring and a full day in Sonoma.  Then here obviously the two days will be very welcome.  We will see how it goes.”

HOW’S YOUR SHOULDER?
“The shoulder has never really been an issue it’s always been kind of the back, the ribs that got into the vertebrae that has been the problem.  It is still kind of soft and I can’t do any weights, but I will be alright.”   

YOU GOT A SLOW START LAST YEAR, BUT THE ENGINE IS THAT AN ISSUE THIS YEAR?
“We have a very good package.  Very happy and pumped up about the season we know there is potential.  We have showed that last year.  We just need to put it together and score.  Hopefully, we have a chance to do that and have some fun.”

YOU ACTUALLY HAD A VERY GOOD RACE LAST YEAR HERE ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.  WOULD YOU PUT THIS AT THE TOP OF THE LIST OF PLACES YOU THINK YOU COULD DO WELL AT?
“No, I don’t know.  Obviously, last year we didn’t have the package that we are going to run this year.  It’s a stronger package obviously, but we will see.  I think we have been pretty fortunate that we could find a set up that was fairly strong for the road courses and a different set up obviously for the street courses.  We haven’t really changed from that very much because the car has been pretty good.  We have just made little progress on things on dampers and stuff.  We will just run through the list of things that we want to try and explore a couple of things and hopefully we can get a little better.  I think last year we had a really good race because mostly the degradation was nowhere near as bad as the others.  We will obviously keep a close eye on that. 

“It’s one thing to be very fast on one lap in this place, but you can hurt your tires really bad.  There is a lot to be said about nursing the thing and being smart.  You can’t just; especially when you run the pack with the dirty air you can hurt yourself pretty good in a hurry.  I remember last year just being the last corner just being able to pretty much go around the outside of Marco (Andretti).  I remember him passing me like a rocket ship when he was on fresh tires then dropping like five seconds during the stint.  It’s a strange place when it gets warm and everything you have to think a little bit what is going on and how much you are actually asking the whole package.  It’s always an interesting race and I guess it’s only under the circumstances that we could shine last year at that stage with the other engine.  Just very happy that we have a baseline, we are pretty happy with what we’ve got right now with Chevrolet and we know we can be very fast.  Now it is going to be about putting it together and having good days.”

HAVE YOU DONE MUCH RIG TESTING?

“Yeah, we went rig testing so that’s a big plus.  We confirmed a few things and gathered some ideas on others.  I think obviously the biggest thing is to start with a known base and not just flip a coin and just go okay, what’s going to happen this weekend.  That’s big.  We’ve really been fortunate that we have been able to keep most of the people as well.  That’s crucial.  If you want to keep the chemistry and build on something, you need to keep the foundation and the foundation of the team has stayed together over the winter.  It wasn’t easy obviously, there was a lot of financial stress on the team after everything that happened last year and that kind of carried through the winter.  You still have to pay the bills and everything.  Just glad that we could do that.  Although we wish that we could always do more, we’ve been able to keep the main things together and start working as early as January and build on that.  It’s been pretty good.  It’s definitely the one season in IndyCar that I feel the most prepared for.  When I came back in 2011, I had no idea what was laying in front of me and last year not knowing anything about the package and not being able to test and putting a new team together and all that was quite a trip.  To be in a very different position now and feeling a little more under control gives us a lot of reassurance.”

WILL HAVING A TEAMMATE HELP?

“I’ve never really been hoping to get stuff from my teammate, but obviously from time to time it’s always welcome to be able to get double reads on stuff and I think he is going to be pretty fast.  There are going to be corners where he’s going to be a little faster here and there and you can always learn from that and get better.  It’s a good thing for the team to be a strong two-car team and a good organization and look sharp on everything.  We’re building up.  We’re going to have PR now.  It’s all coming together.  It’s taking time; you don’t build a team from scratch in a day, particularly with everything we’ve had to go through over last year.  We feel that with Chevy we have the right partner.  We have good sponsors with McAfee and the team is kind of gelling together.  Pretty excited about the season.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT STANDING STARTS?

“I feel we’ll all be starting from speed zero.  We’ll see how that goes.  The cars are not as hard as I thought they’d be to get out of line, but it’s not an easy thing.  It can always go wrong, you can always stall, you can always screw it up.  At the end of the day, it’s another exciting thing for the fans.  It’s another thing to try to get on top of and it will be interesting.  It’s going to be very much dependent on the track, obviously there are some tracks that are just not adequate for that and I’m sure the series will look at that very closely and when it’s just not appropriate then we’ll just keep the rolling starts and when we can we’ll add the excitement of standing starts with the engines revving up on the grid and roaring before the green flag.”

DID IT BOTHER YOU HOW IT PLAYED OUT WITH KATHERINE (LEGGE) AND HOW THAT BLEW UP?

"If you are referencing that interview, yes.  It was a 20 minute interview, with one question in there and to make that big of a mess out of it, obviously, not even...just being inaccurate is what happened. But, it is always going to be like that. You are always going to be asked the question you probably just should not answer. I guess I'm sometimes a little too easy on the speech side of things. It's the way it is. I'm glad that the team's in good shape, and we have two cars that should be running the right way with two good drivers. It is sad for Katherine. But the team made the decision and I'm moving forward now."

HAVE YOU SPOKEN TO HER, OR IS THERE NO NEED TO?

"I sent her an email to say 'This is what I said or meant'.  I didn't get an answer. I am perfectly fine with what I meant. There was no offense. She is a good driver. She can do good things. Again, it was just not my decision."

DO YOU ENJOY CAMARADERIE WITH THE OTHER FRENCHMAN IN THE SERIES?

"Well yes, it's the French Connection out there. (LAUGHS) It's kind of funny that you have to go to the U.S. to be acknowledged and given a chance. There are worse places to go, it's good. I think Tristan (Vautier) has obviously shown great speed in testing. Simon (Pagenaud) is right on.  They are both with a good team. Hopefully we can mix it up, and just show that the French drivers don't have anything the envy to the others."

DO YOU HAVE THE SAME ENGINEER? 

"Yes. Neil (Fife) is back with me. That is really why I am really happy with what we've starting to try and build.  We have same assistant engineer, the same engineer, the same chief mechanic, the same mechanics for the most part. So it's really the foundation of our team LA base has stayed the same. It's been a little frustrating for them over the winter not be able to do everything they wanted because there were some restrictions to everything we could do in the winter. But, still we kept everyone together and we are going full-steam ahead. We know what we had last year and to build on that is key. Really I can't put enough emphasis on this. If you want to build on something, you've got to keep whatever is under you. Otherwise you can't...very unstable. I'm really glad we could do that."

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