Doornbos to stay with Minardi
Dutchman Robert Doornbos tips his racing world is about to hit top gear, while Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais is set for a slide.
Doornbos, placed third in the series and likely to win the Rookie of the Year title, has stepped across to Champ Cars from Formula One, while Bourdais is about go in the opposite direction in 2008.
However Doornbos, who has stalked the Champ Car leaders all season, says Bourdais is in for a rude awaking. The Frenchman is expected to win his fourth straight Champ Car title this weekend, but the going will be a lot tougher in F1.
"I think Sebastien is a good driver but it will be difficult for him to do it the other way around," said Doornbos.
"Coming from the best team in Champ Car to a not so good team in Formula One, it will be very hard.
"I had the same when I went from Formula 3000 where I was winning races, then to Minardi (F1) and being on the last part of the grid.
"It will be very hard for him. He will have to be honest with himself and accept that sometimes it will be a case of 'OK the best that I can achieve this weekend is 14th'.
"You are only as good as your material in F1.
"So you just need to be very strong mentally, but I wish him all the best."
There was friction between the Champ Car rookie and the reigning champion mid-season, with Bourdais critical of Doornbos's take-no-prisoners style of racing.
However, Doornbos does not offer any apologies.
"I do not think there is anything wrong with that (his style of driving)," he says. "You have to apply the rules of racing, but in Formula One you have to fight really hard, even if you are in a slow car, to do what you can."
Doornbos drove for the Aussie Paul Stoddart's Minardi F1 team and then stayed with that same team when Stoddart came across to Champ Cars.
His experience from the elite series has paid dividends, with Doornbos collecting two wins and a total of six podiums in his first year.
With Bourdais exiting, Doornbos already has his eyes on the title in 2008. He expects to be with Minardi, but that deal has not been done yet.
"If there is a chance to stay in the US and to keep winning races then I would like to do that, he said.
"I think I will be in Champ Car next year.
"This year was very good. Now I know the circuits, I know more about the car.
"I am very happy with my engineers (at Minardi), which is very important in this series. I would love to continue to work with them, but on the other side you have to keep your eyes open for other offers.
"That is what you get when you win races." Doornbos says he is comfortable with his move from F1 to Champ Cars.
"It was a difficult decision to leave Formula One," he said. "To drive in F1 is a big dream for any young driver.
"I was not sure what to expect in Champ Car. I was pleasantly surprised from the first race onwards. Of course being on the podium helped.
"We have had an amazing run and we have got our first win under our belt. This is just a great series full of talented drivers.
"The technical side may be less than F1, but the cars are very powerful. The teams are competitive and the racing is wheel to wheel and at the end of the day that is what a racer likes the best."
Doornbos was slow out of the blocks yesterday being 12th fastest in morning practice before placing sixth in yesterday afternoon's first qualifying session, but is confident of success tomorrow.
"I will be really going for it at this event," he said.
"We have been going really well on the street circuits. The last street circuit we raced on in San Jose we won, and even in Las Vegas we did well."