Bourdais calls merger disaster for Champ Car

Sebastien Bourdais

Four-times Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais says the reunification of US open-wheel racing has made him even more convinced he was right to switch to Formula One.

The Frenchman, who will make his grand prix debut with Toro Rosso in Australia on March 16, said the merger with the Indy Racing League (IRL) had effectively killed off the series he once dominated.

"It's not a merger, it's the death of Champ Car and the IRL taking over, the schedules, cars, everything," Britain's Autosport website (www.autosport.com) quoted him as saying after a Formula One test in Spain.

Bourdais said the agreement to reunite the series just 30 days before the start of the IRL season left Champ Car teams with no time to prepare.

"It's a disaster for Champ Car teams, obviously," he said.

"It's not a merger, it's the death of Champ Car and the IRL taking over – the schedules, cars, everything. It's the cars (the IRL teams) have been running around with for five years, so what are the Champ Car teams going to be able to do? Nothing.

"They had no time to prepare over the winter, because the winter is over. It's a disaster for Champ Car teams, obviously."

"Even if they start working on the cars now the season's going to be over by the time they start to be half-competitive," added the Frenchman.

"I'm even more convinced it (Formula One) was the right thing for me to do. I would not have been a contender in any way this year (in America)."

The two series announced last week they were reuniting 12 years after the former CART championship split, with Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George forming the IRL which had the rights to the high-profile Indy 500.

Both hope the unification will counter the rise of NASCAR, the stock car series which now dominates the American motorsport landscape. SBS World News

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