Bourdais unhappy with grooved tyres

Posted on

| Written by

When we debated Sebastien Bourdais here a few weeks ago there were some reservations about the quality of his performances since he scored on his Grand Prix debut in Australia.

The Toro Rosso driver has hinted why he might be having difficulty settling into F1 after five years in Champ Car. He remarked he was hoping he’d get to drive in 2009 – with slick tyres.

I can’t really say I feel that I’ve shown what I wanted to show this year so far. What happen will happen. I’m kind of a free man. If I get fired because of this or because of that then so be it. What’s really important for me is that I give my best. And I am giving my best, even if it’s not paying off right now.

But you can only influence so many parameters, so I will have no regrets, that’s for sure. I’m doing the very best I can, and if it’s not enough in some people’s opinion then fine. Right now I’m focused on 2008. I can only hope I’ll be able to show what I can do with a car that has slick tyres.

Slicks are expected to return to F1 in 2009 having been banned at the end of 1997 (although the FIA has backed down from plans to enforce a ban on tyre warmers as well).

Some drivers seem to strongly prefer slicks to grooved tyres. Damon Hill drove on both during his F1 career. He said he disliked grooved tyres and left the sport two years after they were introduced.

Slicks have had a favourable reaction from many of the drivers who’ve tried them in testing in recent months, such as Jarno Trulli.

But with Toro Rosso up for sale, and Bourdais’ team mate Sebastian Vettel linked to Red Bull for 2009, Bourdais may not get a chance to race on slicks in Formula 1.

Read more about Sebastien Bourdais: Sebastien Bourdais biography

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

23 comments on “Bourdais unhappy with grooved tyres”

  1. I have been impressed by the maturity of Bourdais. He MIGHT not have the raw pace of Vettel, but hearing him instruct him team regarding setup in a clear fashion while Vettel was saying he was lost, has endeared him to me. I really hope he gets a seat in 2009 because he deserves it.

  2. It’s not the first season for Vettel, and Bourdais is a rookie with the car, with the serie and witn most of the tracks. I don’t think is fair compare both drivers.

    Anyway i think is more the toro rosso than the grooved tyres.

  3. Robert McKay
    30th June 2008, 22:29

    “It’s not the first season for Vettel”

    No, but he didn’t do a full year in 2007. How many races did he do, 1 for BMW and 7 for STR? He’s only had 8 more F1 Grands Prix than Bourdais so experience is only a small factor. And so far the tracks Vettel has run on are not the ones he did last year.

    Bourdais is getting beaten for pace quite badly. Following the two in the French GP for the live blog showed me that quite well.

    But, having said that I believe (a) Vettel is/will be the next big thing, after Hamilton and Kubica’s rise and (b) Bourdais is a good driver and, given more time (and, maybe, slicks) he will put in some decent results.

    Problem is this is F1 and as Liuzzi showed last year sometimes you don’t even get the full year and sometimes peoples perceptions are just against you, full stop.

  4. Robert McKay
    30th June 2008, 22:31

    Actually, Vettel did run Turkey last year, but that’s the only circuit he’s run two full Grands Prix weekends at.

  5. Actually Vettel was BMWs test driver so he has a lot more experience in an F1 car than Bourdais.

  6. … and BMW Sauber used Vettel on Fridays early on last season, not exactly making Heidfeld happy that time. They dropped that policy after few races

  7. really excited who is going to buy torro rosso next year……maybe AUDI. But this is highly unlikely…i wonder who might be other contenders..

  8. The problem with Bourdais is exactly the fact that he came from the Champ Car series. For reasons that I cannot fully understand, driving those cars for more than a season renders the drivers useless for F1. My first recollection of a driver crossing over is Michael Andretti. He was the big Kahuna of the Champ Cars at the time and came to F1 to drive alongside Ayrton Senna at Mclaren in 1993 – he was fired before the end of the season. Jack Villeneuve, Alex Zanardi and Christiano da Matta were other examples of good Champ Car competitors turned into inept F1 drivers (yeah, I know that JV won the championship in 1997, but that only shows that with a superior car even a rookie like Lewis can have a shot at the title).
    Interestingly enough, things are different when the move goes the other way. Emerson Fittipaldi, Nigel Mansel and Alex Zanardi are just few examples of former F1 drivers who went on to win in the U.S.(Zanardi drove for Lotus rather unsucessfully in the beginning of the 1990s, then went to the U.S., before returning to F1 with Williams in 1998).

    But, in short, my point is: Nothing will ever come of Bourdais – those Champ Cars have already spoiled him for F1

  9. Antifia: You might be interested in this series on Ex-Champ Car drivers who raced in F1:

    CART drivers who raced in F1 parts 1-9

    It didn’t do Mario Andretti, Jacques Villenueve or Juan Pablo Montoya any harm…

  10. Robert McKay
    1st July 2008, 11:12

    I appreciate Vettel did a few Friday sessions. I’m just pointing out that in race trim he’s not done that many more races.

  11. Keith: I don’t think I agree with you in relation to Jacques Villeneuve or Montoya. Those guys where dominant in their Champ Car days. In F1, well…ok, they were not useless, but they were more close to also-runs than to starts.

    In the end, it looks like Champ Cars are more forgiving. So when your reflexes start letting you down in F1, you can still be more than a match for those in the Champ series – but you can never come back (remember Mansel? F1 champ in ’92, Champ car winner in ’93, an embarrassment in F1 in ’94). Thus, instead of a feeder series, Champ Cars should be used more as an retirement option, along with Le Mans and GT.

  12. I don’t think anyone doubts F1 is a much tougher series than Champ Car was (although I wonder how well some F1 drivers might have coped with CART’s superspeedways and their 240mph average speeds). But nor do I agree that thr 1978 and 1997 world champions were “also-rans”. Mario Andretti especially is one of the sport’s great drivers in my book, an exceptionally versatile driver. And whatever you think of Villeneuve and Montoya they were multiple Grand Prix winners and certainly not just there to make up the numbers. Nor was Nigel Mansell an ’embarassment’ in 1994 – he won a race!

  13. Hey, Keith, Nigel won a race alright, but only because Schumi had no scruples in crashing his car into Damon Hill’s to win the championship. When you look at the previous race (Japan), however, you will see that he finished the race almost a minute behind Hill. Finishing behind Hill, having the same equipment, is already bad enough. Finishing 1 min behind Hill with the same equipment….No, he was definetly not the same Nigel Mansel of his pre-U.S. stint days.

  14. I still don’t agree and I don’t think you can convince me that Mario Andretti, Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya weren’t good racing drivers. I think the small number of F1 races Mansell did in 1994 and how much the cars had changed had more to do with how he fared. Remember he was on pole at Adelaide as well.

  15. I think in the argument we’re forgetting the chief differences between Bourdais’ era of ChampCar and Formula 1-

    1. True slicks (coming soon)
    2. Turbochargers (probably gone forever)
    3. Ground effect (not going to happen)
    4. In his dominant years, spec Lola and Elan/Panoz chassis and Cosworth motors

    The difference between the teams gets him worse than any other technical difference between ChampCar and F1.

    Mario Andretti’s CART had differing chassis and motors. No doubting from me though, that he is the greatest driver of all time.

  16. Villeneuve’s story always got to me. Winning the championship in 1997 for Williams, achieving something his late father never got to achieve or see in the flesh. A sad, sad story.
    People often forget, that Jacques Villeneuve grew up around Formula One to a large extent, and lost his father to it. He deserved to be champion.
    As for the rest of his career, I always felt that Villeneuve towards the end had given up. He had proved himself, he had been the champion and had done it in style.
    To the point in hand, ofcourse Champ Car was helpfull for drivers in Formula One, and Mario Andretti is the all time classic example of that.
    For me, Toro Rosso need to keep Bourdais onboard. The mixture of experience, and Vettel’s youthfull ambition, adds a nice balance to the team.
    If the grooved rubber is really the reason for Bourdais’ struggling, then 2009 will be much anticipated by me. He is a great driver, and anybody who has won four straight championships deserved the utmost respect.

  17. Antifia

    You must remember that Nigel Mansell started his F1 career with most people turning their backs on him. The guy was mortgaged to the hilt, living from paycheck to paycheck. He ‘HAD’ to race and he ‘HAD’ to win, his hunger was massive for racing because it needed to be.
    You only have to look at his record during the 1980’s and early 1990’s to see that. After winning the F1 crown in 1992, then the Indycar title a year later, times had changed.
    No longer was Mansell with his financial back to the wall, but a wealthy man, a vindicated man. The ‘blockhead’ as Nelson Piquet called him had proven his distracters wrong, and as Keith pointed out, he did win a race in 1994, despite dodgy circumstances.

  18. Montoya was a great driver in both series whenever he was happy.

  19. Antifia – are you now suggesting that Damon Hill was perhaps not a worth world champion?

    Keith has already made the point that Mansell was adjusting (within a short window of time) to cars very different to the ones he had previously raced in F1, but added to that, Hill’s win at Suzuka in ’94 was one of THE outstanding wet weather wins.

  20. Guys, I agree with most of your arguments – we diverge on the conclusion. First of all, I have to confess that I’ve seen very little of Mario Andretti’s career. I started watching F1 in 1978 (and I was seven bach then). In your opinion he seems to have been a great drives and I wont challenge that. But those were other times, and perhaps back then F1 and Champ car designs and technologies were more compatible, which could have made things easier for Champ series drivers to adapt to F1. Returning to the ’90s and further, I still think that Champ series drives don’t make good F1 contenders. Take Montoya, for example. In the U.S. he was head and shoulders above the rest, in F1 he was closely matched with Ralph and took a hell of a bitting from Kimi – so he went from dominant to something else, didn’t he? Turning to JV, well, he never impressed me as a F1 driver. In fact, when I tease Shumi fans I always remind them that he managed to lose to JV – a bit desingenuous, given the level of Ferrari that year, but it still irritates the crap out of them…hehehe.
    Concerning Mansel vs Hill, even if you consider Hill a good driver (which I don’t, but I respect those who do), I believe most would agree that if you had put a top form Mansel and a top form Hill in the same team, Mansel would not have had much of a competition (pretty much like the Prost/Hill situation in 1993). So for Hill to get 1 min ahead in Japan-94, Mansel cannot have been in the top of his form. But that is exactly what he was, say, 18 months before – what changed? That is my point.

  21. I think Antifia (Anti-FIA?) is saying that the Indy-CART schism hurt the technology of ChampCar quite a bit, and that the differences between the cars became a bit too great. I agree with that. The current Indy Dallara and the Elan/Panoz that Superleague Formula (did I get that name right) are about to inherit looks dated compared to F1 machines. That is why Bourdais struggles, it isn’t just the tires.

    Will he adapt to life in F1? I think he already has, even if he doesn’t seem competitive.

  22. Indycar wants Bourdais!! Can we have him back?

  23. Could you help me. We all have strength enough to endure the misfortunes of others. Help me! I find sites on the topic: How to do eyelash extensions semi. I found only this – eyelash extensions oakland ca. Eyelash extensions, we well have length doing toenails – it’s   hyaluronic to make because our industries want against the weeks. Eyelash extensions, terri anne gives 12 eyelashes of massage impetigo skin and has found medical culture in article regimen range, lens style for eyelashes of somebody, effective scale girls, and bikini something. Thank ;-) Fiona from Sierra.

Comments are closed.