Sebastien Bourdais, IndyCar, Dale Coyne, Sonma, 2018

F1 gives “no consideration” to drivers from other series – Bourdais

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In the round-up: Former F1 driver Sebastien Bourdais says teams in the sport tend to ignore drivers from other championships.

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Would greater transparency be a better solution than banning teams’ updated?

What if the rules had a mechanism where advances such as the double diffuser get shared to other teams rather than banned? Wouldn’t that greatly reduce the incentive to spend exorbitant amounts to gain advantage?
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  • 36 comments on “F1 gives “no consideration” to drivers from other series – Bourdais”

    1. Well, maybe there is a reason indycar drivers aren’t considered too much? I don’t remember sebastien lighting up the scene. And he was given quite a bit of time, too. Also, f1-rejects and hasbeens from 10 years ago running competitively might be Another indicator…

      1. I agree. I’ve seen many IndyCar races during the past few years and I have to say the driving standards in IndyCar are just nowhere near F1. If I had a chance to create F1 team from scratch and pick whoever drivers outside of current F1-grid no IndyCar driver would be on my wishlist. I think Steiner was correct with his words about American/IndyCar drivers. Outrage was to be expected but maybe IndyCar drivers and ex-American F1 stars should stop moaning about it and move on with their lives.

        1. @huhhii
          Personally I think that Dixon, Power and Castroneves would all have faired well in F1 given the correct opportunity (more Montoya than Bourdais).

          However, notice the theme in all these names… All IndyCar, none American.

          It’s funny how over the last week Steiner’s comment about there being no Americans ready for F1 seems to have turned into another F1 vs Indy argument.

          I’m tempted to believe at this point Rossi and Newgarden would be no better or worse than Ericsson, Nasr, Kvyat, Stroll.

          I think the IndyCar drivers who have shown that they can adapt to GT / IMSA would have a good chance of adapting to F1.

          1. Exactly. The main thing I noticed from all these discussions on American drivers is that “F1 doesn’t even consider a legend like Scott Dixon”. Scott Dixon is NOT American.

          2. Well, you have to really suck to be worse than Ericsson. Both Nasr and Wehrlein drove the ‘duct tape car’ (literally in some cases) in the last two seasons, while Ericsson got all the new and spare parts. And they still outperformed Ericsson. I think in equal conditions 80% of the Indycar field would outperform Ericsson.

        2. I mean if you’re going to convince me gems like Yoong, Karthikeyan, Ide, Maldonado, etc… that made it to F1 are somehow better than drivers like Dixon, Helio, and Power just because they bought their way in then you’ve got rocks in your head.

          I’d also like to add in that half the drivers in F1 seem to be scared of indycar oval racing. Not exactly a good look when any F1 driver admits to that….

      2. @huhhii The thing to consider with Indycar is that the cars are a lot harder & more physical to drive than an F1 car & are at the same time usually been driven on tracks with un-optimal surfaces.

        The lack of power steering, The less efficient/Less effective brakes, Lower aerodynamics & overall grip as well as how bumpy, dirty & generally less grippy the Indycar tracks tend to be all make the possibility of making mistakes far greater than you get in F1.

        If you transfered the current grid of F1 drivers into the Indycar’s on Indycar circuits I guarantee you that you would suddenly see the F1 guys making the same kinds of mistakes & have some of the same kinds of silly looking accidents as you can see in Indycar.
        I mean look at some of the Ex-F1 guys, Max Chilton may not have been that spectacular in F1 in terms of speed but he virtually never made any errors…. In 1 season of Indycar he was off track more, Had more contact & more accidents than he ever did in his entire career in F1 & that says a lot about how much trickier an Indycar is compared to F1.

        @mrboerns Also, f1-rejects and hasbeens from 10 years ago running competitively might be Another indicator…

        The only former F1 drivers currently in Indycar that tend to be competitive on a regular basis are Bourdais (When he’s in the right car) & Alex Rossi (Who never got a proper shot at F1).

        Takuma Sato hasn’t really done much better in Indycar than he did in F1. Yes he’s won 2-3 races but go back & watch him in F1 in 2004 & he had races that year where he was just as competitive (Indy 2004 for instance).

        Max Chilton has run well on some of the ovals but hasn’t really ever been towards the front on road/street circuits despite been with one of the top 2 Indycar teams (Ganassi) with a team mate (Scott Dixon) fighting for the championship practically every season.

        As to Sebastian Bourdais, I think he got to F1 too late. Had he had an opportunity in F1 before he went to Champcar in 2003 I think he’d have done a lot better than he did in 2008/2009. I mean he tested for 2 F1 teams in 2002 (Arrows & Renault) & impressed both. Flavio wanted to sign him to Renault off the back of the Renault test but insisted on Bourdais becoming a part of his driver management deal which Bourdais refused so the offer was pulled.
        Tom Walkinshaw wanted to run Bourdais more in testing (With an eye to having him in a race seat in 2003) having been impressed with his speed but the team went under before they could take things further.

        I’ll end with this. Just because a driver doesn’t set the world alight in F1 doesn’t mean that driver is hopeless. I know people like to think that but it has never & will never be true.

        1. Thanks for the insight as always GT. Kudos to Bourdais for refusing to sign for Flavio.

        2. @gt-racer, mind you, Bourdais does in part concede that his performance may have hurt the reputation of Indycar or Champ Car drivers in F1 because, by the time that he did enter F1, he had those four Champ Car titles to his name. It meant that he entered the sport with far greater expectations of his abilities, which is perhaps why people were more disappointed with him as a result and perhaps downgraded their expectations of drivers from Indycar.

          Equally, I guess that part of it also comes from the fact that there have been drivers who are quite competitive in Indycar now who did start their junior careers in Europe and were not that competitive, which might also contribute to the perception that the quality of the competition is lower. Pagenaud is perhaps one such example, as he won the Indycar title in 2016 and was a runner up this year, but when he competed in Formula Renault 3.5 back in 2005, he finished that season in 16th (behind quite a large number of drivers who didn’t even compete in a full season).

          1. Jonathan Parkin
            21st January 2018, 12:59

            I was expecting Bourdais to do well in F1 and when he left I actually felt sorry for him that it hadn’t worked out for him. I don’t think having Vettel as a teammate helped either given that SV is a favoured son. Who knows what would have happened at Italy in 2008 had Bourdais managed to get away from the grid (his car failed)

            1. Jonathan Parkin, that certainly would have made things challenging for him in 2008, and the Italian GP is a difficult question to resolve – would it have been a great opportunity for him, or might it just have staved off the inevitable?

              After all, there was criticism about his performance relative to Buemi, where Bourdais was expected to have an advantage over him (Bourdais being the incumbent driver and the more experienced figure), but Buemi did manage to upstage him in some key races (such as snatching points in the wet conditions in the 2009 Chinese GP and finishing nearly half a minute ahead of Bourdais in that race). It makes me suspect that the team might have moved him aside at the end of the season, rather than during it, as they might have been prepared to give him a bit more time.

      3. @mrboerns You are comparing Indycar to F1, when every driver coming to F1 would always be considered a rookie, no matter from where he comes. I’d say the level of competition in Indycar is at least as high as GP2, and a young guy doing well will already have a taste of not only battling more experienced drivers, but also some experience with the pressure and media-work that comes with a more visible series. A young drivers test day for Newgarden wouldn’t hurt.
        That said, the entry-point for having a go at F1 (that might or might not work out) would financially be a step back, and career wise a considerable risk for someone who has already secured an opportunity for a lengthy and probably well paid career in the US.

        1. Indycar is definitely better GP2 in terms of driver quality. I’d say it’s around the level of Formula E.

      4. I don’t think Bourdais expects to be called back to F1 and if you read the full article he says he didn’t do American IndyCar drivers any favors with his F1 career. The counter argument is F1 did give Alexander Rossi a chance in 2015 and he did quite well considering the equipment he was driving. He can’t say he didn’t deserve to be there.

    2. How is this transparency gonna work. Is every team gonna get a copy of every teams complete car and pick it apart for an North Korean study every race or what?

    3. Lennard Mascini (@)
      21st January 2018, 1:51

      I completely disagree with CotD. I’ve been watching F1 since 2008 and honestly huge leaps forward, even if they later get banned (double diffuser, ground effect) are the only way small teams can beat the big guys, such as Brawn, Toyota, and Red Bull beating McLaren and Ferrari in 2009, or the emergence of Williams and success of Lotus and even Ligier in 79/80.

    4. COTD….. Doing something along those lines wouldn’t really work because finding & developing something that offers you an advantage is still going to offer you an advantage even if others are given access to it because you will have a head start on developing & understanding how it works.

      Additionally the other teams would still need to spend millions on whatever it is as even if they are given full design details on it they still need to re-work it to integrate it into there car as simply taking something off one car & putting that exact same thing onto another won’t necessarily work in the same way.

      And even if offering up everything to every team did work & did stop teams spending money trying to find an advantage, Your effectively doing away with a big part of what F1 is because that looking for an advantage/R&D race is a big part of the very essence of the sport.

      1. @gt-racer you’re right, and there are many examples of this. Like the blown diffuser which Red Bull always got the best out of it, or the F duct which worked better for McLaren. Also when one team develops a new bit for their car and the other teams try to copy it, not only they adapt it to their car but they often work ways to improve it. So they’d not “bolt on” a double diffuser just like it was first designed, they’d look into better ways to make it work, spending money anyway.

      2. I seem to remember a few years ago when the exhaust blowing was going on, that Williams were having so much trouble with it that they gave up, took it off the car and ended up improving their pace.

    5. Having read Newey’s book, Im afraid the COD would only work year on year, as a lot of these clever ideas are “baked in” at the design stage, and can’t be incorporated in to the other cars easily or quickly. That said I think that results in a fair way to do things. The team gets its hard earned advantage for one season only, then the others can catch up.

    6. For the first time in my life I’ll be in Barcelona during the tests, can’t believe we’re so close already. I’m so looking forward to it, it’ll be the first time I see a F1 car on track in person since 2004. Are you going to Spain this year for testing, @keithcollantine? Would love to thank you for all your work with F1 Fanatic.

      1. @fer-no65 That’s very kind! This year @dieterrencken is going to be at both pre-season tests for us. My plans aren’t set yet, it’ll depend on how the budget for the rest of the year looks.

        1. @keithcollantine well, I hope the budget allows it! i’m sure @dieterrencken is going to do a hell of a job for the site, but it’d be great to see you there as well.

      2. Have fun @fer-no65 ! Look forward to your analysis :)

        1. @george thanks! i’m really looking forwards to it… I want to see it all in person, I think it might change my perception of the sport a lot, specially the sound and the halo.

    7. Bourdais is not wrong in my opinion. F1 is a sport so far up its rear end it can see the backs of its own teeth.

    8. The solution proposed in COTD would probably end up increasing costs (or things would just remain as they are now). As others have pointed out, the best ideas are usually incorporated into the design of the car at an early stage, and they simply cannot be bolted on, meaning that most teams would have to redesign their cars during the season or just wait until next year to be competitive again.

      1. I like the America’s Cup rules: at the end of the season, everyone can look at the other competitors hardware. Maybe not allow photographs or measuring, but this give every team a one year advantage, and keeps teams from spending millions on stuff that will only be an advantage for one year.

    9. “I would say that Liberty Media bought F1 too late: it will take several years for the technical regulations to change, stunts like F1 Live can only do so much to help draining popularity.”
      – And how exactly is ‘too late’ defined in this instance. Why should they’ve bought F1 earlier? Furthermore, it will ‘always’ take several years for the technical regulations to change. A change of ownership makes zero difference to that. It’s the FIA that’s responsible for the technical regulations, not the commercial rights holders.

      1. @jerejj, it’s worth noting that the person who wrote those words is just a random member of the public from Long Beach who wrote a short letter (two paragraphs and only just over 120 words) to the Financial Times’s “Letters to the Editor” page. There is no analysis, critique or any real attempt to justify his comments or explain his reasoning, which is why the comment is so poorly defined – because the person writing it probably doesn’t really know the answer themselves.

      2. Too late……I’ll take a swing at this.

        Sure, the FIA is responsible for technical regs. But when Bernie was around I liken it to take an 18 wheeler and driving it down a single lane highway. No where to turn around. Backing it up is possible, but extremely difficult.

        FOM and the FIA went down that one lane path and kept going for years and years and years. They went down so far that it is difficult to back out of it. The wrong path. All the issues, all the problem, everything that we as fans complain about they went and solidified this current model. Can’t back up. To make all the problems just go away over night is not something that you can do with F1 without “upsetting” the teams and the sport and it’s nature of it being “top tier”. These teams have invested billions of Euros so thinking that they would give it all up for a new model right now would make us the fools in believing.

        1. @docnuke, Well said, COTD material !

    10. Bourdais is completely wrong, if a driver is special, then they’ll stand out. People in and around F1 are not Dummies and if theres a sniff of a driver worth looking at, im sure they’ll be onto it.

      1. How many championships did Scott Dixon or Dario Franchitti need to rack up before they stood out to F1?

        1. Scott Dixon tested for F1 in 2004. Dario Franchitti tested around 2000 or something. How many champs had they wracked up respectively in 2000 or 2004?

      2. Actually Bourdais stood out by being head and shoulders above his competition in ChampCar. So they gave him a shot in F1 and he failed miserably.

        He’s the last person who should complain about F1 overlooking drivers from other categories.

        Other guys standing out in IndyCar have had their tests too and they simply all disappointed. So afterwards they will say that they don’t want to drive in F1 anyway to pretend it wasn’t so bad they didn’t get called back.

        A decade later these old guys are still competitive in IndyCar (talk about level of competition) and the fans complain that their stars are overlooked. They weren’t ovelooked. They just weren’t bright enough.

        Also guys like Sebastian Loeb and Valentino Rossi tried. Untouchable in their own fields, but their talent simply didn’t seem translate well too F1.

        The other way around, Alonso and even people like Mansell get into IndyCar and lead races right away.

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