Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Formula One | Season preview

Sebastien Bourdais to keep hopes modest in Formula One debut

After four seasons dominating Champ Car racing, Sebastien Bourdais will make the leap into Formula One at last this weekend.

Bourdais, a Frenchman who lived in St. Petersburg while racing in North America, spent several years trying to get into the world's most prestigious series.

In the interim, he made history here, becoming the first driver in a major North American series (either open wheel or stock cars) to win four consecutive titles.

But Bourdais, 28, is trying to keep expectations reasonable as he enters this season with Toro Rosso Racing.

"I don't want to put myself under pressure," he recently told the official Formula One Web site. "I want to enjoy what I am doing. Pressure is not a good thing as it can lead drivers to make mistakes."

Bourdais will partner with Sebastian Vettel, 21, who made his debut with BMW last season and became the youngest driver in series history to score a point. Toro Rosso then bought his contract to replace Scott Speed for the final seven races.

"Seb Vettel has done thousands of kilometers testing with BMW, he has just done half a season of F1, whereas I've just arrived from the USA and, despite my experience, I am the rookie here," Bourdais said after signing with Toro Rosso.

Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost expressed confidence that Bourdais will run near the front of the pack, though he added that it might take him a few races.

"During the winter we have completed a high (amount of testing) mileage, which has allowed Bourdais to get used to a new car, to get used to grooved tires, a light F1 car compared to a heavy Champ Car, to a car with power steering from a Champ Car without it," Tost told his team's official Web site.

"All these factors combined are not so easy for a new driver to deal with, but so far, Sebastien has done a good job. & The first few Grands Prix will not be so easy for him, but I expect he will be a frontrunner from the fifth or sixth race onwards."

But if Bourdais is to contend, he might have to do so from near the back of the grid. Toro Rosso has scored points in just two races (the top eight cars score points in F1), and Bourdais expressed concern last week about his form in qualifying.

"You need to qualify well, and I think that's my weakness right now," Bourdais said after testing in Jerez, Spain. "On long runs, I'm quite competitive. On first-lap performance, it's a bit harder."

12 HOURS OF SEBRING: The anticipated diesel duel between Peugeot and Audi took an unusual turn in a qualifying session that was red-flagged and abandoned when Ben Devlin crashed his Mazda Lola heavily in the first turn and ended on top of the tire wall.

Information from was used in this report.

Sebastien Bourdais to keep hopes modest in Formula One debut 03/13/08 [Last modified: Friday, March 14, 2008 3:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion


    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  2. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener


    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  4. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  5. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.