While everyone seems to be in agreement that the recently-concluded merger between the two erstwhile divorced series of American open-wheel racing is a step forward, Sebastien Bourdais thinks otherwise. Referring to the inherent disadvantage for Champ Car teams joining the IRL just 30 days before the start of the 2008 season, the four-time champ called the merger "the death of Champ Car".

Bourdais, who departed US oval-track racing for F1 this season, points to the enormous advantage which established IRL teams will have over the newcomer Champ Car teams as a sign of troubled times ahead for all migrating teams, even Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing with whom Bourdais took four back-to-back titles in Champ Cars. He may be right, if the unfortunate departure of Forsythe Racing is any indication. Sebastien's proposed solution would be for the new combined series to introduce entirely new cars for all the teams in order to level the playing field.

Meanwhile, in related news, the head of A1GP Team USA expressed hope that the series might take advantage of the IRL/Champ Car merger by picking up some of the venues which were dropped for the new combined calendar. Only three Champ Car races are being adopted into the new IRL schedule, while the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport has not competed on American soil since racing at Laguna Seca in its innagural 2005 season.

[Source: Autosport, Photo by JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty]