• Mar 30th 2011 at 8:30AM
  • 14
Sebastien Bourdais at the 2011 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Following earlier reports and a couple of test sessions, four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais is returning to open wheel racing in America with the Dale Coyne team. The French driver had graduated to an unsuccessful stint in Formula One with Scuderia Toro Rosso after dominating the Champ Car series in its pre-merger days, and is returning to IndyCar racing this season.

The deal with Coyne will see Bourdais campaign only the street and road-course races on the calendar, and not the oval speedways – less due to his relative expertise in the corners as opposed to banked tracks and more, according to reports, to avoid scheduling conflicts with his drive for Peugeot's Le Mans team.

Bourdais' return kicked off this past weekend at the season opener in St Petersburg, Florida, however he didn't make it onto the starting grid. The experienced grand prix driver crashed his Dallara in the first chicane during a warm-up session, resulting in heavy damage. After his teammate James Jakes crashed around the same time at Turn Three and the team was left without a back-up car, it had only enough parts to repair one chassis and Jakes' was the less damaged of the two.

We'll look forward to seeing Bourdais get his groove back at the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on April 10, followed by Long Beach on April 17 and Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 1 before the series hits the speedways in June.

[Source: Autosport | Image: Steve Nesius/AP]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I understand why he is not running the ovals but I would like to see him at Indy. His is not an oval rookie. He has wins at Germany and Vegas. And he is a vet of Indy, Milwaukee and IROC.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's unfortunate that he was given a cr@p car in F1. I think he would have done a lot better with a Williams or Renault.
        • 4 Years Ago

        Sabby raced in 2008 and 2009. Vettel won his championship last year. 3 VERY different cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        cr@p car? Didn't Vettel win a Grand Prix in that same car? Yes, Vettel is the current world champion, but the point is the 4 time consecutive champ car winner was weaker than the talented rookie. I think he's a great driver and deserved more of a shot in F1 since Buemi and Alguersauri are aren't doing much with STR either.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Or it means that both Sebastians got equal cars and Bourdais couldn't cut it. While a talented driver, I don't know that his competition was that fierce in Champ car. When going up against the best (ie Vettel) with the same equipment, it looks like he fell short.

        I don't know if we'll ever know if he got the crappy version of the STR car. Red Bull has a history of giving the better equipment to the preferred driver - ie Spa 2010. But in that race Webber made it work despite having inferior equipment.

        Again, he's still an amazing driver, but to say he didn't have his chance is F1 is bit forgiving. A year and half with no progress seems like enough when there's a thousand other young guns waiting in line behind you. For the record, I think Buemi and Alguersuari should have been let go a while back. There are a F1 test drivers that I think deserve their seats more than they do (Hulkenberg).
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh wait, I read that wrong.


        Vettel winning a race that year showed how crappy a car Sabby had. They gave the kid a good car while giving the old man a crappy one. Simple as that.
        • 4 Years Ago

        Seriously to what end does a middle to bottom end team give one driver a better car over the other in F1, for those teams it is all about points. The more points they get the more share of the revenue. If you have two drivers in the points you get more revenue.

        To say that they handicapped Bourdais to focus on Vettel is ignorant. In F1 your main rival is your teammate...and every driver will tell you that. Teammates have the same equipment and are, therefore, racing under the same conditions. If you watched the races you would have seen the difference in speed between the drivers. Vettel was markedly faster, smoother, and had a better attitude. Bourdais spent his time in F1 puttering around the track almost akin to Michael Andretti's time in F1. There was always a complaint about the car even when Vettel was several places ahead of him. He couldn't get a handle on it, he was a great driver in Champ Car and endurance racing, bur F1 is a different beast.
      • 4 Years Ago
      My buddy is a big big Indycar fan and will not give Bourdais credit for his wins in Champ Car. I maintain that the guy couldn't have THAT good of luck; 4 years of wins in Champ. Come on, man. Give him some credit.

      He believes that Bourdais accomplishments were tainted by his lack of competition.

      /shrugs. I'm glad he's back in Open-wheel in the U.S., and I wish him success.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dario has already won 2 in a row. Could be on his way to his 3rd if he dominates like he did at St. Pete.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh, I know. The weirdest thing about the whole argument that he and I have is that he's a massive Will Power fan. Rookie or not, Bourdais handily beat him.

        /smh. I just let him go.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is great news. I have missed seeing him on the track. He got bum wrap in F1.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I would like to know why he didn't go back to newman/haas. Did they break-up on bad terms when he went ot F1? Im sure if paul was still alive he would have been welcome back.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Kinda proves that F1, despite its many flaws, is still the pinnacle of motorsports, and only the very best of the best can compete in it. Other than Jacques Villeneuve, I can't think of any driver that went form Indy / Champ/ IRL to F1 and succeeded. Perhaps Mario Andretti way back when...
      • 4 Years Ago
      @ Pat, the car was developped to suit Vettel, right when Bourdais was getting up to grips with it the car completely changed and that ruined things for him. Not saying he would have won a race but well...it's past anyway.
      I hope Seb has a good run this year, didn't start in the best of fashions unfortunately.
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