Champ Car World Series: Gran Premio Tecate Presented by Banamex
Topics: Gran Premio Tecate Presented by Banamex
November 11, 2007
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
THE MODERATOR: We have our third and second place finishers. Third place today, Oriol Servia, who completes the season in sixth place in the Champ Car World Series Championship with 237 points. Finishing second today is Will Power, who finishes the season with 262 points in fourth place.
First we'll start with you, Oriol. Obviously you're a veteran of this series and you're raced against Sebastien Bourdais many times. Why don't you tell us what you think about him as a racer, as a person and going forward?
ORIOL SERVIA: Well, there's not much to say about his record. I was lucky to be his teammate. When you race for another team, you look at Sebastien and you always think, he's on the best team, and Newman/Haas, they are so much better. But fortunately or unfortunately, I loved to be his teammate and see how much it takes. The team is great obviously, but he definitely drives to the limit every second he's out there, and I learned a lot from him, and I think I became a better driver when I was his teammate.
I feel he's the fastest guy out there, and I think he's going to show Formula 1 the level that we have here, and he's going to do a great job there.
THE MODERATOR: Interesting year for you, Oriol, obviously finishing sixth is a big testament given the little bit of what you went through. It shows your talent as a racer. Talk a little bit about what you're looking forward to in 2008.
ORIOL SERVIA: Well, I think for once I would like some consistency. I've been in three strong teams in the series, and at this point I feel going back with any of the three would be really strong, and we would work on something that would make us contenders to go for the championship. That would be Forsythe, PKV or Newman/Haas. I think the three are options for me, and I'm hoping one of the three will happen. I'm sure any of the three is going to be a contender, so I'm very excited about what the future holds for me for next year.
THE MODERATOR: A couple questions for Will. Congratulations, Will, great race. You came up a little bit short. Tell us how you feel and talk about how you think the season went for you overall.
WILL POWER: Yeah, it would have been nice to win the last race of the season, considering we had pretty good pace in qualifying. The car was a little bit too loose coming down the straight. But as the season goes, we've had the pace all year, we've just had really bad luck in the races with mechanical failure and a couple other things.
I think that we'll be strong next year. I think we learned a lot in how to win a championship this year and what not to do. I look forward to it, good result the last race. It's about time we finished on the podium. Yeah, looking forward to next year.
THE MODERATOR: Obviously you had several great races with Sebastien this year. You've raced against him now for two straight seasons. Put in perspective his career from your perspective.
WILL POWER: Yeah, he's the best and most complete race driver I've ever raced against. He's always working at it, and he's just looking at every single aspect. He's not just a really quick driver, he's very technical and very good on the engineering side of things. He's been the pacesetter for four years in Champ Car, and he really deserves a Formula 1 chance, and I think he's going to do a really good job there.
Q. You seem to have been saving the Push-to-Pass power toward late. Why do you think you weren't able to gain much when you were finally able to use that?
WILL POWER: Yeah, in the last five or six laps, everyone was using it. Maybe that's due to the selected red tire because it wasn't a complete spin. If you had red tires, there was only a five lap stretch at the end, and he had an advantage. You could see Oriol was catching me and he was on reds. I think if we were on reds there might have been a shot at passing Sebastien, but he was very quick. They were very quick, and his car lasted through all the stints, maybe even off a little bit at the end. He just kept the pace up.
Q. Will, could you take us through those last five or six laps? You were using the Push-to-Pass on the straightaway and you were gaining on him on the straightaway but then with two or three laps left it sort of equalized. You had the Push-to-Pass power advantage at the start of the race, but -- at the start of that last yellow. Did you think that that -- were you pretty confident at that point that you'd get him?
WILL POWER: Well, my problem was coming down the straight I was very loose so I couldn't get a good run, so I wasn't able to use it to the maximum. Sebastien had 30 seconds left, so five laps to go he just hit it down the straight. Like I said, I think if I had reds we would have had a better shot at getting him. He was really quick. It's good for racing if everyone pushes to the maximum limit at the end of a race, especially if there's a bit of racing. There wasn't today.
Q. Two-part question. What happened at the start, and then can you talk about your pass of Graham Rahal right at the end?
ORIOL SERVIA: At the start -- you followed me. Nothing comes easy for me. We were there, and it wouldn't go in gear. Stayed in neutral, neutral, neutral, and when it finally went in gear the engine died, even before I tried to clutch it.
It was a little bit of a bad start, but Jimmy came in the race and said, listen, these are longer races than what we had over the weekend, and he was there every lap with me and was pushing me, was telling me where everybody else was.
At the last call we were both talking about the blacks or reds, and we both decided reds, and it was the right call. It just feels good when you're able to work together as a team and you're able to support each other like that. Obviously the last race I came in sixth or seventh and we were able to pass Paul and Pagenaut in the last three laps, and it was fantastic.
Q. Tires were good?
ORIOL SERVIA: Tires were great. Paul was on reds, also. I had him a little bit surprised in turn four, but it worked out well.
Q. Will, early in the race when Sebastien passed you, he was using the Push-to-Pass. Any thoughts on -- you had extra power given the situation at the start of the race. Was there any thought in your mind to use it to defend yourself?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I did actually. I used it too late. Otherwise I would have held the position. It's pretty tough to pass around here, and knowing that he had less Push-to-Pass than me, I should have defended a lot earlier. But that's how it went, unfortunately.
THE MODERATOR: Our next driver up will be Mr. Sebastien Bourdais. I'd like to give you a little bit of context what you've witnessed today. One of the all-time greats in Champ Car history. Today was his 31st career win, was six all-time in the record books tied with Al Unser, Jr., and Paul Tracy. Today's win was number eight for the season, the most wins Sebastien has ever recorded in a season.
Last but not least, Sebastien Bourdais has been 73 total races. Our champion not only today but for the last four seasons, Sebastien Bourdais.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I didn't get Sebastien The Great today (laughter). I'm disappointed.
THE MODERATOR: I am speechless and ready to go straight to the press.
Q. (No microphone.)
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, after being penalized once and then suffering some kind of a weird yellow, as I said, that was pretty high up there for me. You know, we tried to do the best we could to stop the pressure from building around us, but there was just no way out.
Everybody was really emotional today, and I was, too. I had to leave a couple of times before jumping in the car. I couldn't hold it. It was really, really strange just to finally realize that it was going to be the last time.
When I closed the visor it was all business. I knew it wasn't going to be easy because the Push-to-Pass and the fact that it increased the importance of it this weekend, it was going to be super hard. We just had the better car and the team once again just pulled it off. We had a good start and great strategy and great speed, and that's what it's all about. It's racing; it always comes back down to this. It doesn't matter how many hurdles you put in your way. It's irrelevant for the most part when you get such a day.
I tried to pass the message along that we had done it about 30 times, and I really wanted to add another one, and we needed to do it. I could really feel that the boys were just kind of freaking out, and Dave couldn't even change a wheel this morning and things like that. So it was really hard. He took the time to make a little speech on the out lap and just try and regroup everybody and say, let's do this one more time. We know what we've got to do, so let's do it. We did just that, and it was an awesome day.
Q. (No microphone.)
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, like I said, there was no better way to finish off that chapter of my career. I really felt like everybody deserved it in the team, and it was on my side to finish it off because the cards were on the table and played pretty much. It was up to me to make the best use of it.
During that first stint when Will was saving quite a bit of fuel and Justin didn't seem to be too much of a factor, at some point I thought he was just going to go for it, try and pass me, which would have really dropped me in a big hole because it would have been a heartbreaking situation whether to save fuel or not save fuel, as you all know, because if a yellow was to happen, we would have just lost a track position and really tough to make back, less Push-to-Pass.
You know, we just really didn't hold anything back, and I saved more fuel than I was supposed to because I wanted to give it a try at the end of the first stint, and it worked out. Will lost the rears and started to have a much tougher time to make up the mileage and had to slow down, and that's when I decided to go for it.
I knew I wasn't going to have a ton of shots at it because obviously with only 53 seconds of Push-to-Pass and about 18 seconds every time you use it in the front straight, it was going to go away in a hurry. You know, from there it was just a straightforward race, the way we like them and the way we've controlled quite a few. And it means -- it probably tops everything else, between the emotion, the performance on the racetrack and the way things turned out, obviously it's quite complete.
Q. (Question in Spanish.)
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I think that's kind of what I already answered (laughter).
Q. (Question in Spanish.)
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I think everybody knows a lot of future. In another couple of months I'm going to be another year older, the second of December, and we'll be back here by then. Hopefully going to be one last thing with Champ Car with the banquet, and after that it will be it.
On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday I'll be testing the car in Barcelona, and there will be another session in December with every other team. Like I said, it's going to be -- I'm going to turn the Champ Car page and I'll try to write a lot of good stories on it. I don't really know what to expect.
I think when I came here it worked out pretty good just to approach it this way, just do the best you can, because you've done it pretty much your whole life, and we'll see what happens.
Q. The penalty or I guess the infraction, were you guys aware that this was a problem, or do you think it was a legitimate penalty?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Bullshit. I've been dusted a few times this year for doing things that I haven't done, and I'm really disappointed because I tried to do the best I can. Like yesterday when I had to give up my qualifying run, not to interfere with Justin, and trust me, that was the toughest thing I had to do in a long time because the very last thing I wanted to do was to just have a non-qualifying session like I had.
This morning was just the same crap, period. I rolled down the pre-grid like I had been instructed, I took the stuff from the finish line, yeah, I dropped the clutch on my box, I didn't come to a stop, I didn't do a stop. The problem is Tony doesn't seem to be able to put in writing what he thinks, and that's the real problem.
Q. Were you concerned when the yellow flag erased -- you build up a pretty big lead there at one point --
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, that was a good one, another good one I should say. Yeah, I guess it was getting boring, right, so I had to do something about it.
Yeah, obviously I knew it could be a big, big, big problem because Will was going to be on the Push-to-Pass every single lap from the restart, and I could only use it once, maybe twice. So I had to make few mistakes, go through the chicane, which isn't really easy when you put all the marbles on the tires and you've got to clean them off and it's a restart. Last three starts in racing, last in the race, man. I was focused. I knew what I had to do, but a lot of things can happen, the wrong things.
After the race started I felt pretty comfortable because I felt like the Bridgestone tires felt really good out there, and I had good traction and I could get a good jump in the last chicane, and from there the group was still good, I could hold pretty much flat in the Peraltada. So I had a pretty good feeling about the whole thing, but I knew I just couldn't afford to make any mistakes. Yeah, it was a little nerve-wracking.
Q. (Question in Spanish.)
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I think we talked quite a few times about that. I personally feel it's very difficult to actually write about your own performance and to put some kind of interpretation about you're going to leave behind you and what people are going to think, this and that. Obviously you need a few years and see who's going to be up there next and for how long and what the general context of their winnings are going to be and everything.
So it's very hard to say. I just wish that Champ Car keeps going and heading the right direction and getting stronger. I think open-wheel racing in the States really needs it.
All I can say is Will Power is obviously right now extremely strong. He achieves really strong mileage and with a great pace. Pretty awesome qualifiers and the pole position. I think I got six or seven, he got five this year. So I expect fully for him to be a championship contender next year. Since I won't be there, I think he might actually give a very hard time to everyone else, and I hope he's going to stay in the series.
Then after that there are quite a few drivers, Justin has been up there the whole time I was here, and Robert Doornbos obviously looking pretty good, and then my teammate and a lot of others. So it's going to be difficult to say what's going to happen, but personally I just hope that people remember me like a real racer who tried his very hardest to be fair with everybody. In many ways I know what I think about it now.
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