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IZOD IndyCar Series: Honda Indy Toronto

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Honda Indy Toronto

IZOD IndyCar Series: Honda Indy Toronto

Sebastien Bourdais
July 14, 2013


THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by our third-place finisher from today's race, Sebastien Bourdais.
Talk about today's race and that great move on the last restart.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, it's been quite an interesting end of the race. It was a lot of basically just go with the flow and don't make any mistakes. Everybody was going pretty hard.
But the first stint, I could have gone faster, but Ryan started to lose his tires. I didn't have any 'push to pass' the whole race. It was pretty much a matter of keep it there and try and do good in all laps, hopefully you can jump them. But we didn't do that. I was maybe a bit too conservative on my out lap and Ryan just got us.
After that, basically it was the matter of who had a gap behind us, a little gap in front of us. I knew I was never going to pass them fair and square. I was trying to keep my tires underneath me and making sure they were in good shape if for any reason there was going to be a yellow. It just all happened at the end.
I knew it was the only way I could make something happen. But in the meantime I knew I was pretty much screwed 'cause they all had 'push to pass' and I didn't.
In the back straight, all bunched up, there wasn't much I could do to defend. Both times I just managed to position the car where it was right and things went our way and behind us was pretty much chaos. Nobody was anywhere near us. That was really cool.
Ryan managed to pass me. I got him straight back because I knew if I wasn't getting him back straightaway, there was no way out of this. After that, I was going to be under attack from Dario. I really tried super hard to get him back. He was struggling with his tire pressure, he couldn't get the tires again. It was super, super sensitive on the braking. I just went for it and I worked.
After that, we just set off to chase Will. The last restart just went around the outside. I have no idea what happened behind me. Was grateful Helio didn't squeeze me against the wall. Went from there. Race was over. Here we are, 'push to pass', seventh to start, third at the end. Couldn't be any happier with that.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Do you think the team has made enough improvements that you can have a car capable of competing and running up front every week?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I think the baseline street course setup, you need to have a base. Is it going to work everywhere? Probably not. When you have a base, you just need to go the right direction on that specific track and go and make it better.
So I think we got a really workable base to begin with now. It's not perfect. Dixie is obviously gone, so we got work to do. We'll keep at it.
But obviously from where we were to be able to have four podiums, that's pretty sweet. On top of that, last night the guys had to work till 1 a.m. to change the fuel cell because the thing was leaking after the race. Everybody puts his head down, gets to work. Next morning everybody is all smiles. It makes a big difference, for sure.

Q. When you hit on a setup that's working now, were you surprised?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, if I tell you the setup, really?
It's very surprising that we ended up where we are on such a bumpy street course. At the end of the day it's working. Tom came with kind of an idea and we just went more and more towards that direction. It just clicked for the first qualifying. Oh, okay, now we got grip. Now I can push. It was a pretty big eye opener. Then we just kept working at it all weekend. I think we were maybe a little weaker at the race yesterday.
Again, we made small changes for warmup and the race, and the car was better again. That's what it takes. Once you get closer, baby steps.

Q. How satisfying is it for a driver that's accomplished as much as you have to be on a team where you do make those little baby steps?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It's awesome. I think I've proved in a championship-winning car with a top team I can do it. Done it a few times. Hopefully people haven't forgotten.
But at the end of the day it's a whole different challenge when you have to start from scratch with a team, just bring people onboard to try to build something and get the right chemistry. It's a completely different challenge.
I really thought at the end of last year we were going to have an awesome season. Like I said yesterday, we just didn't adapt very quickly to the new tires. Finally I think we understood something and it's the turnaround for our season.

Q. Your previous success here, did that play any role here?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, it's a pretty selective racetrack. It's one of these tracks where experience pays. P.T. was always awesome here. There are balance issues because of the pavement changes and all that. So you need to know what you're looking for, what is setup and what is track related.
For sure, I've identified these now and I know what I need to work on to to have a fast car. The braking zones are so damn bumpy that you really need to have the confidence, know where to brake, know where to position the car. It definitely helped me.
It's no wonder why in '11 we finally got things going with Dale, last year we were strong, this year we are strong.

Q. (No microphone.)
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: No, this place has been the same for 15 years. It's always been bumpy like that. I think every time they smooth it out with the patches they make, but the patches they make are slipperier than everything else. When it ages, it digs in a little bit more and becomes grainy. The concrete patches they lay down, it's a mirror. You see the rubber goes on it, and it shines like it's a freaking polished thing. So on restarts when the rubber is gone, it's interesting.

Q. There were no bases on those trophies.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It was the same setup. Yesterday he handed me the whole thing and I had no idea the trophy was not attached to the base.

Q. How much of a grind was this weekend for you?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It was good. But, man, we did a lot of things in order to get front grip. The steering wheel got pretty darn heavy. The last pit stop when you put the last set of tires, full tank, the track is rubbered up, the steering effort, you earn your paycheck around here.
It's tough when it's the second race of the weekend. Pretty happy it's over.

Q. Your opinion on a doubleheader format coming out of a successful weekend?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: When you have a good car, it's awesome. I scored as many points as I scored all season. I'm not against it.
It's always the same. It's the same with the standing starts. It's the same with the doubleheaders. If the fans love it, if it makes the event more profitable for the promoters, for the series, it's a good thing. We don't have a say in it. We are just the racers. We have our own opinion, but at the end of the day we'll do whatever it take this series wherever it needs to go, and that is to bring it up. Bring it on. If it works, let's do it.

Q. What Scott Dixon did this weekend, did that remind you a little bit of yourself back in the day?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: He just was the class of the field the whole weekend. It's like trying to compare yourself to another driver. He was in a league of his own. I've experienced that in the past. But it doesn't remind me of me. I'm just a regular guy who is trying to do the best job we can. Scott did it this weekend. Good for him. He earned every bit of it. I think he passed me three times this weekend. It's not like I can deny he was the fastest guy.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, Sebastien, on the back-to-back podiums.

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