Former Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 star Sébastien Bourdais has re-iterated that he would not rule out a return to the grand prix grid should the right opportunity present itself – even if he did get his fingers badly burned first time around.
Following a troubled maiden campaign in the top flight that improved significantly in its latter stages – to the extent where Bourdais, who had arrived in F1 with a glittering reputation as the reigning four-time Champ Car king the other side of the Pond, qualified inside the top ten for six of the last seven races – 2009 was supposed to be the year when the highly-regarded Frenchman really showed what he was capable of, particularly with the changes in the aerodynamic regulations on paper playing to his strengths and experiences. Unfortunately, it never worked out that way.
Failing almost wholeheartedly to get to grips with the Red Bull 'junior' outfit's recalcitrant, Ferrari-powered STR4, Bourdais found himself outperformed by rookie namesake Sébastien Buemi right from the outset. Before long the rumours were flying that the 30-year-old was to be given the boot, and whilst he repeatedly batted off such suggestions, the end finally came in the wake of the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in July. Following his summary and somewhat less-than-amicable dismissal, the man from Le Mans found himself replaced by another debutant, 2008 British F3 Champion Jaime Alguersuari.
Looking back now, he is philosophical about his brief sojourn at the highest level, refusing to blame the team despite a bitter legal aftermath to his sacking and accusations within the paddock that STR operates something akin to an overly liberal revolving door policy with respect to its drivers, all-too often electing to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
“Obviously the F1 story didn't go as planned,” Bourdais told British newspaper The Sun
, “but that's life – it doesn't always go as you want. I think the team did the best they could, but unfortunately they couldn't help me in the way I wanted.
“When the car was to my liking and I felt like I could give my very best, then yeah, I had a lot of fun. It's the quickest [kind of] car on the planet, so when things go the way you want it's a lot of fun, but when the car is different to what you are expecting from it, then it can be a real drag.
“It was sometimes very good and sometimes very bad. Even though it didn't go so well, we still had some good showings – even if on average it was not where I wanted to be. It's something from the past, and now we're just trying to go forwards and write the next chapter after what happened mid-season.”
Since being brusquely ejected from F1, despite finding himself briefly linked with the injured Felipe Massa's seat at Ferrari – by virtue of the fact that the men share the same manager in Nicolas Todt, son of the Scuderia's
former team principal and new FIA President Jean Todt – and a return to America to race in the IndyCar Series, ultimately Bourdais found a new home in the football-affiliated Superleague Formula, driving for Spanish side FC Sevilla in the 200mph single-seater championship.
“Obviously the structure of the series and the set-up is very different and the cars feel very different,” he explained. “They're 800 kilos, whereas Formula 1 is 600 kilos, which does change dramatically the feeling inside the car – but it's still a racing car with a steering wheel and four wheels, and in the end you just have to adjust.