Sébastien Bourdais has conceded that F1 for him is now something that is in the past, conceding that his relationship with Scuderia Toro Rosso fell apart because the team simply wanted 'a guy who shuts up and drives' – and insisting that he has 'no regrets' about his time on the grand prix grid.
Bourdais' stint with the Red Bull 'junior' squad lasted all of a season-and-a-half, roughly divided into three distinct periods. Throughout the first half of 2008 and having arrived with a glittering reputation forged largely in America, the Frenchman struggled to adapt his style – shaped by multiple title successes in Champ Cars – to the Cosworth-powered STR2B, whilst in the second half of the season he increasingly came on-song, and began to show people just what he was capable of with some feisty and praiseworthy performances.
Following a winter of uncertainty and discontent, that turnaround was ultimately enough to earn the Le Mans native a stay of execution at Faenza into 2009, but after he failed to get to grips once again with the STR4 and generally lagged behind young rookie team-mate and namesake Sébastien Buemi – scarcely aided by the scant support he received from team management – STR's patience ran out and Bourdais was unceremoniously dismissed in July, going on to become briefly embroiled in legal action against his former employers for what he claimed was breach-of-contract.
“They did not decide the development of the car or the technical paths, so it was always going to end in the way it did,” he told sports.fr
, adding that Toro Rosso wanted 'a guy who shuts up and drives'. “Now, I have no regrets, but I would have if I had not tried it.
“I am 31-years-old. I don't see how I could be back in a F1 cockpit, especially since it already did not go so well. If someone offers me a car, why not, but, personally, I have stopped chasing it.”
Bourdais is currently competing in the football-themed Superleague Formula and for Peugeot in the Le Mans 24 Hours, and he reflected that a lack of sponsorship is hampering his desire to return Stateside – the same malaise
, he opines, that means there are presently no Frenchmen in F1, even if he himself was fleetingly linked with the vacant seat at Renault last winter that eventually went the way of GP2 Series graduate Vitaly Petrov.
“I know him very well – he is a friend – and we didn't even talk about it,” he revealed of the Enstone-based outfit's new team principal Eric Boullier. “Renault needed a driver who could bring money. I was hoping that Romain [Grosjean] would be retained.
“There are many talented French drivers, but our economy is such that it is difficult to find financial support - and, unfortunately, seats in F1 are rare and expensive.”