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Remaining bullish - Bourdais and Vettel’s half-term report 02 Jul 2008

(L to R): Sebastien Bourdais (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso and team mate Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso at a Scuderia Toro Rosso lunch event.
Australian Grand Prix, Rd 1, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, 12 March 2008 Sebastien Bourdais (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Malaysian Grand Prix, Rd 2, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 20 March 2008 Sebastien Bourdais (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday, 10 May 2008 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Practice Day, Magny-Cours, France, Friday, 20 June 2008 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday, 25 May 2008

Toro Rosso have scored seven points so far in 2008. That’s seven more than they had achieved at this point last season and the two ‘Sebs’ - drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Vettel - must take much of the credit. Despite numerous DNFs, half the team being put up for sale, the late arrival of their 2008 car, and more than their fair share of misfortune, the highly-rated duo have kept the Red Bull-backed squad very much in the mix - and both are expecting bigger things for the second half of the season…

Sebastien Bourdais
Current championship position: 18th (2 points)
Best race result: 7th, Best qualifying: 14th

“My season got underway with an average qualifying in Australia and then I had a super race up until two laps from the finish, but despite everything I have fond memories of it and it was a nice debut. After that we struggled a bit with some technical problems and I made some mistakes. We lacked a bit of competitivity until we got the new car. When that came, our potential was much higher but now I need to find what works for me with this car and I’m not quite there yet. But we continue to work hard in the hope that things will take a turn for the better.

“It’s difficult to quantify how much one relies on one’s experience; in my case I don’t have that much experience of Formula One and the switch to the new car for Monaco did prove a bit problematic for me. Adding to that difficulty was that, very shortly after we ran it for the first time, we then had a new aero package, and with limited knowledge of the base car, this further complicated the situation in terms of understanding the car’s behaviour.

“Coming from being a frontrunner in Champ Cars to my current position in F1 has not been hard to deal with. I was not always winning races over there and the important thing is to feel you are doing a good job. Winning a race which everyone knows you are capable of winning and where you are even expected to win, is satisfying but you have just done your job. But to be in a car that everyone knows is not at the front of the pack and you manage to score points means you have done a good job and you have to take satisfaction from that, even if it’s different to winning. When it goes well and you have something to smile about, that’s the time to be careful and when there are times when you have nothing to smile about, then you have to deal with it, but that’s not unique to Formula One.”

Sebastian Vettel
Current championship position: 14th (5 points)
Best race result: 5th, Best qualifying: 9th

“The season so far has been quite interesting, with a lot of up and downs. We had an excellent start in Australia with a very good qualifying. We started the season with the old car, which in the end was the right decision because we were looking for reliability. After Australia, the next four Grand Prix starts or first laps were not quite so successful. We always had a first lap incident and crashes. But what can you say, sometimes sh*t happens, so you just have to focus again on the next race and I would say Turkey was more or less the turning point. We finished last in the race, we had quite a few difficulties with the pit stops and so on, but still we finished the race. In Monaco we introduced the new car which was only my second time of driving it. We had a very good race there, in very tricky conditions. We took our second finish of the season and my first points at the same time so that was very good. Then we went to Montreal which again is a special place and the race was obviously playing into our hands with the one stop strategy starting from the pit lane.

“It was good to have the safety car at the right time which helped us. But more important was the pace, which was very good all weekend and we were able to finish in the points again, P8. Then we had the first real test with the new car in Barcelona introducing new parts which brought a good step forward and in Magny-Cours, we had a very competitive package. It seems we are going in the right direction, steadily improving. Hopefully, for the rest of the season, maybe even next week in Silverstone, we are in a good position to score some more points. So the target for the rest of the year is always to achieve 100 percent of our own performance.”