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Exclusive interview - Toro Rosso's Sebastien Bourdais 16 Aug 2007

Sebastien Bourdais (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso. Formula One Testing, Day 1, Jerez, Spain. 13 December 2006. World © Bumstead/Sutton Sebastien Bourdais (FRA) has his first run for Scuderia Toro Rosso. Formula One Testing, Day 1, Jerez, Spain. 13 December 2006. World © Bumstead/Sutton. Sebastien Bourdais (FRA) tests the Scuderia Toro Rosso STR01. Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, 13 December 2006. World © Patching/Sutton. Sebastien Bourdais (FRA) tests for Scuderia Toro Rosso. Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, 13 December 2006.World © Patching/Sutton. Sebastian Bourdais (FRA) Toro Rosso Formula One Testing, 10-12 July 2007, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. World © Moy/Sutton

Sebastien Bourdais’ name was being linked with a Formula One drive even before he won his first Champ Car title back in 2004. But it took another three years - and two more titles - for Bourdais to finally secure his seat. In 2008 he will join forces with Sebastian Vettel at the Red Bull-backed Toro Rosso squad - and France will once again have one of their own competing in Formula One racing…

Q: How did you feel when you signed the contract to race for Toro Rosso in 2008?
Sebastien Bourdais:
It was a great moment of satisfaction. As you know, I had been waiting to get into F1 for a long, long time, so it was really sweet! I was also very happy for Nicolas Todt who believed in me and made it happen - a big challenge.

Q: What do you think swung the balance in your favour?
Well, I think it would probably be better to ask Toro Rosso, but they certainly made their decision after evaluating my six days of testing.

Q: In Champ Cars, it seems you are rarely off the podium and the championship trophy has become an almost permanent feature on your mantlepiece. When you make the switch to Formula One racing you may have to get used to being at the other end of the grid...
I think the whole challenge is to try and make things better. If you have no ambitions in F1, then you shouldn’t be there. Toro Rosso wants to be more competitive and so we have the same goals.

Q: You are top dog in Champ Cars. Is the switch to Formula One racing going to be worth it?
All I know is I did everything I could have dreamt of doing in Champ Car and we can hopefully get the fourth title. F1 was always something I wanted to give a real try, and now that I have an opportunity with Toro Rosso I will make the best of it. I am not pretending we are going to win races in 2008, though it would be awesome, but had I not tried I would have regretted it for the rest of my life.

Q: Do you think you’re looking for a fresh challenge after so long on top?
Nope, you can never win enough! But it certainly feels like it was time for me to go after a new challenge, given the right opportunity, and I think it is the case.

Q: Was the return to Europe one of the deciding factors?
Absolutely. There is no need to hide the fact that both my wife and I wanted to raise Emma (our daughter) closer to our families, and we both knew we would come back to Europe at some point.

Q: When will you first get to drive the STR3?
I don’t know that yet.

Q: Now that a ride in Formula One racing has become a reality for you, is winning the 2007 Champ Car title still as high a priority?
It has changed nothing regarding my motivation and my interest in the Champ Car season. There was a big challenge at the beginning of 2007 - to prove that we could win the championship with the same equipment as everybody else. We are very much in the hunt, and I would be the happiest guy if I could win a fourth straight title for the boys at Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing before I leave - they really deserve it!