F1’s Bourdais fears high French hopes

Mon, 14 January 2008, 12:50

Sebastien Bourdais says he fears that the French people are expecting too much from his looming debut season in formula one.

The 28-year-old Frenchman won F1’s then feeder series, F3000, in 2002, before crossing the Atlantic and triumphing in four of the five Champ Car championships he contested until finally getting the call back to Europe.

Bourdais will race alongside Sebastian Vettel at Gerhard Berger’s second Red Bull-backed team, Toro Rosso, in 2008 and beyond.

“What worries me is the fact that some people do not understand that I do not have the same conditions as Hamilton at McLaren,” he said, referring to the British rookie who won four grands prix as a F1 rookie last year.

“Next year, I will certainly not be world champion,” Bourdais explained in the French sports newspaper L’Equipe.

“In France, much is expected that I can not fulfil.”

Bourdais was also asked why he thinks he is the only active Frenchman on the grid.

“If you look at F1 from a historical perspective, sometimes there were up to ten Frenchman there at the same time, and now there are a lot less.

“It is cyclical, the same that it has always been, and will always be. That is simply the nature of the sport,” he said.

Bourdais also revealed that Paul Newman, the Hollywood actor and co-owner of his former Champ Car team, has been invited to a grand prix this season.

“He does not know when he will come,” Bourdais said. “When I told him that I was going to formula one, he was disappointed but also pleased for me,” he added.

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