He came to Formula One with the expectations of his minions that he will produce the same way that he produced in Champ Car—four championships that would catch the eye of Dietrich Mateschitz and propel him to the Red Bull junior team, Scuderia Toro Rosso.
2008 had begun, the master of the Champ series was now a rookie in Formula One. He was no longer a big gun, he was the older rookie who had to prove himself.
After taking a very solid two points at the season opener in Melbourne and upstaging his more capable teammate, Sebastien Vettel, for the first part of the season, Bourdais' performance has been lacklustre.
He has retired four times this season, and his highest finish after Melbourne was an 11th place at the British Grand Prix.
While these statistics look bad on Bourdais, I would like to take a different approach: Sebastien Bourdais is not Lewis Hamilton!
We saw what happened last year with a rookie in a winning car, but we forgot that that particular rookie was groomed to be in Formula One since the beginning. Bourdais never met Ron Dennis when he was 12 and said that he wanted to be a Formula One driver!
It should also be added that Sebastien Bourdais was never paired up with a world championship teammate as well as helping to develop a winning car (although the validity of that last claim is up to argument!).
If anything right now, Sebastien Bourdais is on a very steep learning curve, and when you compare it to Nico Rosberg's first campaign, you see that there is not a whole lot of difference when you take out the fact that the latter's car had a tendency to go out on him at almost every single race.
By this point in 2006, Rosberg had six retirements, only one of which was an engine blowing up. In that entire campaign, he had amassed only four points, and three more retirements totaling up to nine, or roughly half of all the races that year.
It was a tough year, but look at Nico now! He's not winning races, but he's making strides to get to that point.
Overall, I do not think it should be over for Sebastien Bourdais. The Frenchman who made his name in the Champ Car series should be given a race seat next year.
Through his driving, he genuinely appears to be trying, with the full knowledge that it's not his name, but his performance that makes him a winner or loser.
I will reserve my judgment on Bourdais until we see him more in tune with the car and not making rookie errors like driving into a gravel trap.
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