Sebastien Bourdais has been mouthing off in recent days about the state of Formula 1. It is not really a surprise. Those who fail in the big river often snipe from the pools on the side, where they can be big fish.
To be fair Bourdais probably deserved a better F1 career than he got. When he had the chance to sign up to a Renault test drive (and a Flavio Briatore management contract), he failed to do so. Perhaps if he had been more of a pragmatist he would have enjoyed a better F1 career, but one cannot fault him for believing in fairness. On another occasion, faced with a similar choice, Mark Webber signed on the dotted line and enjoyed a very tidy F1 career as a result, even if he had to give rather a lot of his money to Briatore.
Instead Bourdais traded down and went to the US where has was able to win four consecutive titles in what was a fairly weakened Champ Car World Series from 2004 to 2007. This was sufficient to convince Red Bull to give him an F1 chance with Toro Rosso but he was probably too old by that stage and although he did all right, it was not in any way spectacular and by the middle of 2009 he was dumped for failing to live up to expectations. Since then he has clawed his way back slowly to the top in IndyCar, which is a lot stronger than CART was in his dominant period. He has also finished second at Le Mans on three occasions. By most standards it has been a decent career. He has no doubt made a great deal of money but taking potshots at F1 seems somehow like sour grapes. Perhaps it is best to remember Thumper’s Law, one of Walt Disney’s most sensible contributions to mankind (from the film Bambi). “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”.