Sebastien Bourdais

Bourdais was born into a racing family, as his father Patrick was a regular competitor in French hillclimbs, touring car and sports car events. Sebastien started karting when he was 10 and began winning regional championships as a cadet. He moved to single seater racing in 1995 and after a year in Formula Campus moved up the La Filiere ladder with two years in French Formula Renault (he finished second in 1997, after four victories). In 1998 he won five races in French Formula 3 with the La Filiere team and went on to win the title the following season. he was then signed up as a member of the Prost Junior Team in Formula 3000 in 2000. That year he finished fourth in the Le Mans 24 Hours in a Pescarolo entry, behind the dominant Audi team. In 2001 he switched the DAMS and won his first race at Silverstone and in 2002 he moved to Super Nova Racing and won three races and inherited the title after Tomas Enge had a victory taken away for failing a drug test. That year he did a test with the Arrows F1 team and impressed. He took time out form single seaters to win the Spa 24 Hours in a Chrysler Viper, which he shared with Christophe Bouchut, David Terrien and Vincent Vosse.

He later tested for Renault but refused to sign a management contract with team principal Flavio Briatore and so was not signed as the Renault team's third driver. As he did not have the backing to land another F1 drive he went to the United States and joined Newman-Haas Racing for the 2003 CART World Series season. He won his fourth race and finished fourth in the championship, being named rookie of the year. He stayed with Newman Haas in 2004 and won seven races and the title and went on to win four consecutive titles. In 2005 he won his first stock car event, competing in the International Race of Champions (IROC). He returned to Europe to race at Le Mans on a regular basis and finished second in 2007 in a Peugeot he was sharing with Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy. In the course of that year he began to negotiate for an F1 deal and in the summer tested several times for Scuderia Toro Rosso. He was then signed to drive for the team in 2008 alongside Sebastian Vettel. He was classified seventh on his debut, having benefited from a Safety Car intervention and the disqualification of Rubens Barrichello. He had a disappointing season after that but gradually got up to speed although he had a serious of unlucky inciden ts which deprived him of any major results. With Vettel moving to Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso decided to stick with Bourdais in 2009.