Sebastien Bourdais is heading into the new Verizon IndyCar Series season back with Dale Coyne Racing, but does not believe he will get much help with setting up the car from new team-mate Ed Jones, who comes into the championship as a rookie.
Bourdais has switched over from the KVSH Racing outfit for 2017 where he competed last year without a team-mate, but is joined by reigning Indy Lights champion Jones, and although he knows the Dubai-born racer is a talented racer, he knows coming into IndyCar is extremely difficult for rookie drivers.
“I think some people forget how difficult it is to be a rookie,” said Bourdais on Motorsport.com. “It’s even harder now there is so little testing.
“There’s a lot to learn about the car, about interaction with your engineer and the team, there’s different tracks, your running time on race weekend is not that much. For a rookie, a race weekend goes by so darn fast!
“For Ed, at this stage in his development, it’s a matter of the team giving him a car that makes him feel secure so then he can start pushing hard and finding his limits and the car’s limits. It’s about getting track time and building confidence.
“As far as helping me, I don’t see it. As a rookie I think Ed will just be getting himself together by qualifying time, and even if he pulls out something special, well by then it’s too late to help me – I’m where I am on the grid already!
“That’s nothing against Ed, not at all. With rookies, that’s the way it is, that’s the way a race weekend progresses. It’s natural that I’m going to help him a lot more than he can help me, because he can take what I’m using and then he may suddenly make me look stupid by being faster.”
The Frenchman revealed that during his rookie campaign saw him learning from then team-mate Bruno Junqueira, and he expects Jones to be learning from him as he develops his race craft during the year.
“Certainly that’s how it was for me, in my first year in Champ Car with Bruno as my team-mate at Newman/Haas,” continued Bourdais. “He was doing his thing, I was feeding off of him, and looking at his data and sometimes getting it really right in qualifying.
“I won pole five times, and he might be third or fifth or something because he wasn’t benefiting from anything I was doing – and I was sure as heck benefiting from him!”