Sebastien Bourdais will not race again in 2017 following his horror crash during Saturday’s qualifying session for the Indianapolis 500, but has had successful surgery on his fractured pelvis and hip.
Bourdais’ operation was said to be a success in more ways than one, with the Frenchman having been expected to have two separate operations on his pelvis and hip, but the doctors were able to do both at the same time, and his team boss Dale Coyne said that the car protected him superbly.
“That was great news,” said Coyne to Motorsport.com, “because they had expected it to involve two separate operations. He’s a strong guy, very fit. That helps. IndyCar flew Claire [Bourdais’ wife] in last night, so that was great.
“Sebastien came out of surgery at 10.40, and about 20 minutes later his surgeon came down and told us it had gone really well.
“It’s not so long ago that a hit like that would have been fatal. It was a 118G hit, and yet the car did its job. There was no intrusion from the components, and the panel that was added to the car when Justin [Wilson] had his hit in Fontana [in 2013] and broke his pelvis did what it was supposed to do and gave the seat more of chance to absorb a lot of energy.”
Bourdais will be out of action while he recovers from his injures, and Coyne admitted it was extremely sad for the Frenchman to end his month of May like this after showing good speed with and without a tow all month long, highlighted by the two stunning 231mph+ laps in his pole run before his crash.
“We’re told he’s going to be six to eight weeks on crutches and then there’s rehab,” added Coyne. “So yeah, that’s it for the season.
“It’s sad for Sebastien that it came when we were looking really good. I mean, I thought he was the class of the field here all week. We were strong in traffic in practice, and we were superquick without a tow, as well.
“Those 231mph laps were amazing,” said Coyne of Bourdais’ opening two laps on his Saturday qualifying run. “He was at 239mph on the straights, and the lap time was over 1mph more than anyone else had done. We were looking really good for taking pole today.
“But when we spoke before surgery, he remembered everything. He said the car had wiggled a bit in Turn 1 so he knew he was on the limit and then he just drove it in a bit too hard in 2.”
Coyne says his team are distract with what happened on Saturday, and he sent them home rather than beginning the build on the spare car, but he does not expect it to be ready in time to qualify on Sunday or maybe even Monday’s practice session at the Speedway.
“We’ve gotta build up the spare car,” he commented. “I sent the guys home last night. They were devastated, as you’d guess.
“It’s never gonna be ready today; we’ll be lucky if it’s ready for tomorrow.”
There has been no news on who will replace Bourdais either for the Indy 500 or for the rest of the season, with Stefan Wilson one of the potential replacements as well as James Davison and Tristan Vautier.