Site logo

Biography

SEASON INFORMATION
13/01/2018

 

Biography

 
Sebastien made his Karting debut at the age of ten, and over the next few years contested numerous championships, winning the French Cadet Championship in 1993.

The switch to single-seaters came in 1995 when Sebastien, now aged 16, contested the Formula Campus Championship, followed by two seasons in the French Formula Renault Championship.

Having finished runner-up in the 1997 French Formula Renault Championship, courtesy of four wins and five pole positions, Sebastien moved up to the French F3 Championship for 1998, finishing sixth overall but taking the coveted 'Rookie of the Year' award.

The following year, still only 20, he won the French F3 Championship and subsequently signed to the Prost Junior Team for the 2000 International F3000 Championship. Finishing ninth in his maiden season, Sebastien made the switch to DAMS for 2001, taking a convincing win at Silverstone and finishing fourth overall, albeit over 40 points behind series winner Justin Wilson.

He remained in F3000 for 2002, however, he was now with David Sears' Super Nova International. Taking three victories and seven poles, Sebastien won the title by 2 points from Giorgio Pantano, following Tomas Enge's disqualification following a failed drugs test.

With no apparent interest from F1, Sebastien opted to follow the example of previous F3000 Champions, Juan Pablo Montoya and Bruno Junqueira, and head to the USA where he would take part in Champ Cars.

Joining the legendary Newman-Haas Racing outfit, Sebastien made his own little bit of history by emulating the achievement of another Newman-Haas old boy, Nigel Mansell, by taking pole position for his very first race. Unable to convert pole position into a win, it was three more races before the rookie took his first win, at Brands Hatch in England. Finishing fourth overall in the 2003 standings, Sebastien took comfort in the fact that he was recognised as the 'Rookie of the Year'.

He remained with Newman-Haas Racing for 2004 and this time there was no stopping the Frenchman, who took the title seven wins and eight poles in his McDonald's-sponsored Lola. It was the beginning of an era in Champ Car as Sebastien, in partnership with Newman-Haas won the 2005, 2006 and 2007 titles.

Along the way, Sebastien had looked at F1, having tested with both Arrows and Renault. While Arrows was never likely to lead to anything, such was the team's financial situation, many were surprised that Bourdais gave Renault the cold shoulder, especially when one considers what the French outfit was to subsequently achieve. That said, other than the fact that he was only being offered a test seat, it is understood that Sebastian was loath to sign a management deal with Flavio Briatore, a decision that is said to explain why several other star names never made the move to F1 in recent years.

Whether it was because Red Bull was still seeking to make its mark in the United States or because it felt Sebastien would make a great F1 driver, we do not know, however, following a number of tests with Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2007, the Frenchman was signed to partner Sebastian Vettel in 2008.

Despite qualifying eighteenth in Melbourne, Sebastien got his campaign off to a perfect start by bringing the STR2B home in seventh, helped, it must be admitted, by various mistakes made by his rivals as they got to grips to cars no longer running traction control. At one point Sebastien was running fourth, however an engine problem saw him fail to finish the race, though he was classified eighth in the official results. Furthermore, the subsequent disqualification of Barrichello saw the Frenchman promoted to seventh.

Like his teammate, Sebastien struggled with the STR2B, however, once the team had the STR3 in its possession, particularly after Giorgio Ascanelli and the team had started to work their magic, the Frenchman appeared to grow in confidence.

The first half of the season was littered with spins, accidents and retirements, though Sebastien, to be fair, was rarely responsible. More often than not he was the hapless victim of others' over exuberance.

In Belgium, a racers circuit, he qualified ninth, his best result to date, and next day climbed as high as fifth. However, in the closing stages, as weather conditions worsened, Sebastien, like several others, fell victim to poor tyre strategy and what might have been a podium finish ended with the Frenchman coming home a distant seventh. After the race, his tears were clear proof that he had given his all and expected more.

Bad luck played its part again at Monza, where Toro Rosso enjoyed the best weekend in its (short) history. Having qualified fourth, it was not out of the question that Sebastien and his German teammate might pull off one of the biggest shocks in F1 history. Sadly, while Vettel romped off to enjoy a historic win, Bourdais encountered a problem on the grid. With the race starting behind the safety car, the Frenchman was soon a lap down, his race over before it had even begun. Nonetheless, he soldiered on and finished eighteenth, a lap behind his teammate. However, he had the satisfaction of posting the second fastest lap of the race.

In Japan he was the victim of what many believe to be a scandalous decision by the Race Stewards. Though finishing seventh on the road, Sebastien was handed a 25s penalty for an incident involving Felipe Massa, thereby demoting the Frenchman to tenth.

Ending the season with four points, and seventeenth position in the championship, compared to his teammate who finished eighth with thirty-five points, there was much speculation as to whether Sebastien would retain his seat for 2009. While the Frenchman tested for Toro Rosso over the winter, so too did Takuma Sato and by the time the Faenza team confirmed Sebastien Buemi as one of its drivers in early January, Sebastien was already looking elsewhere with strong rumours that he was heading back to the States. However, on February 6th the Frenchman was confirmed for a second season.

Being French, it is not surprising that Sebastien has tried his luck at Le Mans in the legendary 24-hour race. In fact, since 1999, he has made numerous appearances in the classic event, his best result being second in 2007, when he partnered Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy at the wheel of a factory-backed Peugeot 908. However, it came as a surprise when Sebastien announced that he would - with Toro Rosso's blessing - contest the 2009 Le Man 24-hour race and the Sebring 12-hours.

Bearing mind that it was his rookie season and he had been paired with a clearly phenomenal talent in the form of Vettel, it would have been unfair to judge Sebastien on 2008 alone. However, in 2009, there was little visible improvement and once again the Frenchman struggled.

While Toro Rosso had punched well above its weight in 2008, in 2009 the team was a shadow of its former self. For much of the season the Faenza team was a couple of steps behinds its 'big sister' outfit and it was quite late in the season before the STR4 was in any way competitive.

However, while Buemi - who had never been that impressive in GP2 - kept his head down and got on with the job, Sebastien constantly fiddled with what was admittedly a poor handling car rather than simply pushing harder.

Eighth in Australia and again in Monaco was as good as it got while only twice did the Frenchman make it into Q2. On the other hand Buemi qualified tenth in China and eleventh in Monaco. Furthermore, he enjoyed points finishes in two races including two sevenths, one of them in Melbourne where he finished ahead of his teammate.

Then there were the mistakes, colliding with his teammate on the first lap of the Spanish GP, thereby eliminating both cars, and a collision with Heikki Kovalainen at Silverstone.

After the German GP, which saw Sebastien suffer hydraulics failure, Toro Rosso announced that the Frenchman would no longer be driving for the team. There was talk of legal action but this was subsequently dropped following an out of court settlement.

Having finished second at Le Mans and Sebring earlier in the year, Sebastien pondered how he would spend the rest of 2009, though a reputed $2.1m compensation package from Toro Rosso meant he was hardly out of pocket.

Rather than head back to America the Frenchman settled on the Superleague Formula in which he represented Seville FC. Contesting the three final rounds of the season he won the Super Final at Estoril and Race 1 at Monza.

Statistics - at the end of 2009 Season

Drivers' Titles: 0
Seasons in F1: 2
Grand Prix: 27
Wins: 0
Points: 6
Poles: 0
Fastest Laps: 0

Best result in 2009: 6th (2 times)
Best qualifying 2009: 14th (Monaco)
Worst qualifying 2009: 20th (2 times)
2009: Out-qualified Sebastien Buemi 2 times
2009: Out-qualified by Sebastien Buemi 7 times

2009: Completed 392 out of 524 laps (74.8%)
2009: Finished 6 times from 9 starts (67%)

LATEST NEWS

more news >

LATEST FEATURES

more features >

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2021. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms