Tony Kanaan’s move to Chip Ganassi’s team opened up a high quality ride for a high-profile driver. That driver is Sebastien Bourdais, a four-time open-wheel champion. Bourdais will be leaving Dragon Racing, the only team that hasn’t won a race this year. It is a two-year deal, according to Jenna Fryer, which will give Jimmy Vasser the big name he needed to fill the void left by Kanaan.
For Bourdais, this was a no brainer. More importantly, this was something he clearly deserved. Since Toronto, he has scored three podium finishes, and four top 5 finishes in all. Despite being the weakest team in the series, he has put himself in 12th position in the championship standings heading into this weekend’s season finale in Fontana
The move to Vasser’s Indy 500-winning team gives the Frenchman security – something he wouldn’t have had if he remained at Dragon. The future of Jay Penske’s IndyCar team might be in jeopardy, having already committed to the Formula E series, and in danger of missing out on the Leaders Circle money to help fund the team next season.
Perhaps the biggest part of this deal is about the driver that passed on the offer. James Hinchcliff had an opportunity that is rare this day in age – a fully funded contract to drive, not having to bring any money with him. Instead, it appears as though the Canadian will remain with Andretti Autosport, which is his best opportunity to win. It is believed the team is close to securing sponsorship for him with an IT company, and Honda.
With Bourdais locked in for the next 2 years, the team will now work on finding him a teammate. Simona de Silvestro will be a free agent, and while she is open to staying, she has been reportedly talking with Rahal Letterman Lanigan, and Dale Coyne Racing.