Feb 12, 2014, 1:39 PM EDT
It’s take two for “Seb squared,” with Sebastian Saavedra rejoining Sebastien Bourdais for a second straight year in the IndyCar Series. The difference is, this year it’s at KV Racing, compared to Dragon Racing in 2013.
On a conference call Wednesday, Saavedra spoke highly of the chance to work with Bourdais again, as did KV team co-owner Jimmy Vasser.
“Keeping the Sebastians together is important,” Vasser said. “I know how they work, because the first season is awkward with new teammates. How they’ve worked together good or bad. It will be beneficial.”
“I have a four-time champ as a teammate, it’s more of a benefit than anything,” Saavedra said. “I want to build my own career, forge my own path, but for sure I will use his expertise. Driving with him last year, we know each other, know where he came from. We build it throughout the season and he didn’t need to teach me that much. We’re going to be an interesting pair.”
Vasser also said that Saavedra surprised him at times with his pace early in 2013.
“At times with Conquest and last year early on, he was really being very competitive to outpacing Bourdais, that was very impressive,” Vasser said. “The speed is there. It takes a few years to get comfortable in this series, and then start to have your legs underneath you.”
Saavedra tests today at Sonoma, and will have further tests in Sebring and Texas before the official preseason test at Barber in March.
To this point, Saavedra’s had an uneven IndyCar career. He’s only 23, and 2014 will mark his third full season with his third different team, after spending the 2011 season with Conquest Racing and last year with Dragon. He stepped down to Indy Lights in 2012, and raced with Andretti Autosport in an AFS-backed entry with a handful of IndyCar starts.
Purely on results, Saavedra has done little to merit a seat. In 38 career starts, Saavedra only has two top-10 finishes – eighth at Baltimore and 10th at Detroit Race 2 last year. He did outqualify Bourdais five times in 2013, but due to an engineering tailspin and other crew changes in the second half of the year, his qualifying fell off dramatically. He did not start better than 18th in any of the last 10 races.
He hasn’t had a truly “wow” moment in IndyCar. When you think of the things that stand out, it was a last-minute qualifying effort on the first day of qualifying at Indy 2012, so he wouldn’t need to qualify on Bump Day, or his Dragon car’s blue chrome paint glitter-bombing the track in last year’s practice, or his double-bird outburst against Marco Andretti in Detroit that cost him $30,000 and put him on probation.
Still, you get the sense that, like a Simona de Silvestro before she advanced to KV last year, Saavedra’s still not had a great opportunity with better equipment.
He occasionally overachieved with Conquest, showed flashes of speed in his Andretti cameos, and had a pair of ninth place starts to open 2013 with Dragon, so he has his moments.
In Indy Lights in 2012, he regularly beat teammate Carlos Munoz, who’s now racing with Andretti. In that 2009 rookie season, he won twice and finished third in the points, ahead of future IndyCar race winners James Hinchcliffe and Charlie Kimball. He only trailed JR Hildebrand and James Davison.
There are occasional flashes of brilliance. He just needs to deliver with greater consistency in 2014.
May 30, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT
Ducati gets both of its riders onto the front row of the grid for its home race at Mugello in Italy.
May 30, 2015, 5:26 PM EDT
Munoz wins in the wet, as Detroit race one is shortened.
May 30, 2015, 4:47 PM EDT
Will Power led after 35 laps in the Dual in Detroit Race 1.
May 30, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT
The Lotus driver wins at Spa with a brave overtake around the outside of Pouhons.
May 30, 2015, 4:16 PM EDT
Separate incidents take Rahal and Kimball out of the race in Detroit.
May 30, 2015, 4:11 PM EDT
Cameron, Curran win but a post-checkered flag accident emerges as story.
May 30, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT
F1 team principals issue their concern about the possibility of a tire war between Pirelli and Michelin in the future.
May 30, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT
Sainz and Verstappen ready for their first races at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
May 30, 2015, 2:09 PM EDT
How Indianapolis 500 champions have done in their next race since 2000.
WATCH LIVE: Eli Tomac goes for third straight Pro Motocross win at Thunder Valley (2 p.m. ET, Live Extra)
May 30, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT
Live coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra with the pre-race show and continues at 3 p.m. ET with all four motos.
May 30, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT
The Japanese driver will return to the wheel of the Toyota LMP1 car on Sunday.
May 30, 2015, 12:56 PM EDT
The days following Montoya’s second Indianapolis 500 were both “really cool” and “hell” at once.
May 30, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT
He may sit bottom of the drivers’ championship, but Maldonado remains upbeat ahead of next weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.
May 30, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT
He may only be 17, but Max can still give his father a scare behind the wheel of a road car.
May 30, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT
We caught up with a few of the GRC Lites drivers before their season kicks off.
May 30, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT
Force India team owner claims F1 has become too democratic in letting some of the teams have a say.
May 29, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT
Frenchman hopes to bounce back in Canada next weekend after finishing outside of the points in Monaco.
May 29, 2015, 4:52 PM EDT
Will Power and Helio Castroneves complete the front row for first of two IndyCar races in Detroit.
May 29, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT
Sainz went on to finish the race in tenth place, but it all very nearly ended far earlier in Monaco last Sunday.
May 29, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
GT racer returns after making his Formula E debut in Uruguay at the end of 2014.
- Munoz wins rain-shortened first race in Detroit 1
- Action Express wins; safety worker taken to hospital in TUDOR race at Detroit 0
- The week that was for Juan Pablo Montoya 0
- Power wins Verizon P1 Award in Detroit with new track record 1
- Preview: Detroit’s doubleheader a crucial weekend for IndyCar championship 0
- ARCA: From welder to race car driver, Sarah Cornett-Ching continues her building prowess 2
- Taylor Swift to be featured on Tony Kanaan’s IndyCar in Detroit; will she make it to track? 7