Skip to content

Will third full-time chance be the charm for Sebastian Saavedra?

Feb 12, 2014, 1:39 PM EST

Indianapolis 500 - Practice Getty Images

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.

Latest Posts
  1. (Updated) Remembering iconic motorsports PR great Denny Darnell

    Nov 23, 2014, 6:10 PM EST

    Denny Darnell (far left), with wife Jean, and Cyndee and Jerry Bonkowski. Denny Darnell (far left), with wife Jean, and Cyndee and Jerry Bonkowski.

    The world of motorsports — particularly NASCAR and NHRA — is mourning arguably the best public relations person it has ever seen, Denny Darnell, who passed away Saturday.

  2. Post-race fights in NASCAR Chase joked about during Eagles-Titans skirmish

    Nov 23, 2014, 6:00 PM EST

    Brad Keselowsk AP

    The Charlotte and Texas brawls from this year’s Chase are still resonating weeks after they occurred.

  3. Marcos Ambrose wasting no time gearing up for V8 Supercars return in Australia

    Nov 23, 2014, 5:17 PM EST

    Marcos Ambrose is back home in Australia and already back in a V8 Supercar, preparing for his first race in two weeks. (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Marcos Ambrose is wasting little time in his return to racing V8 Supercars in his native Australia.

  4. Virtual insanity: Meet the Chevy Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo

    Nov 23, 2014, 4:30 PM EST

    Los Angeles Hosts Annual Auto Show Getty Images

    A wild concept collaboration for Gran Turismo 6 between the Bowtie and famous race car builder Chaparral.

  5. Petty’s 1988 Daytona wreck sold as prelude to upcoming auction of NASCAR Hall of Famer Cotton Owens estate

    Nov 23, 2014, 3:53 PM EST

    (Photo courtesy Greenville News) (Photo courtesy Greenville News)

    The remains of Richard Petty’s crashed 1988 Pontiac Grand Prix from the 1988 Daytona 500 sold Saturday, a prelude of an even larger auction of late NASCAR Hall of Famer Cotton Owens on Dec. 6.

  6. After thrilling title finale, NASCAR withdrawal now setting in

    Nov 23, 2014, 2:30 PM EST

    Ford EcoBoost 400 Getty Images

    This weekend is the first without a NASCAR race since mid-July.

  7. Abu Dhabi GP Paddock Notebook – Sunday

    Nov 23, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    For the last time in 2014, we round up all of the action in the paddock as Lewis Hamilton became Formula 1 world champion for the second time.

  8. Force India rallies to double points score in Abu Dhabi

    Nov 23, 2014, 1:30 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Qualifying Getty Images

    It’s not enough to beat McLaren in the constructors’, but a great result nevertheless for Hulkenberg and Perez in Abu Dhabi.

  9. Lotus’ Twitter hilarity powers through a challenging Renault sendoff

    Nov 23, 2014, 1:15 PM EST

    MaldonadoAD Getty Images

    Lotus laughs rather than cries after a fitting end to its challenging 2014 season.

  10. Button top-five caps off end of what could be several eras at McLaren

    Nov 23, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    ButtonSignoff Getty Images

    We know McLaren and Mercedes are done. But what of Jenson Button and/or Kevin Magnussen?

  11. Ricciardo stars once more, from pit lane to fourth in Abu Dhabi

    Nov 23, 2014, 12:45 PM EST

    RicciardoAD Getty Images

    Quite a drive from Daniel Ricciardo, primarily aided by start on primes.

  12. Vettel thanks Red Bull for “incredible journey”

    Nov 23, 2014, 12:15 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi Getty Images

    After winning four world titles with Red Bull, Vettel is bound for Ferrari in 2015.

  13. Prince Harry and David Cameron congratulate Hamilton on F1 title

    Nov 23, 2014, 11:45 AM EST

    Mideast Emirates F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    On a great day for British motorsport, Prince Harry and British Prime Minister David Cameron send their congratulations to Hamilton.

  14. Alonso rates time with Ferrari as 9/10, finishes P9 in final race for the Scuderia

    Nov 23, 2014, 11:30 AM EST

    Mideast Emirates F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Alonso is set to join McLaren in 2015 after five years with Ferrari.

  15. Rosberg gracious in title defeat, says Hamilton deserved championship

    Nov 23, 2014, 11:15 AM EST

    Mideast Emirates F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    An engine failure cost Rosberg the chance to emulate his father and become F1 world champion.

  16. Williams double podium caps phenomenal comeback season

    Nov 23, 2014, 10:56 AM EST

    ADpodium Getty Images

    Second and third for Massa and Bottas caps an incredible 2014 season for Williams.

  17. Hamilton calls second title victory “the greatest day of my life”

    Nov 23, 2014, 10:13 AM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-ABU-DHABI-PODIUM Getty Images

    British driver wins his second F1 championship in Abu Dhabi as title rival Nico Rosberg fails to finish in the points.

  18. Hamilton clinches second F1 world title by winning Abu Dhabi GP

    Nov 23, 2014, 9:45 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi Getty Images

    An engine failure for Nico Rosberg leaves Hamilton free to win the race under the lights in Abu Dhabi and clinch his second world title.

  19. GP2: Coletti wins final race of the season in Abu Dhabi

    Nov 23, 2014, 8:30 AM EST

    © GP2 Media Service © GP2 Media Service

    F1′s feeder series comes to a close in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

  20. GP3: Stoneman and Niederhauser close out season with wins

    Nov 23, 2014, 7:45 AM EST

    © GP3 Media © GP3 Media

    The third tier single seater series comes to a close in Abu Dhabi, with Alex Lynn winning the championship.

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (1948)
  2. J. Johnson (1877)
  3. D. Hamlin (1750)
  4. J. Logano (1738)
  5. T. Stewart (1689)
  1. K. Kahne (1611)
  2. J. McMurray (1525)
  3. R. Newman (1446)
  4. K. Harvick (1399)
  5. A. Almirola (1246)