Sebastian Bourdais Cleared By Doctors to Race in IndyCar Again
His recovery has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Just under three months from the date of his horrifying accident in qualifying for the Indy 500, Sebastien Bourdais has been cleared to go racing again. Bourdais tweeted out the news late Wednesday night after getting the green light from his doctors in Indianapolis.
Bourdais had already returned to the driver's seat on July 31. He drove in a test at Mid-Ohio following the IndyCar race weekend at the track. Every step of the way, his recovery has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Following the May 20 accident, Bourdais tweeted out this photo of himself in the hospital two days later. Considering that just days before he hit the wall at over 230 mph, breaking his pelvis, hip, and two ribs, standing up is a pretty big deal.
Bourdais was discharged from the hospital on May 24 and was trackside at the Indy 500 on May 28. Since then, he has been through intensive physical therapy in both Indianapolis and his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida. Bourdais has been attending races to help his team at Dale Coyne Racing with his replacement drivers and then finally got back behind the wheel at the end of July.
Not too many years ago, his accident would have most likely been a fatal one. The fact that it wasn't is a testament to the safety innovations that IndyCar and other racing series have been developing for both the cars and tracks. Sure, Bourdais had access to the best care possible, but without a willful determination to literally get back on his feet, his recovery to form so quickly would not have been possible.
Had Bourdais not gotten back in the car at the end of July and decided that his goal would be to return to racing next season, no one would have questioned him. But that isn't what he did. Bourdais was bound and determined to race again this season, and he will.
Don't expect to see Bourdais in the car this weekend at Pocono or next weekend at Gateway. These are the last two oval races of the season. He has repeatedly said that that he will not make his return on an oval track.
While there really isn't much stopping him from racing this weekend, the logistics of getting medically cleared this close to the race weekend make it difficult to pull off. The team has been preparing with Esteban Gutierrez and it would be unfair to bump him at the last minute.
Next weekend's race at Gateway has been off the table for Bourdais since talk of racing again this season got serious. The series hasn't raced at the egg-shaped oval since 2003. Using this as a comeback race wouldn't be the wisest of moves. There are too many unknowns about how the cars will behave on the track to make it worth the risk.
Going back to Gutierrez and this weekend's race at Pocono; to have Bourdais race here but then sit out the following week is not ideal. It disrupts the team and preparations for each race. It's unfair to both drivers. There would be sponsor issues to sort out. It would just be an unprofessional mess.
Most likely, Bourdais will be racing again at Watkins Glen. The race is on September 3. The cars hit the track on September 1 for their first practice. We hope to see Bourdais out there on track doing what he loves. The season then wraps up at Sonoma on September 17.