Tweets of support flow in for Jourdain from IndyCar community

3 Comments

It’s hard not to feel for Michel Jourdain Jr. this Monday. Jourdain was the only driver who failed to qualify for this year’s Indianapolis 500, as he battled an ill-handling car all week for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Jourdain is one of the nicest, most genuine people in the IndyCar community, and he has been a great friend for many of the veterans from his full-time years spent in CART from 1996 through 2004.

He won twice in the 2003 CART series, driving for Bobby Rahal, and finished third in the championship, ahead of such luminaries as Sebastien Bourdais, Alex Tagliani, Oriol Servia, Jimmy Vasser, and then-rookie and current IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Indy has bitten some of open-wheel racing’s most successful drivers in qualifying. Just since 2008, the year of open-wheel unification, race winners in CART or the IRL who have failed to qualify include Hunter-Reay, Mike Conway and Patrick Carpentier (2011), Paul Tracy and Jaques Lazier (2010), Tagliani and Buddy Lazier (2009) and Mario Dominguez and Max Papis (2008).

It was no surprise, then, that tweets of support flowed in for Jourdain throughout Sunday and into Monday from the veterans who raced against Jourdain in his full-time years and a year ago at Indy, when he made a comeback to the 500 after a 16-year hiatus.

  • Dario Franchitti (@dariofranchitti): Please spare a though for our friend @MichelJourdain who through no fault of his own missed the race toady.. Feel bad for him and his team
  • Sebastien Bourdais (@BourdaisonTrack): @MichelJourdain I feel for you bud. You didn’t deserve that. I hope to see you around soon and back next year.
  • Scott Dixon (@scottdixon9): @dariofranchitti @MichelJourdain feel really bummed for ya mate! Your a top man!
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay (@ryanhunterreay): Feeling for @MichelJourdain, keep your head up buddy. Not much you could’ve done. You’re only as fast as the horse you’re riding.
  • Graham Rahal (@grahamrahal): Good day for us, bad day for our team. Feeling for @MichelJourdain. His car simply wasnt right. I drove it w/ my setup and it was terrible.
  • Jimmy Vasser (@jimmyvasser): Well said RT @dariofranchitti: Please spare a though for our friend @MichelJourdain who through no fault of his own missed the race toady..

F1 2017 driver review: Esteban Ocon

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Esteban Ocon

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 31
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P5 (Spain, Mexico)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 87
Championship Position: 8th

A shining star in Mercedes’ junior programme, Esteban Ocon vaulted fellow youngster Pascal Wehrlein in the pecking order to secure a seat at Force India for 2017 – and boy, did he live up to the hype.

Ocon arrived at Force India with half a season of racing under his belt after his outings with Manor late in 2016, but wasted little time in settling in, scoring points on debut in Australia after winning a thrilling three-way fight with Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso.

The Frenchman spent much of the year close to teammate Sergio Perez – even if things did get a little too close in Canada, Baku and, finally, Spa, prompting the team to introduce team orders – and impressed the entire paddock with his displays.

While no podium was forthcoming, Ocon was often leading the midfield fight, enjoying three straight finishes ahead of Perez from Japan to Mexico. Given how well Perez is rated on-track in the paddock, to have convincingly beaten him in such fashion did a lot for Ocon’s reputation.

The term ‘Oconsistency’ also came into F1’s dictionary as he set a new record for consecutive finishes from his first race, with his retirement in Brazil ending the streak at 27 grands prix. It was also his first retirement in a single-seater race since the 2014 Macau Grand Prix.

The highlight moment arguably came at Monza, though, when Ocon stuck his Force India third on the grid through torrential rain in qualifying. While he would drop to P6 at the checkered flag, the display nevertheless cemented his place as one of F1’s rising stars.

Mercedes rates Ocon very highly, and with Valtteri Bottas’ future beyond 2018 already being questioned by the paddock, a good season could see the youngster move on up to the top table of F1 for 2019. His progression in the next 12 months will be fascinating to keep track of.

Season High: Lining up P3 on the grid at Monza after a rainy qualifying.

Season Low: Clashing with Perez in Baku, costing Force India a possible podium.