CHAMPCAR/CART: Edmonton: Friday press conference, part 2

Continued from part 1 Q: Sebastien what makes Turn 7 so tricky? SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It was six for me. I lost the car in six. I think right now it became a lot harder today because we had the tailwind. So the car maybe, you know, I...

Continued from part 1

Q: Sebastien what makes Turn 7 so tricky?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It was six for me. I lost the car in six. I think right now it became a lot harder today because we had the tailwind. So the car maybe, you know, I got a gust and it took off on me. I mean, I'm just assuming.

GRAHAM RAHAL: Although, I mean, seven in its own is slick.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah.

GRAHAM RAHAL: I got wide once, just like six inches or something, and the car just did not want to turn. I mean, if you watch the race from the last year, it's the same thing. You don't have to be very far off, but if you are, you're done. It's so easy to hit there.

It's easy to lose it in six really, and most of the people you see that spin, it's usually caused by something in Turn 6.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: But if you want to look for an explanation of what's going on in Turn 7, you just look at the other side of the fence, behind the wall, and you're going to get your answer. It's just a dirt pile over there. Basically when it rains, it looks like all the water is bringing all the stuff on the racetrack. And the track, before it re-rubbers in, is really slick on the line. And then the problem is it becomes really different between the line and the side. So as soon as you put one wheel off the line, you're done, which is what pretty much happened to me the first year over there. I just missed the line by a bit and that was that.

SIMON PAGENAUD: Basically the same. If you're a little bit off, you're going to go in the wall straight. I think that's maybe what happened to Tristan. I didn't see the accident.

I mean, on my part, I don't have as much problem as these guys apparently. No, I mean, it's a tricky corner. It's maybe the slowest one, but this is where you can really destroy the car. So you have to be careful even in the slow part. So that's why this track is very tough for everyone.

Q: Sebastien, talk about your F1 test.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I mean, nothing's changed. Obviously I'm really happy that I got to drive Formula One at Spa. If there's one place you want to be testing, it's over there. It's a great track. It was an awesome feeling. I had a ton of fun.

Doesn't matter really from now what happens, I got to drive it there, so it's great (laughter).

No, more seriously, nothing's changed on the status.  They're still due
to give us an answer by the end of July.  That still stands.

Q: Can you guys talk about the standing starts.

SIMON PAGENAUD: Well, as said Sebastien, the problem is it's creeping so it's hard to say if you do a right start or a false start. So at the moment, we still have this problem, everyone.

So, I mean, basically I think we all just trying to do the same and try to take off correctly. But, you know, we've got so much horsepower that it's really hard to avoid any wheel spin. But on another part, it's really good because it makes a good show for the fans. It spread the field before the first corner a little bit more. I think it's a little bit safer. And, as I've said, you've got a little bit more passing. So I think for the fans it's a little bit better.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Just to complement that, basically the problem why we stall is because when you put full power, you're going to spin the wheels forever, and the car stands still and nothing happens. And so basically you're trying to start on the fine line between building the boost and not building the boost. And without the boost, you only have about 300 horsepower and you're trying to spin wheels about that big, so that doesn't do it. So it's either the stall or you're trying to limit the wheel spin, which then you take chances of stalling the car.

GRAHAM RAHAL: I mean, it's different, you know, obviously than Formula One or anything like that. You're kind of fighting an uphill battle, as Seb said with the turbo, right? Because if you do spin the wheels and you lift, then you stall, right? So whereas Formula One, with the naturally aspirated engine, all the other controls they have, it makes it a lot easier. So here is comes down more to driver feel and stuff like that.

At the end of the day, I think it's been pretty successful so far. I'm hoping not to jinx myself here. But, I mean, I've had a lot of fun with them. I mean, I think it's good for the fans at the end of the day. I mean, it is tight. You know, I mean, with the cars being as long as they are, it's difficult when you get them all -- you know, if someone were to stall, it's tough to get around. But it's exciting and it's fun.

Q: Simon, is there a reason why both you and Will Power stalled at Mont-Tremblant?

SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, basically it's what we tried to do. I don't think we're doing anything special, or if we are, that time it didn't work at all (laughter). No, on my part, I don't know exactly what we did.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Will was just trying to protect himself from the backing up and things like that.

SIMON PAGENAUD: So on my part, I just tried to control the boost, but apparently I didn't do it enough and I just stalled. So it's still not very clear about what happened, so we're still trying to understand to avoid it to happen again. And it's basically a reason why Toronto was not a very good start for me, because we are trying to avoid stalling. So we took a very cautious start and we got caught because of that.

But I think we're going to look at the data even more this weekend and try to get a better start. But for sure Will had a good start in Portland, so we'll have good data for that.

Q: Do you use a different gear ratio with rolling and standing starts?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: On the rolling starts, you don't really start in first. You start in upper gear, second most of the time.

Q: Is it a different gear ratio?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Maybe, but we would have to kill you if we tell you (laughter).

GRAHAM RAHAL: It becomes more important, it does, to make sure that you have the proper gear. Because if you had like -- I mean, you could do it either way. If you had like a super long first gear, because you never use it, well, that just isn't going to work, right? You'd just stall it. It depends on the track and stuff like that, but it is different.

I'm not telling you anything (laughter).

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: See, we can't tell you (laughter). Sorry.

Q: The standing starts seems to have cut down the incidents in the first turn, are they less or more dangerous at some track?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, the problem is, we were supposed to have two car lengths between the rows in the rolling starts, but every now and again you would find someone just tucked in there. So obviously if it's a rolling start and everybody gets bunched up, it just becomes stupid and so packed up that it's impossible.

But if it had been that everybody was respecting the car lengths that were supposed to be enforced, it would have been no different. But, yeah, it's just easier to police on the standing start because obviously everybody start with a gap and it's established so everybody is the same.

GRAHAM RAHAL: It actually does seem to cut down on first-corner incidents. Even in Atlantic, I mean, when we did it in Atlantic, I mean, if you're going to have any rookie mistakes, it was going to be in that series, being that everybody was so young. It just never really happened once we started standing starts.

Q: With the track being wide like Cleveland will there be more cones and where will they be placed?

GRAHAM RAHAL: They have cones sitting out there on both sides, and that's pretty much it. The way you see it is the way it is.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I think it's really wide coming off the chicane, I think. But then after that it funnels kind of back. It's got the curb on the right side and you've got the cones on the left, so there's only so much room. You've got to go on the left of the curb anyway.

GRAHAM RAHAL: It's not as small as Cleveland, though. You know, Cleveland, they take the cones and really make something that's huge not so huge. And here it's still pretty open.

Q: Is there anyplace on the particular course where you have to be particularly courageous?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Courageous or stupid?

GRAHAM RAHAL: Or both (laughter)?

Q: Where you have to keep your foot flat but your mind is telling you you've got to lift.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, I don't know. I mean, the fast chicane, for sure, it's one place where you're like, Oh, yeah, sure it's going to be flat. You get in there, first lap, shit, it's not flat. Second lap, no, it's not flat. You try and you try and you try. Sometimes you do it. I think I've done it like once or something.

It's really just -- the cars are so aero sensitive, you really need kind of the nose to go down. It's not that hard. When the car is going full throttle and you turn, it kind of wants to go straight, not turn. So it's quite hard. But this and turn nine.

GRAHAM RAHAL: Turn 9.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Turn 9, there's a big, big bump right at the turning point, so it makes things quite interesting.

GRAHAM RAHAL: Especially for us coming out of Atlantics, the amount of speed difference is huge. So it makes it even tougher.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys, very much.

-credit: ccws

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Will Power