Justin Wilson teleconference 2008-07-16, part 2

Continued from part 1 Q: And you mentioned good teams putting it all together. When they do that, all of a sudden they get on a hot streak. Is a hot streak like finding a magic and then all of a sudden it disappears? JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I...

Continued from part 1

Q: And you mentioned good teams putting it all together. When they do that, all of a sudden they get on a hot streak. Is a hot streak like finding a magic and then all of a sudden it disappears?

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I mean, it's -- when you get into that situation, I think it's a case of the driver, the engineer working really well together, and also they connect so you're able to use less words to understand what's going on. And that's where you can move faster, you can develop the car quicker, and you find a better setup quicker, and that also translates down to life is less stressful for the crew guys. They don't have to work as hard and they get more sleep at night.

It's all the little subtle things that just snowball and make your life easier and better.

Q: Final question that I asked Ana, too. You guys come from -- this is a foreign country to you, and you've got to make a lot of adjustments, plus make adjustments that you have to as a necessity of being a driver. What are the biggest challenges you've found in that way?

JUSTIN WILSON: I think it's a little bit easier for me speaking a similar language. There's still things I have to get used to, pronouncing "water" and "tomato" and things like that. I haven't quite got to that. But I have not found it too difficult.

I think the hardest thing is probably for my wife who gets to spend more time at home than I do. I go on the road traveling and go and see all these cool places, and she's sat at home. So that's the hard bit is finding something to occupy her and keep her motivated -- not motivated, but sane I think is probably the right word. She's used to working. She worked for a race team back in the UK and now she's not allowed to work. So that's the biggest challenge. But other than that it's pretty simple and pretty easy to get along here and enjoy your career.

Q: Can you go over the qualifying process and how different it is in this circuit than it was last year and whether it would be an advantage? I notice you've been right in the front for the two road races, an advantage for you or a disadvantage for you, particularly as it applies to the Edmonton track?

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, well, I really like the qualifying format we have for the road courses. I think it's probably one of the best we've come across. I think it's new for everybody to some degree this year.

But yeah, the way we have the shootout, so everybody goes out -- or everybody splits into two groups, so two groups go out separately, and the quickest six from each group moves forward to a third group, if you like, and it just -- the process of elimination that whittles it down and keeps the action going, but also, there's not too many cars on track so you don't have all the excuses that drivers used to come up with of traffic and got their lap ruined by somebody else going slow.

So I think the format is really good, and you get to see the final six drivers really go after it and try and put their best lap together in the last five, 10 minutes of the session.

I really enjoy it and hopefully they're going to keep that format for the future, because I think it works well.

Q: And what about as it applies to specific tracks, Edmonton, for example?

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I mean, Edmonton was always pretty tough, trying to get a good clear lap in in qualifying, because Turn 1 to Turn 9 was all one sequence. It might not look like it from the outside, but inside the car you never stop turning the wheel, and it's your timing, and somebody -- if you catch another car in that section, it'll ruin your laps by a large chunk of time and you can't overcome it.

It allows you to hopefully get a clear lap through that section and be able to advance if you're quick enough into the next one.

Yeah, I think it just results in really the quickest guys will find a way to get through and make it to that last session where the fans get to see a shootout between the quickest guys on that day.

Q: Does it not also give you a little bit more track time if you're in the top?

JUSTIN WILSON: It does, but at that stage your car is set and it's time to go. It gives you maybe one more run than some people, but in that run you're just trying to piece it all together. You're not really making too many adjustments. Unless you sneaked in, your car is what you've got, and you've just got to go out there and prove yourself again.

Q: And what about not having the provisional pole on the day before?

JUSTIN WILSON: I think, you know, it's different. I can see pros and cons. But ultimately I think this is the right way to go, having the practice session, time to think about it, and then moving forwards with the qualifying day. It puts more emphasis on the actual qualifying in my opinion.

Q: I'm wondering, what kind of relationship have you and Graham developed over the last eight months, nine months since y'all have been teammates? And how has it benefitted you?

JUSTIN WILSON: Well, I think it's been a lot of fun working with Graham (Rahal). He's young and enthusiastic and also very mature for his age. I really like him and get on well with him as a teammate.

We both feel like we're in this together and trying to make the most of the circumstances this year, and we both feel that we have to work with each other to move the car forwards and allow us to be up there competing for the win as opposed to battling down in 20th or whatever. And we feel we've made some progress, and there's weekends where I can help him out on his setup and there's weekends where he can help me out on my setup, and I think ultimately it's a good relationship.

Q: Take people inside. On a regular race weekend, how much are teammates, how much are you guys actually together? Are you only together like during the little engineering meetings? How often are y'all face to face talking about the car?

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, we're together in those meetings with the engineers. Obviously all the things we have to do, the drivers' meetings, the autograph sessions. But then also when we go back to the truck before and after a session, we're probably sitting in the same little room waiting for the session to start or talking about certain things about the car between ourselves.

We're used to spending a fair bit of time with each other, so it actually helps when you like the guy you're working with.

Q: The funny thing about it is you guys are both trying to win, like you look at teammates. But just an honest question, are you ever in conversation with a teammate and you don't tell him everything you know because you still want an edge somewhere?

JUSTIN WILSON: I've had that situation before in my career where you think, well, I know you're not telling me everything, so I'm not telling you everything. It's not a healthy situation for the team. Maybe if you're fighting out for first and second you could see where that comes into play, but right now, we need each other as much as anyone else on the team to help move the car forwards and get up there as quick as possible back to what we used to.

But even still, I find racing in the States is a much more open, much friendlier place than Formula One. In Formula One it didn't matter where you were in the grid, you didn't really say anything to your teammate and you definitely didn't try and help him in any way. It's just a different mentality.

And here you help each other, and if that guy is able to go out and go quicker, then he's just better. But if you're able to go quicker, then you're better. So it's just the way it is.

Q: Last thing, you were talking a while ago about not having the stick shift now and having the paddle shift. Y'all had paddles last year at Champ Car, right?

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, in the panel chassis we had the paddle shift.

Q: I'm wondering as a driver, this is a weird question, but does it make it a little more like a video game when you've got the paddles if you understand what I'm saying? Not that it's ever easy, but you've just got to get your foot on the gas and you've got your fingers on the paddles? Does it ever feel like a video game out there at all?

JUSTIN WILSON: I can see what you're saying, yes. I remember the first time I drove the Formula One car it was so effortless that it was like a video game. You had to step back and calm yourself down a little bit before you get carried away and realize that you can get hurt doing this.

With the Champ Car and the IndyCar, it definitely feels a little bit more surreal, but you don't have to work on the timing of the downshifts and the blip in the throttle and things like that. So that's made life a little bit easier, not quite as complicated.

But at the same time, because of that, we go deeper into the corner and you push it harder and you've got two hands on the wheel. It's a trade-off. You don't have to get that technique perfect anymore because you don't need it. But you then have just got to push the car in other areas.

MODERATOR: Justin, thanks again for giving us a call today. We appreciate that, and best of luck here in the next few races as we close out the season.

JUSTIN WILSON: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me on, and I hope, also, we can improve our results and get back on here and tell you how it was.

-credit: irl

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson