Simon Pagenaud and Will Power spoke with Motorsport.com about Penske's 2015 chances and their interesting past together.
The dynamic of a racing team can be changed with the smallest of variables moving by the smallest of intervals. The strength of an organization depends on its ability to adapt to change and improve with it, which is why what happened at Team Penske is showing how it is one of the strongest, if not the strongest Verizon IndyCar Series teams competing today.
I think between the four of us we’re definitely going to have a step ahead of people just as far as information
Team Penske campaigned three cars in 2014 but made an unprecedented move in the team's history by moving up to running four cars by adding Simon Pagenaud to its number 22 entry.
This change might cause some teams to struggle with adding a multitude of new mechanics and engineers to help run a car, but it might end up helping the team out more in the end.
One step ahead
“I think it’s a very strong team right now [and] it’s the first time we’ve actually had a session and we’ve been able to go back to the truck and download and look at each other’s data so I think between the four of us we’re definitely going to have a step ahead of people just as far as information when the new aero kits come out,” Will Power said.
Looking at teammate’s data will benefit Power and his slightly new teammate. Slightly new, however, because Power and Pagenaud were teammates in Derrick Walker’s team in Champ Car in 2007.
However, Pagenaud does have additional development experience. He drove for years in the American Le Mans Series, where chassis, engine and aero development were common, so his experience developing a car will help out nicely when the cars receive their new aerodynamic configurations for St. Petersburg.
“The experience I’ve had in sports cars helps a lot for sure, whether it’s on the engine side or on the aero side but a lot of the development has been done by Chevy themselves so there hasn’t been enough testing really for drivers to be very involved.”
Of course, there is a past between the two drivers, as Power and Pagenaud have had a couple of on-track incidents, the most notable being in Long Beach in 2014 where Power hit Pagenaud’s left rear, sending him into a tire barrier. Pagenaud recovered for a fifth place finish but the two have put their differences aside.
“It didn’t bother me, I was fine, that’s just racing, maybe he was a little bit more upset than I was. He was on the receiving end of that twice so yeah, he’s probably going to be a little bit more upset,” Power said.
“We need to work together and we know that and we know we’re probably going to be together for a long time so it’s better when it goes well, so we talked about it and we’re all good now,” Pagenaud said.
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is March 29th.