CHAMPCAR/CART: Denver: Friday top three press conference, part II

An interview with Adrian Fernandez Christian Fittipaldi Tony Kanaan Part 2 of 2 Q: How is the actual grip level of the track coming up? Where it goes from pavement to concrete, how is that part of the grip? Is there anyplace to pass other...

An interview with
Adrian Fernandez
Christian Fittipaldi
Tony Kanaan

Part 2 of 2

Q: How is the actual grip level of the track coming up? Where it goes from pavement to concrete, how is that part of the grip? Is there anyplace to pass other than turn five?

Tony Kanaan: I would say the grip level, it's zero. It's the worst it's ever been.

Q: (Inaudible)?

Tony Kanaan: I don't think so. It's a little better than this morning. Why we put the new tires on, it's because I didn't believe the track would get better at the end. Maybe it will get a lot better tomorrow. From this morning to this afternoon, and to begin this afternoon, that was worse than this morning. I don't know if I made a change in my car that was worse. But definitely for me was a struggle.

Adrian Fernandez: Was not much difference between the morning and afternoon.

Tony Kanaan: Exactly. Places to pass, people are going to make a lot of mistakes here.

The real one, it's the hairpin, but I think you can pass anywhere because people are going to keep on locking rears and trying to go hard on the braking, going to miss and overshoot. I would say, to be honest, I can't feel the difference between the cement and the asphalt. It's all slippery. And the paint, as well. They paint some curves. You try to go around, it's even slipperier than before. The grip level, it's zero.

Adrian Fernandez: It's a new venue. We have the same problem. I would say it's little bit like Mexico but more bumps because it's a street course. Mexico, they basically paved the whole thing, so it's more like a permanent road course in a way.

You just have get a rhythm because between the slippery and the bumps, there is not much there. You know, if you tend to out-brake yourself, it's very easy to lose the rear. You can see from a lot of people doing that.

You braking is very important. Sometimes you I think you might brake a little early. Sometimes it's earlier than late because there's just no grip on the rear.

Merrill Cain: Christian, anything to add?

Christian Fittipaldi: No. Those two said it all. They said enough.

Q: Will you guys have any say so about where the race starts? If they start it in one, it looks tight. If they start it on the backstretch, where it's wide, 12 wide, 14 wide.

Christian Fittipaldi: It's a Catch-22 situation because I think if we start on the front straightaway, maybe people can take it a little bit easier. There is probably going to be less passing going into Turn 1. But everyone's going to try to survive coming out of Turn 1.

If you start on the back straightaway going into the hairpin where it's pretty wide, you can be sure that there are going to be a couple of guys out there that are going to bang into the corner. I don't need to say what's going to happen.

Probably if we go on the other side, it's going to be more exciting. But 90% sure we're going to have a yellow on the first lap. If we start on the start/finish, it's going to be more conservative. Although it's a lot narrower, I think that we can make it through the first turn without a problem.

Adrian Fernandez: I agree with Christian. I think driving the track, yesterday I thought it probably would be better to start on the back. But driving the corners, especially coming into that part, braking, it's not easy. If you come in, it's very easy to make a lot of mistakes. It's very easy to try to want to brake more.

I think the back part probably could cause more accidents than the front straight. But that's just a guess.

Tony Kanaan: This morning when we spoke, I told you I felt the back straightaway would be safer. But I agree with Christian's point of view. I think everybody's going to be extra cautious. It's no different than Houston if you look at it. Obviously in Houston we started on the back straightaway. You give us room, we're going to try to go. I think it's safer to start in the front straightaway.

Q: Adrian, what about your physical condition? As bumpy as it is here, is it causing you any problems?

Adrian Fernandez:  Not really.  I mean, I'm getting better every week.  A
week from Montreal, I'm getting better.  In Montreal, on Saturday I was
having some pain on the fractures.  But it's getting better every weekend.
I'm stretching every day.  Just patience basically.  I took all the drugs
and everything.  I'm drug-free now.  I can pass the test now (laughter).

Q: The old race here 10 years ago, at the end it was a very tight track. Because of the altitude, there tended to be a problem with overheating in the race. Obviously you haven't been able to run sustained laps and so far. Any kind of indication if that will be an issue and what you'll have to do opening up the cooling? What about brakes? Is that looking like that might be a problem, as well?

Tony Kanaan: I think everybody's concerned about cooling. We definitely made some changes with this track. I see brakes as a big issue. I mean, obviously the engine cooling, the engine department people will take care of that. We're going to make some changes to cut to make this car run cooler. We have the biggest brake ducts we can possibly have, the most cooling we can have. We're already having some brake issues. So I think everybody's going to be extra cautious.

In the race, running behind people, you tend to run hotter. It's going to be a problem, definitely going to be a problem.

Q: Would you say, talking about how slick it is, that this track is as slippery or more slippery than Mexico was the first year, at Monterrey?

Adrian Fernandez: No.

Tony Kanaan: No. No, it's not, definitely not. Not the first year, not at all.

Christian Fittipaldi: I think what Tony said, with all the cars running pretty hot, if you make it to the end on Sunday, you have a very good shot at, believe it or not, winning the race. I think it's going to be wide open on Sunday because, as everyone knows, engine heating, brakes, plus the bumpy track, and just braking a little bit later, sliding a little bit, hitting the wall.

I think it's going to be one of those survival and mental races. You just have to keep running, set your pace, believe it or not. Although it's a pretty tight track, no matter where you start on the grid, obviously the guys that are going to start up in the front have an easier time, but even if you start in the back, you have a shot at winning the race.

Tony Kanaan: Even the runoff areas are not forgiving here. You can lose a lot of times if you run to those. Some tracks we go, you can turn around and go. Here, you lose at least 25 seconds. I depends where you go. Who is going to make the last mistakes, save the equipment, has a huge shot to win the race.

Christian Fittipaldi: Tell Chris Pook that Tony forgot to shave today (laughter).

Tony Kanaan: I already told him that.

Merrill Cain: Thank you very much. Good job today. Good luck in the second round of qualifying tomorrow.

-cart-

Top three press conference, part I

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Christian Fittipaldi , Tony Kanaan , Chris Pook