Tim Cindric, president of Team Penske, believes that the different driving styles of Josef Newgarden, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud can make all three of them – and the team as a whole – stronger in 2018.
During a recent interview with Motorsport.com, Josef Newgarden remarked that IndyCar’s new aerokit had magnified the differences between the three Penske drivers.
However, Cindric, who also calls strategy for Newgarden, thinks that a wider range of preferred setups can eventually benefit the team.
He told Motorsport.com: “If the differences between them are slightly greater now, I’d like to think it would make us stronger over time.
“All three of our drivers are adaptive enough to learn from each other’s styles and I hope that translates into them being able to figure out how to go quicker. It’s an open book at Penske, so our guys can take a theoretical lap time – using each of their best sectors – to see where a certain technique might benefit them to be even quicker.
“So I can see the bigger differences between their styles actually being a benefit. Teammates who all drive the same probably won’t open their eyes so wide to where they can recognize how to get through a certain corner a little quicker.”
Comparing Newgarden this time last year – about to start his first race for Penske – with how he is today embarking on a season as reigning champion, Cindric said the difference now is that Newgarden knows how he fits into his environment.
“I think last year Josef came into our team with plenty of confidence in his abilities,” he said, “but didn’t really know how those abilities would translate into success within our team. It’s a different environment, a different situation, and so I don’t think he really knew what to expect in terms of integration.
“Now he has that transitional phase behind him and he has some continuity. There have been certain changes within his group of people, and obviously the car is different so he’s heading into a season with something that will require a different driving style, so that’s an unknown.
“But I think he’s earned the respect of not only our other drivers but also the other people on our team. He’d shown potential before, particularly on ovals, but hadn’t really had a lot of success – outside of Barber [Motorsports Park] – on the road courses. Last year he proved that he was worthy of the title of all-around driver, and he was a worthy champion.”