Jones feeling both pressure and confidence at Ganassi
Ed Jones has acknowledged he's felt an increase in pressure by joining one of IndyCar’s greatest teams but says he’s focused on taking full advantage of the vast resources available at Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda.
The IndyCar Series sophomore who won the 2016 Indy Lights championship made a surprise switch from Dale Coyne Racing last fall, and yesterday completed his first day of testing with Chip Ganassi’s legendary team at Sebring.
After more than 120 laps of the bumpy airport/road course, Jones said that he is feeling a greater degree of expectation at his new ‘home’, but that he’s prepared for it and working hard to take advantage of everything on offer.
“There’s always going to be pressure,” he told Motorsport.com, “but I can’t change that – I can only focus on myself and prepare myself in the best way possible. So at the end of the day I’m doing everything I can to use all the resources around me to work towards winning races.
“That’s the way it’s got to be. I can’t do anything more than give it my all, and that’s what I’m doing.
“I really am trying as hard as I can to optimize all the things that are available to me and take advantage of the knowledge of those around me. Julian Robertson, my race engineer, has a huge amount of experience and has been in the team a long time. And now he knows what I like from the car, and I know how he wants me to deliver feedback.”
Comparing the Ganassi team with Coyne, Jones said the primary difference was simply in resources, particularly the size of the workforce.
“The commitment from the personnel in the two teams is the same, the hard work is the same,” he said. “But at Ganassi we have more people so each of them can focus on fewer roles but go into everything in more detail. That’s the difference. It’s not in the desire to succeed: that’s the same throughout the paddock, I’d think.”
Jones, who will next week be driving on the Honda simulator, said that although he and four-time IndyCar champion teammate Scott Dixon do have notably different driving styles, he was happy to discover that the setups they wanted on from the 2018 cars had been remarkably similar.
“We do drive differently,” he said. “As everyone knows, Scott seems to like the car sliding, a bit loose, and I like to drive more smoothly. But I was quite surprised because actually in terms of setup, we were moving toward the same ideas. We actually wanted the cars quite similar, and some of the things Scott wanted were things that worked well for me too.”
Like several of his rivals, Jones has been disappointed by how few test days were available to teams pre-season – “It’s fair to say that everyone is going to arrive at St. Pete underprepared. I understand they’re trying to keep testing to a minimum, but I think it’s crazy how limited it’s been, especially in a year where we have a new car and there’s a new data system.”
Jones will test at Sebring again on Jan. 24, followed by two days at Phoenix in IndyCar’s Open Test. His next test day after that won’t come until after the season’s opening round at St. Petersburg.
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