Munoz feels Andretti/Foyt and Honda/Chevrolet differences

Just one race into his career at AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet, Carlos Munoz says he's still learning to adapt to both a new team environment and a different engine supplier.

Munoz feels Andretti/Foyt and Honda/Chevrolet differences
Carlos Munoz, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet
Carlos Munoz, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet
Carlos Munoz, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet pit stop
Carlos Munoz, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet
Carlos Munoz, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet
Carlos Munoz, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet
Carlos Munoz, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet
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Munoz, who made a startling IndyCar debut for Andretti Autosport at the Indy 500 in 2013, qualifying and finishing second, earned his first win in a wet Detroit race in 2015, and took his first pole at Texas Motor Speedway last year.

However, a move from the Honda-powered Andretti team coincided with AJ Foyt Racing switching from Honda power to Chevrolet, and Munoz says that there has needed to be a period of adjustment for all parties.

“You can’t just adapt to a new team from night to day,” the Colombian told Motorsport.com. “It takes longer than that. And also that’s true for the team to learn to adapt to the Chevy package. It’s quite different, setup-wise. We didn’t start great at the Barber test… but that is what testing is for.

“In fact, Barber is tricky because you can leave the test happy and then you come back for the race and it has completely changed so you struggle. And vice-versa. Last year for me it was like that. I was terrible in the test and then we came to the race and we were quick.”

Munoz was one of only three Chevrolet-powered drivers – the other two were Penske entries – to reach the Top 12 on the grid at the 2017 season’s opening round in St. Petersburg. While he said the difference between the engines is hard to discern, Chevy’s methodology is welcome and different.

“It’s difficult to tell the difference between the Chevrolet and Honda; maybe because I changed team and also aerokit, so it’s harder for me to feel the big difference between manufacturers engine-wise. The Honda engine felt really good, but for sure Chevy is working really hard.

“There are good and bad parts to both, I think. The thing I like about Chevy is that they help all the teams, and they help a lot. Everyone has the same thing. So if Penske try something that is faster, that’s going to be given to us. For smaller teams, that makes a big difference. Honda was more team-focused, where everything you find as a team stays within the team.”

On the subject of his new working environment, Munoz said he felt his value as a driver was higher at Foyt.

“The atmosphere in the team is different at AJ Foyt Racing, although both teams work really hard.

"At Andretti I really enjoyed my time and got on really well with the people, but being here in the 14 car you feel like all the attention goes to you. At Andretti, I felt like Ryan [Hunter-Reay] was the driver – and that’s fair enough, he won a championship and Indy and so on. At Foyt I feel more important.

“Now I try and bring everything that was good at Andretti and apply it to the Foyt environment but it still takes some time. But I think it’s going to be good, I really do.”

 

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