Simon Pagenaud says Team Penske’s #22 IndyCar team has spent its off-season working on how to "execute" better.
The Frenchman joined Penske last season and showed regular pace with six front row starts - including pole at Fontana - but his best results were a pair of third places, and he finished only 10th in the championship standings.
He said: “[2015 was] a better season than it looked with the results. Performance was quite incredible, right away, right out of the box. The execution was our issue.
“But that's exactly what we worked on this winter – trying to understand how we could execute better – what to execute better and how. I'm super excited.”
Pagenaud, who scored four wins with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in 2013-14, went on: “I can only thank my crew, how much work they've been doing, making the car as nice as possible. I think '16 should certainly be a much better year for us. I'm excited and relaxed about it. ”
Pagenaud first raced in the U.S. in 2006, winning the Atlantic Championship with Walker Racing, and said last winter’s move from Indianapolis to Charlotte, N.C., to be near Team Penske’s base, had been a life upheaval.
He said: “Certainly it was a big move. I've lived in Indy for nine years. All of a sudden I lost all my connections and had to restart a new life. You don't realize it at the time when it happens. You think everything is settled and everything is going to go well.
“I have to say, the difference last year to now is huge, just because I've had time to settle down, I've had time to get my things in order. Now I don't have to think twice when I go to the gym which road to take. It's important for the comfort of life and preparation, as well.
He added: “It's the same with the team. I know who to talk to for what reason. That's a big difference!"
New calendar additions welcome
Pagenaud also said he was looking forward to both IndyCar’s first race at Phoenix International Raceway since 2005 and the all-new Boston street course.
Of Phoenix, where he will be testing next Monday, he remarked: “It's a legendary track for IndyCar. It's good to be back there.
“It's great to be on the West Coast as well – a fantastic market for us. And Phoenix is doing a great job of promoting the event… doing everything they can for all their fans to be interested in IndyCar. It’s important to have a track that can support us like that.
“I'm excited to test the new aero kit, and get a new try at the engine as well. We don't get much testing anymore. We decided to test mostly during the season, and it's been a long time without driving the IndyCar, so I’m pretty excited about it.
Pagenaud described the Boston street course layout as “beautiful”. He said: “It's got some fast corners, some really wide straights, some deep braking… and we're going under a tunnel. I hope the fans can go in the tunnel and hear the cars go by. That would be really cool.”