Will Power met with members of the media and discussed pre-season testing, expectations for season and other topics during the IndyCar Media Day.
THE MODERATOR: We welcome Will Power of Team Penske.
Will, just a little bit about how potentially the momentum of last year can carry over to this year and your objectives and outlook for 2014.
WILL POWER: That was an unusual finish to a season for me if you go off the last few years. Definitely had a good off-season and very motivated to have a good year.
We’ve had a couple test days with the three cars. Actually found some pretty good stuff. I feel as though we’re going to be pretty competitive. Kind of just working hard, not leaving anything on the table, not leaving anything to chance. You just can’t be lazy. You’ve got to work hard in this game if you want to continually be competitive. So that’s our plan.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Will, how is it different this year testing with two teammates? How is it with three cars?
WILL POWER: Just another car to give feedback and try things. Just more information.
With Juan, he’s had some good experience, good ideas. He’s obviously been very successful in Formula One. His experience in NASCAR, it’s kind of good having him there, for sure. He’s a guy that I looked up to when I was racing Formula Ford and he was in Formula One. Kind of cool to be working with him.
Q. Will, you and Helio got on along very well with A.J. What has the relationship been with Juan? Have you been able to adapt as quickly with him?
WILL POWER: Yeah. Juan’s obviously worked on a lot of teams before and understands how the whole thing works. Yeah, it’s worked well.
Like I said, he’s brought a lot of experience to the team and come up with good ideas. He’s already helped to point us in a good direction, along with Helio as well. We all kind of work together.
At the end of the day we all understand that we got to race each other on the track. During this testing time, part of the season, we need to work together and try things, find things that are going to help us be at the front.
Q. Talking to Tim Cindric last month, he mentioned the testing has not gone as well as you would like. What do you think is happening in early testing?
WILL POWER: Was that before Sonoma?
Q. It was.
WILL POWER: The test at Sebring, it’s kind of a hard place. It’s not a track that we run on. It’s probably a place you can try some unusual things and may not work.
I think we definitely found some good stuff.
Q. Last year was an unusual year for you in that you were not winning all the time. What did you learn about yourself last year?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I have to say I was a lot more relaxed in racing situations. I had spent three years being very conservative, feeling the points. Actually taught me you just need to race hard no matter what. At the end of the year, it was fun. You can just race hard, it does not matter. In fact, the results came a lot better when I did that.
It taught me a lot about racing, getting in the pack. When you spend a lot of time at the front, the restarts, you’re not in the pack. I feel that my race craft was really good by the end and I enjoyed it.
That’s how I’ll be racing this year.
Q. With the series having so many more street and road courses on it, how much does that kind of help set you up for a serious championship run this year having gone through the disappointments of last year?
WILL POWER: Like I said, I mean, it just taught me not to think about points, but just race hard and enjoy it. A lot of teams now are really compressed. There’s no one that sticks out. Obviously Ganassi was strong on the road and street courses last year. Every off-season, all these small teams, including us, you close the gap. The gap gets smaller and smaller.
It’s a different series or different intensity of competition, you could say, to what it was two or three years ago. It’s really ramped up. No one just takes all the poles. It’s quite difficult to get a pole, let alone get in the Fast Six now, which is great. It’s a good, tough series.
Q. Will, actually you started on the pole at St. Petersburg last year. You had your race craft toward the end of the year. Is putting those two things together one of your goals for 2014?
WILL POWER: Yes. I think if I raced harder at St. Petersburg, Helio would have never had gotten me around the outside. Joe would have never ran over me.
Q. How different do you think the Ganassi group will look like with T.K. there instead of Dario? Do you think Dixon will be a different kind of foe without Dario there?
WILL POWER: That’s hard to say. It’s the first time I’ve seen T.K. be quite serious in a press conference. He had the Target shirt on. He wasn’t joking around like the rest of us. He was dead serious. I don’t know.
I think he’s going to be really competitive. If you look at the four Ganassi drivers, they’re all really good. Briscoe, you can expect him to be right there in the championship, as well. And Charlie, he’s gained a lot of experience, won a race. He seems to be always getting in the Fast Six there towards the end of the year.
As a whole, that team is very strong. T.K. is obviously very good on ovals, too, which will probably bring something to the table there.
Q. What would we make of Bourdais? He seems to be fast in testing.
WILL POWER: Yeah, he is. He’s the quickest guy. It’s hard to know what they’re running. Yeah, I expect him to be a contender.
Weird last year, so competitive in 2012, he turned up, the tide changed a bit, he struggled, but then was there at the end of the year again. This guy is a four-time champion. And KV is a very good team. Resources and the money behind him.
Q. What is in the Penske files?
WILL POWER: I don’t know. Had to give a job interview. Thought I put it on strong, lots of information (laughter).
Q. You mentioned about the change in the tires throwing not just Bourdais, but maybe some of the other teams off. What about this season? Have you had a chance to work with Firestone? Have they made any changes? Do you have to start over again?
WILL POWER: Every year they tell us the tire is not different. The tire at Sonoma, the 2014 road course tire, better grip, so a better tire.
Those guys always doing a little bit of development. It’s a one-make tire, so not a huge amount of motivation to change it a lot.
Biggest change we felt was beginning of last year. I don’t think much is going to change this year.
Q. With Ganassi switching to Chevy power, how does that affect you guys?
WILL POWER: It’s just going to make Ganassi better, more reliable and better. Makes it tougher on us, for sure.
But it’s good to have them in the family. Four more drivers giving good feedback to help Chevy, help point us in the right direction. Plus they’ve had the experience of looking at some of Honda’s strengths, see if we can transfer it over to the Chevy side.
Q. Do you think they’ll share?
WILL POWER: They have to. It’s an open book with the Chevy guys. Everyone has the same. So, yes, we all have the same goal in mind: to make the engine the best. We’ll fight it out on the track then.IndyCar, Team Penske, Will Power