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IZOD IndyCar Series: Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300

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Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300

IZOD IndyCar Series: Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300

Marco Andretti
Takuma Sato
May 5, 2013


THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started with our press conference. Congratulations on the results.
Marco, (in Portuguese).
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, I mean, I hope so. I think right now we're on par for a great season. This is what used to be the tough part of the season for me. We've been getting some decent results where I used to struggle, so I'm pleased with that.
We've just got to beat Takuma in Indy.
THE MODERATOR: Marco, (in Portuguese).
MARCO ANDRETTI: All I can say is I hope so. We have some good momentum going. But we've always run well at Indianapolis. Obviously it's a totally different ballgame being an oval. We just have to get a good racecar there. If we can't win, get another good result and keep the points going.
THE MODERATOR: (In Portuguese).
TAKUMA SATO: Yeah, I think today really showed our tremendous strength from the team. Everybody thought we didn't have the confidence to have the capable to challenge winning today. But we had really a good discussion overnight. In warmup, everything was okay. Had confidence through the race.
Really on-track performance was really good. The guys did again a brilliant job at the pit stops. We now carry the really good momentum the last two weeks.
THE MODERATOR: (In Portuguese.)
TAKUMA SATO: I think it's a bit more than that. It's a great feeling. Obviously the team stuck together. Even in the first two races we had a couple issues. We didn't quite have the results we wished. But we finished every single race as high as possible. That shows a really perfect race at Long Beach. Today was nearly perfect, too.
Really happy, happy with the performance. I think consistency now getting really good rhythm. So hopefully now carry really good momentum.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Takuma, can you explain what happened in the last turn. I think you had to brake earlier, then Hinchcliffe went and you go almost out of the track. How do you explain that?
TAKUMA SATO: Well, was running over a little bit, make inside open. Hinchcliffe make great move inside of me.
I had same tire last 35, 37 laps. Really much longer than we predicted. Tire having really hard time, really struggling on the grip the last laps. I really had to deal with a lot of things.
The last few laps was great fun from a driver's point of view. It's a real pity that I lost it on the final lap of the race on the final corner.
But that shows how we are competitive, how our series is really fun watching the race. I think the fans really enjoy it. I think the second place is highest place we could imagine.
Win would be great, but otherwise I really fought hard on the track today and I'm really proud of the whole team. The guys did a great job.

Q. (In Portuguese.)
TAKUMA SATO: Well, as I said already, I had a great-handling car. I was able to set a good gap. The last few laps, you know, I use the tire over 35 laps. I use the tire to overtake the guys. It's having a really hard time. The tire degradation was really tough on the last few laps. Compared to the guy like Hinchcliffe, I had much older tire, so that was downside that you could see last few laps. Plus, as I said, I had a slight issue on the brakes, which didn't help.
I think in the end I tried everything I could to defend. This is really good time for the strength and consistency from what we have.

Q. Last year was not such a good year for you, Marco. This year you started a lot better. This is your second podium of the season. I want to know what changes? Are you feeling more comfortable with the new car?
MARCO ANDRETTI: No. I used to overdrive the car. I was too aggressive with my style. It used to work against me.
So I really in the off-season focused on what I was doing wrong, and compared to Ryan who won the championship, I had the luxury of looking up against his data.
Really just focused on driving to the tire, getting the most that the car's going to give me.

Q. Marco, could you please explain the race, because you looked very strong in the end.
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, we obviously saved the new reds for the end. Also when everybody was on blacks the second-to-last stint, I was on used reds. The reds held up for me quite well because we had the balance pretty close. We looked like a hero for a few laps.
On the last restart I wasn't able to use the 'push to pass' because I needed it for the end and I lost a couple positions.

Q. (In Portuguese.)
TAKUMA SATO: Well, that's really down to me how much you use at the beginning. I was stuck in the middle of the pack, the 12th position. I really needed the 'push to pass'. I don't think I waste it at all. Every time I 'push to pass', I gain a position.
I had to be really focused to use it, to judge my timing. I had to use the 'push to pass' at the beginning myself to stretch the gap to get out. At the end of the race, as I said, I really struggled the last few laps so everybody come back. Really made it a tough challenge.
But we fought really hard up until very last lap. It's tough, but it was good fun and it shows the tremendous competitive in this series.

Q. Takuma, you had great results in streets and mixed circuits. Now an oval in Indianapolis. How do you feel in the oval circuits?
TAKUMA SATO: Well, to be honest, I don't know. I don't really know how the - how can I say - structure of the teams and strengths and speeds, because now we go to ovals which is completely different environment.
Having said that, the team is a long time preparations from the wintertime to get to the Indianapolis. So does everyone else. So we will see.
But fortunately we had one oval test a couple weeks ago, a month ago, at the Texas Motor Speedway. The engineers wanted to try to try a couple things last year, couldn't make it work. The team and I really agree. Hopefully the trend is showing going into the Indy 500.
We see how we build up for the month of May. I have great confidence of the team doing a great job at the 500.

Q. (In Portuguese.)
TAKUMA SATO: Well, we talking very different view, different circumstance to the 500. The last corner, you approaching high speeds as compared to here.
As you said, everybody is hunger to win and doing everything possible job. Obviously I said to everybody that I would do a challenge go for the win for the 500. Of course, it's slightly different approach, make sure I'm coming in at the very end of the race.
Hinch did a very good job today. We didn't make any mistake at all really. We felt it was a hard, competitive fight. I lost, he won, that's it. But given the circumstances today, very happy, very happy for the team, very valuable points. Last year third, this year second, year before raining, so come next year we will see.
THE MODERATOR: The race today was very exciting. It was an incredible race. I would like you both to comment how did the layout of the track help that happen.
MARCO ANDRETTI: I think it's fantastic. I think we put on a great show. The lead changes alone, but also the amount of passes is incredible.
It's a lot of fun for the drivers. It's not just follow the leader.
TAKUMA SATO: I totally agree with Marco. 2010 the race, the overtake was the highest number here. It shows the circuit layout is great for the overtaking maneuver. It shows you never know until very last lap. Today I came from 12th to second. On street courses, it's very difficult to overtake. But I think the Sao Paulo street course made a fantastic show.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you very much.
TAKUMA SATO: Thank you.

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