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IZOD IndyCar Series: Indianapolis 500 Bump Day

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Indianapolis 500

IZOD IndyCar Series: Indianapolis 500 Bump Day

Takuma Sato
May 23, 2010


THE MODERATOR: You've been on the podium here at Indianapolis on the road course. This has been a very interesting and trying experience for you. But you're here. Tell us about it.
TAKUMA SATO: Right. It was such an amazing day after having the big moment yesterday.
First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for supporting me and the team that did such an outstanding job to build back in the car in one piece.
In the morning, back in the cockpit, I felt really comfortable and happy with it, of course. Two laps to take and get back into speed, but was immediately on the pace, so I was very pleased. And launch time was a bit lost because it was such a temperature and the speed dropped a lot, so we didn't make it in the big time, in the qualify. But we just settle, came back on the day and set up the car just gradually but steadily.
Then the last one and a half hours was the real challenge, throwing to a lot of new tires and bringing up to speed, just the buildup the things. And I was very pleased particularly in the last half, it was a real kill, qeueing back and forth and team's communication. Pit, one tire, whatever, whatever.
But I'm so pleased that the team did such a great job really, the car felt great and was so pleased to have made it and qualify today under such difficult circumstances.
So I was here -- like you said, I was here a couple of years ago in F1, and I know Indianapolis is such a historical place and the fans were so energetic. I know Indy 500, it's so pinnacle, the racing, and now I'm directing the proper direction to go into Turn 1, and probably I don't understand 100 percent for what it is like for Indy 500 simply because I haven't experienced it on Sunday, the race day.
But I'm getting the feeling already the great excitement, even the qualify today is such an amazing feeling. So I can't imagine on a Sunday afternoon. But we'll be here and really looking forward to it.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Takuma Sato.

Q. As a newcomer to this race, the series, that last half hour, those who have been here a long time had no idea what was going on sometimes. Did you get confused? Did you know who was in and why and who was pulling out?
TAKUMA SATO: Well, it was -- honestly with you, it was a little confusion. But I was calm, because simply the engineer knows what to do.
And his voice was very calm and everything settled and under control. I know the mechanics and back and forth and all the things happening, but I could understand we wanted to try every setup and to make sure we got -- build up the good car for the qualify up until the last minute.
And I know the time is clocking and time is getting really tight on the last 40 minutes. So but once we joined the queue, you just have to go for it and I know I have to do it. And the level, the down force, hasn't been practiced so far, but a couple of low drags for the qualify for the last half an hour helped me some good idea and I got a good feeling in the green flag lap and I made it. So I really enjoyed the lap.

Q. You've got a lot of experience in Formula 1 and now you've come over and running the IndyCars. Can you compare the two cars? Which one is more fun to drive?
TAKUMA SATO: Oh, I think it's a difficult question. I mean, so many ways it's different. Fundamentally, cars -- it's quite different whether it was good or not or bad or fast, it doesn't matter.
I mean, the feeling is such a competitive. I think the competition level between Indy and the Indy Series is the same. The engineering skill, the environment also, it's really impressive.
Just a philosophy is different. Formula 1 you have to design by yourself as a team, from even the bolt and nuts. You design everything, manufactured by yourself. For the whole build stuff. That's why you need 800 people to build two cars.
And the way you operate it was different. Here IndyCar is a bit different. It's like sort of one makes it at the moment, in one engine, one tire, which isn't -- from a development point of view, it's not as challenged as F1, but from the sporting point of view this is the series for the competition, because if you look at the overtaking and maneuvers and side by side, just the competition level is so high, top 20 cars is always in second, always. And the level of the driver is so competitive.
So you just can't simply compare. But know about the racing in IndyCar series is a lot of fun.
THE MODERATOR: Questions? Hearing none, welcome back to Indianapolis.

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