IndyCar » 30 May 2007
Q&A: Will Power - EXCLUSIVE.
After claiming rookie of the year honours in 2006, Australia's Will Power made a storming start to the 2007 Champ Car World Series campaign by winning on the streets of Las Vegas to sound a warning to the established frontrunners.
He told Crash.net Radio how it felt to break his duck so early in the season, as well as discussing the new Panoz and bringing Team Australia to the fore.
Will, it's been a strong start to the season for you?
Yeah, but it's not been unexpected though. We've been really quick in pre-season testing and, at the end of last year, the team was really strong. Over the last four races, they were right on the pace and, especially the last two you know, with pole in Australia and a podium in Mexico. Although Derrick Walker has been around for 16 years, Team Australia has only been here for three years, but it's just got stronger every year. We thought that this year was a good year to really attack it because everyone is starting with the same car - and that's what we're doing.
The new Panoz has levelled the playing field, but how much easier has it made it for a team like Team Australia to get on a par with the likes of Newman/Haas?
We had the Lola pretty sorted out at the end of last year, but we still had to work hard to get the new car running well, to be ahead of everyone else. As you can see, Newman/Haas is still really strong, mainly because they've got such good resources, so we're up against a similar thing this year. Those guys, by the third race, were once again becoming dominant. But we're working hard still. We're doing a lot of development in this break and a couple of test days, so I think we'll be strong all year.
Is it a question of finance when it comes to competing with the likes of Newman/Haas?
It is a question of finance, but it's also the amount of data collected over the years, and the continuity of people on their team. They've had the same guys for years and years and I think that's a big deal in racing. If you're working with the same engineer for, say, four or five years - as Sebastien [Bourdais] has - and have the same guys working on your car, I think everyone bonds a lot better and you just can't beat that experience.
So to come into the new season and take your first win in Champ Car, how did that feel?
That was good, a real strong start - but I didn't really celebrate or anything as it's such a long season and you've got to keep your head and be performing like that in every race. You don't want to win the first race and then slacken off. So, it's great to get it out of the way, and great to get the points, but, as soon as I was finished with that race, I was looking to Long Beach and the next race, to do the same thing. But I must say it was good for Team Australia to have won a race at the start of the season, especially for the sponsors and everything.
And presumably it raises morale all round?
Yes it does. Everyone's on it. People on the team just love working with someone who's going to win races, or has the potential to do so, and this year we have a really strong team. I have a really strong team-mate, Simon Pagenaud, and it's a really good combination.
How surprised have you been at Simon's performance, given that he's come up as Atlantic champion? He's been pretty much on the pace from the start of testing...
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