IndyCar »

Franchitti looks ahead to 2012

After wrapping up his fourth IndyCar championship in 2011, Dario Franchitti has no intention of slowing down or easing up anytime soon.
"Do I want to win another championship? Absolutely," Dario Franchitti told reporters at a media event just before Christmas, confirming that he was "looking forward to giving maximum effort to try to be successful again next year ... to get the best out of every week."

Coming off a third consecutive championship-winning year, Dario could be forgiven for thinking he had now 'got the hang of it' and knew just what it took to win the title, but instead he pointed out that it just became harder and harder to stay on top: "There's the fragile thing between getting it right and getting it wrong," he said.

"There are a lot of very good teams and drivers that are a little bit upset, shall we say, that we've been hogging the championship trophies, and they're going to come back stronger and harder next year. We're going to have to fight harder than ever to compete against," he continued. "The only thing I can look forward to is giving maximum effort to try to be successful again next year, to, again as we said earlier, get the best out of every week."

He insisted that every season was a rollercoaster ride, no matter how many previous titles one had in the bag. "Each one is a little bit different," he said. "The ups and downs ... the way the season ebbs and flows, I think one thing I've learned is to keep a very open mind.

"There's not been a point in any of these championships where I thought, 'Yeah, we've got this,' or on the other side where, 'We're out of this thing,'" he continued. "I've just kept an open mind and tried to each week, each moment in the car, just get the most you can, make that next pass, make that next move. That's kind of the way I've dealt with things, trying to keep it balanced, not to get too crazy excited when we had a big points lead or get too desperate and upset when that lead eroded or we were behind.

"That seems to have worked very well,' added the master of understatement. As well as his three back-to-back titles, Franchitti also won the championship in 2007: only a brief dalliance with NASCAR in 2008 prevented him from making a defence of his title in that year as well. Instead, it was his team mate Scott Dixon who triumphed that season.

For his team boss Chip Ganassi, it's the driver who plays a crucial role in the team's overall success.

"Dario said, 'Get the most you can' - I think the best thing about having Dario as the driver is that 'get the most you can' doesn't mean on the first lap or at half the distance," he said. "That's the thing about a championship driver: He understands when to get the most you can. Getting the most you can in the first 10 laps doesn't mean much toward the championship. That's what some of these young drivers have to learn. Last time I checked, they give away all the points at the end.

"That's what I like about having a veteran driver that has a nose for the finish, knows every day you're not going to have a perfect car," continued Ganassi. "We've had times we haven't had a winning car but we got the most out of it, though. That's what it takes. It's getting the most out of your car on days when it's maybe not the best car out there ... Getting the most out of it when you don't have the best car, not be scraping it off the fence, is the true mark of a champion in my eyes.

Ganassi suggested a comparison with another great open wheel racer, Alex Zanardi: "He had this great ability to transform himself Friday night and Saturday to an all-out racer on Sunday. I would say Dario does the same thing. He's not the mad scientist. He's very anal or cerebral about it on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday he turns into this racing guy. In that way he would be similar to Zanardi.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
15-21 MAY, 2010, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing`s Dario Franchitti, Indy 500 Winner with Chip Ganassi and milk.
Scott Dixon on track during Friday Practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 20. [Picture credit: Ron McQueeney for IndyCar Media]
Team owners Chip Ganassi (middle) and Roger Penske (right) talk at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with the managing director of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Mike Hull (left.) [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
Dario Franchitti at Motegi. [Photo credit: IndyCar Media]
Will Power and Dario Franchitti in pit lane at Kentucky Speedway. [Picture Credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media]
Ganassi team mates Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti watch Danica Patrick practice from the pit wall at the Milwaukee Mile - June 2011. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Target Chip Ganassi Racing Team Owner and Nine-Time INDYCAR Champion Chip Ganassi and Four-Time INDYCAR Champion Dario Franchitti with the IZOD IndyCar Series World Championship Trophy. [Photo credit: LAT Photography]
Scott Dixon with his Coca-Cola Chevrolet following practice for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday April 25 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon waits on pit lane prior to practice for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday April 25 2015. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon waits on pit lane prior to practice for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday April 25 2015. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon rolls down pit lane during practice for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park  on Saturday April 25 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon streaks down the frontstretch during practice for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday April 25 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V-6, celebrates his victory Sunday, April 19, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach in the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium as Juan Pablo Montoya (l to r), driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar; Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Verizon Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V-6 and Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet V-6, celebrate Saturday, April 18, 2015 after finishing third, first and second in the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach through the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 pumps his fist as he crosses the finish line, winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, April 19, 2015 in the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to victory Sunday, April 19, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach in the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon lead the field into Turn 1 during the start of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday April 19 2015. (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon enters Turn 3 during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday April 19 2015. (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.