IndyCar »

Pagenaud: Aleshin will fit in well

Simon Pagenaud is looking forward to building on a strong 2013 season with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, particularly with a hard-charging IndyCar rookie alongside.

IndyCar regular Simon Pagenaud believes new Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team-mate – and series rookie – Mikhail Aleshin will make a comfortable transition to US-style open-wheel racing.

The Russian joins Frenchman Pagenaud in a two-car line-up for 2014 having finally turned his back on the pursuit of an F1 seat that saw him bouncing around the various European feeder series for the past five years. Aleshin has already tried an IndyCar on both road and oval courses, and Pagenaud believes that he will adjust well to his new surroundings.

“Mikhail is used to driving powerful cars and used to being in big teams, so I think there will be a lot less adjustment for him, although he has to learn how to drive on ovals, which isn't easy,” the Detroit and Baltimore race winner commented, “He's taken a great approach. There are so many challenges with IndyCar, so many details, but he has a lot of talent and he's really smart, and I think he'll fit in well with us. He's already helping us with feedback….”

Pagenaud is gearing up for his third season with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, and admits that is looking forward to building on a strong 2013 campaign with a team previously seen as something of a plucky underdog.

“I feel really comfortable in this role,” he insisted, “I've proven what I can do already, although I want to extract more out of myself. The team is pushing really hard, and people don't see how much work my guys are putting in. I can tell you they're working hard at making this car a championship contender for this year. It's a very exciting prospect. I'm relaxed and focused and happy to be starting soon.”

The IndyCar race season does not kick off until the end of March, with the opening rounds on the streets of St Petersburg, but Pagenaud admits that there is still a lot of work to be done before then.

“The twin turbo engine changes a lot of things so it's important to test with it and also tune it for everybody basically,” he explained, “It has a different behaviour and it's important to that relationship with the HPD engineers and try to understand how to extract the best out of that engine and make the twin turbo work well. It's very encouraging the work we've done so far. [At Sebring last week] we were working mostly on drivability - making it more or less aggressive when you step on the power.

“Sometimes you want to focus on your driving a little bit more instead of doing so many different technical changes, but testing is all about making the car comfortable for yourself, making it as fast as possible and then you focus on your driving when it's time to be on your 'A' game.”

Even if he has yet to test himself in the Schmidt Peterson car, Pagenaud managed to get some vital track time to shake off the rust during the recent Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“I actually had 24 hours to work on my driving, to work on my skills, because you drive and there's nothing you can do to the car,” he revealed, “I enjoyed driving the HPD prototype. It was a great way to kick off the season and a good time.”



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Simon Pagenaud leads Scott Dixon through the chicane during the Grand Prix of Baltimore on Sunday September 1 2013. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud celebrates victory in the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT on Sunday September 1 2013. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Pete Howard for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin - Tech 1 [Pic credit: Renault Sport]
2011 GP2 Asia Series Driver Portraits. Mikhail Aleshin, (RUS Carlin). Portrait. [Picture credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service]
The podium winners of Carlos Munoz, Marco Andretti, and Simon Pagenaud accept their trophies in the Belle Isle Media Center after the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit at Belle Isle Park - Saturday May 30 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
The podium of Carlos Munoz, Marco Andretti, and Simon Pagenaud with their trophies following Race 1 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit at Belle Isle Park after the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit at Belle Isle Park - Saturday May 30 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The podium of Carlos Munoz, Marco Andretti, and Simon Pagenaud accept their trophies following Race 1 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit at Belle Isle Park after the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit at Belle Isle Park - Saturday May 30 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, celebrates his third-place finish Saturday, May 30, 2015, during the the first of two Verizon IndyCar Series Chevrolet Belle Isle Dual In Detroit races this weekend in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, races to a third-place finish Saturday, May 30, 2015, during the the first of two Verizon IndyCar Series Chevrolet Belle Isle Dual In Detroit races this weekend in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Simon Pagenaud and Tony Kanaan enter Turn 7 during practice for Race 1 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit at Belle Isle Park (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson resplendent in the Rolling Stones livery for the #25 Andretti Autosport Honda in pit lane on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Friday May 22 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson resplendent in the Rolling Stones livery for the #25 Andretti Autosport Honda on track on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Friday May 22 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)

Start 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.