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IZOD IndyCar Series: Iowa Corn Indy 250

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Iowa Corn Indy 250

IZOD IndyCar Series: Iowa Corn Indy 250

Helio Castroneves
June 22, 2012


THE MODERATOR:  In the second starting position for tomorrow's race, Helio, the heat race qualifying format, what did you think?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  I like it.  But I don't love it, as much as I like it, if it makes sense.  No, just an internal joke between myself and Will Power and Ryan Briscoe.  Hopefully we don't see that in the end.
No, I guess, you know, honestly, the practice, in practice it was a little bit more risky than actually the race, the heat race, because you really take a chance on not knowing what other guys are doing.
But, you know, I think if you had to do that again, maybe we should do a qualifying one lap or two laps, whatever, to determine where you're going to go for the heat, if it's 30 minutes or 45 minutes, everybody out there.  So this is the only thing I would have probably suggest.
But other than that, you know, it was okay.  Certainly 30 laps, I believe it was enough.  It was still getting tough out there.  I was able to make‑‑ we were able to pass Marco, but kind of not enough time to catch Dario.  There was not many cars out there that could catch draft.  But for the first time, like I said, it was positive, in terms of trying, and certainly if we are going to do it.

Q.  To do a true heat race format‑‑ and slugging it out a little bit, is there some incentive‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ do you just like a 30‑lap racetrack?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Good question, honestly I don't know.  People should discuss more this format, or they should discuss that more, brainstorm a little bit more, so that we can get examples and try.  I don't know if that would have been the right thing.  I'm not sure about the tires, how those two guys would have done it and things like that.
But in the end of the day, like I said, I'm happy that we tried, and we should keep discussing and brainstorm other possibilities so that it can be becoming better and better.  I don't know if we are even going to try different ovals.  But for sure here, it's a bit different and, well, I'm trying in the front row and that's what I care about.

Q.  Inaudible.
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Well, I think everybody is using their heads, as well.  The heat race, it's not a race, which we should do that, as well.
But again, in that particular time, I feel that there was not many cars around, eight cars, so that gives space enough for everybody to have clean air.  So when you have 20‑something cars, it's becoming much more turbulent and it becomes a little bit more difficult to do it.
Plus, now, in this configuration with fast cars, some of the other guys were trying a different setups and trying to go faster‑‑ in some laps, time, so it was the first time.  And for some of the first cars running in front, at that point would be running backwards the setup.  It was a good practice for the race tomorrow, and to understand your car.  So that's probably why there was not many incidents.  It was like a little bit of a practice instead of an actual race, so we are better understanding that.

Q.  We are going to see obviously a very different track atmosphere tomorrow.  Do you think there is really a lot that you can apply from today?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  That's why only being 30 laps, that's at least an indication how it's going.  But you're right, our cars are very sensitive to the weather.  It changed quite a lot, and that could be an interesting factor for tomorrow.
But again, at the same time, you're going to have two times‑‑ well, many more, 20‑something more cars out there that I‑‑ as I said, even you start a little bit on the front, depending on the front (ph), I think the real deal what it's going to be tomorrow, but at least it gave you some direction, even if the weather is hotter.

Q.  It seems like in past years, some cars had a little bit of trouble between the bumps between turns one and two.  How did it feel?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  It did improve, the bumps out there, it did improve.  The tracks guys did a phenomenal job to minimize.  But for our cars, it's still quite difficult.  And not only that, the outside is also a little bit bumpy, as well.
Hopefully I would also give a suggestion so that next year, trying to put the same work that we did, but a little more aggressive on the bump so that you can create‑‑ which we do have it, but at least we can experience a different type of downforce and things like that, so that we can ‑‑ it will be more challenging.  Right now the bumps are still there, but it was a better change so far.

Q.  So now you know what the tires feel like on the first 30 laps of a run.  What will you see the next 30 laps on the next set of tires?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Traffic.  Obviously we didn't get any traffic out there, and that for sure is going to be a big part of it.  And that's where‑‑ we are not going to run 30 laps without traffic; about 15 laps when it starts traffic, and that, for sure, will change a little bit again.
I believe it will be much more competitive, yes, because, for example, when you have that big of a gap, Dario, I guarantee, when he gets the first guy or the second guy, closer than that, it will change.

Q.  I know the 2 car has more downforce‑‑ what about not having that little wicker on the back, is that something you want to have or is it just right?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Right now it seems to be good.  It seems to be good in the fact that probably as the tire goes away, and difficult to pass, but in terms of different set ups you might send out, I don't know.  I can't answer 100% sure how will that be.
One thing I say, the tires did a good job.  The tire does have a lot of grip, and took the downforce off, it does have a change on the handling of the car, about 30 laps.  So I would say that that's insane, with the way ‑‑ more traffic, more cars, you're going to‑‑ I don't know if that will be the right format, but we will try, I don't know yet.  I will tell you after the race is over.
THE MODERATOR:  Helio thank you so much for your time today.  Appreciate it.

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