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July 18, 2014

Simon Pagenaud


THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll continue with today's media availabilities.テつ We are joined by Simon Pagenaud with Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports, driving the No.77 entry here on the streets of Toronto.
Simon started and finished fourth in the 2007 Champ Car race, making his fifth start on the streets of Toronto.
Simon, you never finished worse than 12th here, a fairly strong track for you.テつ Take us through practice today.
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Yes.テつ The track is slippery.テつ I mean, it's always a challenge here in Toronto with the difference of tarmacs.
Practice went well for us.テつ It's important for us to do well.テつ Oculus, our main sponsor, is a Canadian company.テつ It's great to shine here in these conditions.
The car is beautiful, similar to Houston.テつ So a little bit more tuning to do, but I feel very happy, very confident so far.
We've followed the program to the book, so all is good.テつ Just need to tune it a little bit more. テつA bit more form for qualifying, and I think we'll be in really good shape.

Q.テつ You've obviously driven here several times before.テつ If you had to point out any part of the track that's particularly challenging or fun to drive on, what are some areas you'd point out?
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ I recall it's very challenging and fun to drive because you're on the edge of control basically.テつ The bumps make it so you're dancing with the cars, and it's very difficult to get your braking point on par with what you want to do.
Sometimes you go too deep and the bump upsets you, upset the car, and it's way too deep.テつ Sometimes you go just like a few feet earlier, and it's way too early.テつ So it's a very difficult window to be on and to ride on.テつ That's what makes it so challenging.テつ It's very narrow as well, and the difference of grip makes it fun.
I would say turn 1 is certainly the most challenging because of braking, and there's a big bump in the braking.テつ You get to midcorner, and it narrows up.テつ So you have no margin for error.テつ The last corner, turn 11, is very fast, and that's fun.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for Simon?

Q.テつ I saw a quote from you this week where you said that last year you came here to Toronto and you expected to dominate, frankly, and you had a really disappointing weekend.テつ How were you able to bounce back and come out strongly?テつ Do you view this weekend with the double points and everything as very important toward your Championship aspiration?
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Yes.テつ Well, you know, after Houston, we had such a strong weekend, we just showed up with exactly the same package.テつ It was that simple.テつ It was too hard to do anything else because the car was so good there.
Luckily it worked.テつ We had to make a few changes to adjust to this track.テつ That's how we bounced back from anything that happened last year.テつ I think last year we had a lot of issues with our brakes.テつ It was a difficult weekend.テつ We really never had a proper run.テつ It was a nightmare.
So it was inside, in‑house, that we needed to do some work.テつ So we ironed all of those details, and I think now we have a very different approach.テつ Obviously, we go to each race with the will to win, which is very different‑‑ we had the will before, but we didn't, I would say, believe truly that we could do it.テつ Now we do.

Q.テつ Thoughts on or concerns about the reconfiguration of pit out?
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ No.テつ I think IndyCar has done a good job.テつ Despite what's happening, it's a street track, so you need to adjust to the situation and whatever is happening in the city.テつ It's pretty cool actually what's going on here with the ancient stuff that they found in the ground.
So it is what it is.テつ I think, you know, every driver has struggled to be cautious to each other, but we'll try.テつ We all know where it gets narrow, and I think it will be all right.

Q.テつ Simon, as we come to the close of our doubleheader events this season, this is event number three on the schedule, if you looked back on it for you personally, how would you describe that format and how it's worked for you and for the team?
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ It's an interesting thing.テつ It's a love and hate situation, I think.テつ Love because, when you have a bad day, then the next day you can have another race and bounce back like we did in Houston.テつ In those situations, it's fine.テつ It's nice.
I guess my first win in Detroit last year, we did the same thing.テつ We had a bad weekend on Saturday and good weekend‑‑ good day on Sunday.テつ So those times are good.テつ It's very physical, especially Houston was, because of the heat, for the crew, for the drivers, for everybody, to do two races in two days.
But I guess it's great for the short.テつ As long as the fans are happy, I'm happy.テつ That's what we're here for and adjust.テつ But certainly, it's very demanding.

Q.テつ Can you explain, if there's another place to pass besides going into 3, I guess going from 1 into 2, is there any place that it would be possible to pass someone?
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ There is turn 5 in the area that you can try.テつ It's risky.テつ It's a little bit risky, but it's doable.テつ It's tight there, but it's doable, turn 5.テつ On restart especially, you'll see people going side by side to 3 and side by side to 5.テつ That's where there's some action.テつ That's where you complete the pass usually.
THE MODERATOR:テつ And just for the record of the transcript, the question is where are good passing zones here on the streets of Toronto?

Q.テつ There's been quite a lot of road work going on Downtown Toronto, specifically, not the lanes that involve the track directly on the back straight because they were done a couple of years ago, but sort of around that area, brand new asphalt has been laid down.
So there's sort of going from 1 to 2 there's very old asphalt, concrete, and then brand new asphalt, and then sort of two to three‑year‑old asphalt.テつ Are you noticing any significant changes as you go through that?
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ I would say, I certainly noticed, before turn 1, the asphalt, then you go to concrete, midcorner 1, there you really notice it.テつ Honestly, it is like an ice patch on the road, if you hit an ice patch, for those who have the experience of that, that's exactly how it feels.
Then you land on asphalt again on the exit of 1, and then it's gripping again.テつ I noticed those three changes, but that's it.テつ You don't really feel it in the straight.
As long as you don't need to brake, it's easy.

Q.テつ In a points championship, you focus on what you can do as opposed to what the other guys can do, but Hunter‑Reay picked himself up off the mat last week, and now he's really seriously in it again.テつ How concerned are you about him from now until the end of the year?
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Well, you know, that's a good question actually.テつ In my position‑‑ and I think that's the way I take things‑‑ you can put pressure on yourself if you want to, but what's the point?テつ What's going to happen is I'm either going to win the championship or I'm not going to win it.
So the goal is obviously to win, and I'm going to try to focus as hard as I can on my stuff.テつ My car is fast.テつ It's been fast lately, and we're in good shape to do it.テつ Now we need to execute, and that's the most important.
Whatever Hunter‑Reay does, whatever Power or Castroneves do doesn't really matter this point.テつ It's about us and fighting to get the best out of ourselves.
If we do, we've been up front lately.テつ So we should be, and we'll be good in points.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Simon, thank you.テつ Good luck tomorrow.
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Thank you.

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