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February 18, 2014

Simon Pagenaud

THE MODERATOR:テつ We have Simon Pagenaud.テつ
You've talked about consistency in qualifying, et cetera.テつ Your thoughts about 2014.テつ What specifically needs to be stepped up?テつ
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Well, I think 2014 is about to be an incredible year.テつ I'm very excited about it.テつ I know everybody's working really hard, every team, every driver, so the level is going to be even higher than it is last year.テつ
As a driver you know that during the winter.テつ It's about finding what you can improve of yourself to come back and be stronger, what to do to basically be faster is the key.テつ
The race team, on their side, is working at adjusting the chassis with the new Honda twin turbo engine.テつ We think and we have gained power.テつ It's a matter of adjusting that power delivery to the rear tires.テつ
So it's been interesting to be able to develop the engine with Honda.テつ I'm very glad to be part of it.テつ Very proud actually.テつ I think we're about ready for the start of the season.テつ
The last two tests have been good in Sonoma and Sebring.テつ We've been more competitive than we've never been in Sonoma, so I think that's a good point.テつ We just need to tick some boxes before the season starts.テつ
I feel a lot more confident, a lot more one with my car than I was last year.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Your relationship with both with Honda Performance Development, American Honda, and the Acura programs dating back to the ALMS days, talk about that relationship and how it's given you opportunities and affected how you view the series you run in.テつ
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Yeah, I think I've been very lucky and very grateful toward Honda for the opportunity I've been given.テつ When I was in Champ Car 2007, there was a decision that needed to be made on my career whether I was going to stay in sports car or try IndyCar for the rest of my career.テつ The truth is I had no opportunities in IndyCar at the time.テつ I turned towards sports car with Gil de Ferran and I had a great opportunity with Acura.テつ They really that helped me develop as a racecar driver on the technical side of things.テつ Sports car is an all open book.テつ There's so much you can do working on the engine, working on tires, working on the aerodynamics.テつ Being a teammate with Gil was a big page of my book.テつ He was a teacher explaining me everything he's seen in his career.テつ
Then Honda was a great help because they hired me to be on that program and they kept me on that program for many years until 2010.テつ When I told them at the end of 2010 that I would be interested going IndyCar racing, it took a year and a half and they made it happen.テつ
Obviously we needed some help with Sam.テつ Sam made it happen and here we are.テつ I'm just very proud to be part of that development program.テつ I mean, I love all the technical aspects of racing.テつ So being involved in engine development is something I'm really into.テつ It gets me a thrill about the sport.テつ
I think IndyCar is where I want to be for the rest of my career, to be honest.テつ I love the series.テつ I love the competition.テつ I love the venues.テつ I love the Indy 500.テつ I want to excel at it.テつ I want to be better and win races and win championships.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ You made the first test of the twin turbo engine for Honda at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.テつ Is there a point where you can now look at that and see what type of progress it has made?テつ
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ There's only so much I can say, you can imagine.テつ But it has been interesting.テつ It's been very interesting to go through the steps of development.テつ
Obviously as a driver what you focus on the most is drivability.テつ You want to make the engine easy to drive and competitive at the same time.テつ We've been working on making that possible.テつ Obviously tuning up the turbos was different than tuning up the single turbo.テつ That's something we've been very diligent and understanding.テつ
We worked on that.テつ It was interesting.テつ It certainly evolved at every test we've gone through, which is thrilling from a driver point of view.テつ
Reliability has been, I mean, awesome.テつ We haven't had any issue, so I guess that's a really good sign.テつ

Q.テつ Looking at the statistics of your own career, you've improved.テつ The wins haven't come in bulk yet.テつ From your perspective, what do you have to do to make that jump to champion?
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ From my standpoint, you need to look at who I was fighting against last year, for example, how many years I was here.テつ That was only my second year.テつ Then oval racing, which I'm still learning about.テつ
Obviously I'd be happy to win 10 races a year, but nobody has done it so far in the last two years.テつ I think the level of competition is so high, there's so many factors that come in during a race, it's not comparable to Formula One, it's a different kind of racing.テつ
There are so much strategy going on, there are so much restarts, so many things that come into play.テつ It's what's interesting about IndyCar.テつ
From my standpoint, I can always be more focused.テつ I can extract more out of myself by doing that and understanding myself more.テつ I think I can still react better in some situations.テつ That's what I'm working on.テつ
I can't say too much because Briscoe is here (laughter).テつ
But, no, mentally certainly I realize as an athlete, not just as a driver, there's a lot of things that your brain doesn't allow you to do, and my goal is to just open those doors and make it happen in any situation.テつ

Q.テつ You'll have a new teammate this year.テつ Talk about how that all fits together with the team working as one unit.テつ Will it change on the track having new people?
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ I don't know.テつ I know my relationship with Mikhail started off really well.テつ We've been able to establish great trust.テつ I think that's what Dario and Scott Dixon used to do really well.テつ I think that should be the example.テつ Mikhail has experience.テつ He's been driving in Formula One.テつ He brings a lot of fresh blood and other experiences, which is always good to hear.テつ
When you race in one series for many years, you tend to forget what's outside, what's good about the outside world.テつ So he brings that.テつ He's very down to business, very professional.テつ I think he's a great addition to the team.テつ
I think we both understand to make ourselves better, we need to make our cars better together, and that will elevate the team, therefore that can elevate us.テつ We both understand the same thing, which I think is a big plus and will certainly help us this year.テつ
As for the others, I don't know.テつ We'll see on the racetrack.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Simon Pagenaud, thank you.テつ
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Thank you.テつ

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