Q&A with Mario Moraes and Robert Doornbos
An Interview with MARIO MORAES AND ROBERT DOORNBOS
THE MODERATOR: Welcome to today's Indy Racing League Q&A. We have two guests with us today: Mario Moraes of KV Racing Technology and Robert Doornbos of HVM Racing. First up is Mario Moraes. Mario, how is it going today?
MARIO MORAES: Pretty good. Right now in Miami it's raining a little bit, but everything is good.
THE MODERATOR: Mario is in his second season in Indy Car Series competition and his first for KV Racing Technology. He recorded his first top-five finish in his career with his fourth-place finish at Infineon Raceway last week.
Q. Mario, how good did that race feel to you after being out of the car for a week?
MARIO MORAES: Well, it was great to be back in the car. The last two weeks has been really busy for me, really hard to go through. But, well, unfortunately we had a problem going to the qualifiers, we make a wrong change. Then we come back for the warm‑up in the morning on Sunday morning, and the car was really fast, so we are really confident for the race.
And, well, I was just looking forward to the race, because I need to be really calm and just do what the car could do. And, well, I think everybody thought the car was really fast.
Q. How much confidence does a good finish give you going into another race weekend?
MARIO MORAES: Well, you know, I think the thing was waiting for this good finish for the whole season, you know. Unfortunately, we had some bad luck during the season. But, well, this has given me, made me much more confident, because, well, we go to the ovals and our car in the ovals is pretty good.
Q. As you said, you've been very quick on ovals this year. But sometimes the results don't show how fast and how well you've run. Do you think you'll can be one of the cars to beat?
MARIO MORAES: Well, like I said, our car in the ovals for qualifying has been really fast. For Indy we qualified 7th, and I think all the ovals qualified that we had qualified, we qualified in the top 10. So we could show the car is pretty fast on the ovals. But our setup for the race has not been very good. We need to work a little bit more so we can have a better finish.
Q. You're looking for better finishes on the ovals. What are your goals for the final three races? Do you think you can finish on the podium and maybe even win a race?
MARIO MORAES: I don't know win a race. Everything can happen in an oval. But for sure I think in the podium we can finish the last three races. We just need to have some luck and go forward.
Q. What are your thoughts on Chicago and the race this weekend? I know you finished 10th last year.
MARIO MORAES: Last year we finished 10th, didn't have a very fast car, but for the race we had an okay car. And this year I think it's going to be really good. I think we have a chance to qualify in the top 6. And if everything runs good, we can finish on the podium.
Q. What do you think about the aero changes that have been made for the ovals? Do you think that's going to help the racing?
MARIO MORAES: Definitely going to help the race, and push to pass has been helping all the cars. I think for the crowd and everybody, and make it more excited, and for sure going to be a good race.
Q. And after Chicago we go to Motegi; you didn't go there last year because you were at Long Beach. Have you heard anything about the track from any of the drivers?
MARIO MORAES: Yeah. I spoke with Tony (Kanaan). He said it's a hard track. It's not flat all the way around. It's different shape of ‑‑ all corners are different.
It's not like Homestead that you have the same type of corners. And he said it's really different because when you go to Japan, you're the different guy. It's not like here, you see a Japanese; he's the different.
There you're going to be the different one.
Q. And finally the season ends in your adopted home of Miami. You must looking forward to racing in front of your adopted hometown?
MARIO MORAES: Definitely I'm looking forward to the race in Miami. I think a lot of people from my family is coming. A lot of friends. And, well, the environment in Miami is great. So I think if we have a good finish in Miami it's going to be great for me.
THE MODERATOR: OK, Mario. That's all the time we have today for you. Appreciate you taking the time to call in and be our guest today. And we've now been joined by our second guest, Robert Doornbos of HVM Racing. Robert, how is it going today?
ROBERT DOORNBOS: Not bad. Thank you for having me. I'm in Indy at the moment hanging out with the team and adjusting my new seat.
THE MODERATOR: Robert began the season with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and moved to HVM Racing this month. He scored his first top-10 finish with HVM Racing at Infineon Raceway. Robert, how has that transition back to HVM been?
ROBERT DOORNBOS: It's great to be back with HVM. We had a lot of success together in 2007. That was in the Champ Car days and fighting for the championship and winning races. And obviously now in IndyCar things are a little bit different. It's extremely competitive out there and we know we don't have the fastest car yet. And we are working on that trying to get more sponsors and more money to develop the car. But it's good. It feels like coming home.
And for some reason it just didn't work out at Newman Haas. I put that behind me. I want to thank them for what they did for me at the start of the season. But it was just a very disappointing year.
So I thought I would change my fortunes and move to HVM and also here to look for the future, for 2010 I'll be staying here.
Q. You have a teammate at HVM, E.J. Viso, who has had some bad luck of his own this year. Do you think running with a teammate is more beneficial than being a single car team?
ROBERT DOORNBOS : I think for EJ it's definitely helped that I'm here. Single car team, it's very hard to find the limits and setup and performance of the car. So I proved straightaway when I came in what the car was capable and that we still have a lot of work to do to develop it and make it go faster. But we get along well. E.J. is a nice guy and it's his second year now with the team, and he's trying to get some results in like everybody else.
Q. You showed you were very quick on ovals earlier this season. As we said you've moved to a new team. Can you bring what you've learned at Newman/Haas/Lanigan to HVM and help elevate on the ovals?
ROBERT DOORNBOS : I think so. Like the oval, I did with Kansas and qualified on the front row and I was leading for a while. So it was a lot of fun. And Indy we were quite competitive and it's a different view of oval racing. It's very hard to set up the car still, completely different than what I learned over the years in Europe and Formula One. On the ovals, it's all asymmetric stuff.
I get good coaching from Arie Luyendyk. And he's involved and tries to speed up the learning process. And other than that we're just going to go for it this weekend in Chicago. It's another new oval for me like Motegi and Miami but I think we can be competitive in the mid field with some luck get a great result.
Q. You mentioned you work with Arie Luyendyk, who won two Indy 500s and was very good on ovals. What's the best piece of advice that he's given to you about racing on ovals?
ROBERT DOORNBOS : I thought you wanted to say best piece of advice about social life. But on ovals, he would say just the trick for any rookie: If you go into the light maybe you have more experience on what it's all about.
Racing on ovals straightaway with these guys who have done it for years, it was a bit of acclimation period and it's good advice, just different lines and what to do in different circumstances and lots to take in at once, but at least we can talk the same language and I can learn fast.
Q. You were in a pretty tight rookie of the year battle with Rafael Matos with the three races on the ovals remaining and his oval experience with Indy Lights. Does it feel like you can catch him and win rookie of the year?
ROBERT DOORNBOS: It would be great. He would obviously love to win it for his team and I would love to win it just to give some sort of highlight to my season. It's been a very tough year for me on and off the track. And you feel like you deserve it. But we have to work hard for it and we'll see where we get.
If his car is very competitive, it's going to be harder to close the gap because on the ovals you are limited to what the car's capable of. Just have to wait and see how good we are going to be and the race is all a different deal. You need some luck at the right time as well.
Q. At Kentucky, the last oval race, we saw a guy from a smaller team, Ed Carpentier, compete with the Penskes and Ganassis. Does that give you some hope with the changes made to the car, that a team like HVM can run up front and battle for podiums and wins?
ROBERT DOORNBOS: This gave me a lot of hope. It was really cool to see that it happened so well and of course his whole life he's been racing on ovals basically.
So that's why his experience is, he's on the road and street courses. He doesn't have as much experience as a European driver, for example.
But look very good, looked like the new rules suited some teams better than others. Hopefully, HVM has the same situation. Team-wise we're about the same size. And we'll be great if we can jam up to the front. I look forward to that.
Q. You list your home as Monaco. So basically this whole season has been a pretty long road trip for you.
ROBERT DOORNBOS: Unbelievable.
Q. You mentioned you're in Indy. This weekend race is in Chicago. And I saw you're going to Monaco and Amsterdam and Tokyo and Miami. Headed anywhere else in between?
ROBERT DOORNBOS: Yeah, I need to keep my fans updated on Twitter. But the whole year, I did underestimate a little bit the schedule IndyCar, going back to '07 when I was at Champ Car, with two contracts to fulfill racing at Champ Car and do testing in F1.
So I flew a lot back to Europe. And this year I thought I was going to do the same. But I had no time to do that. I've been spending time in the U.S. since March. I left my house in March.
It would be good if I could spend some time back in Monaco. It hasn't been empty. My apartment, my sister and friends love to use it over the summer. I made some people happy. I need to go back home and catch up on some stuff, and hopefully next year, make my base in the U.S.
Q. How do you deal with traveling so much? I know it's part of the lifestyle. But how do you deal with living out of a suitcase so much?
ROBERT DOORNBOS: Well, this was sort of extreme, speaking to other drivers as well. They were like, man, are you already, since March you're just traveling in U.S., sleeping in hotels. And I did go on a little holiday to Aruba.
But still it's every night in the hotel. Every night out to dinner and you do miss a little bit some sort of days and I think it's quite important and have that for next year.
For this year, OK, I was just orientating myself where to live. A lot of drivers tell me to live in Miami. Justin Wilson lives near Denver and he tells me, it's beautiful up there. It's hard to know.
Arie Luyendyk lives in Arizona, Scottsdale. I have to make a decision for next year. But I love being in the states. But I do like to have a home. I know all the hotels by now. I got cards for every hotel. They treat me very well but it's good to have your own little place.
THE MODERATOR: Best of luck.
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