Tagliani feels FAZZT will be stronger in 2011
The 2011 IndyCar season opener – the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – is less than 90 days out and team co-owner Alex Tagliani can’t wait. The FAZZT team put in two test days at Sebring International in November with GP2 driver Ho-Pin Tung providing feedback from the cockpit. Expanding to a full-season, two-car outfit is being explored.
“You have to appreciate how difficult it is to compete in IndyCar, but with one year under our belts all these things that happened just shows the quality of the people on board,” Tagliani says. “As a driver, you believe in your capabilities and they give you the equipment. You drive and get involved to help as much as possible and see where that leads. This past year was different because we really wanted to make a statement during the season. We got what we wanted, were competitive out of the gate and then during the year we learned what we needed to learn.
“This year it would be proper to set a goal. Last year, because I didn’t know what to expect and what we were going to have, you never raced against those guys and teams, I didn’t set goals. It was race for race and what was happening. This season will be the first time since 2003 that I’ll have two years in a row of same engineer and we’ll have data from the tracks, and that’s a big advantage. I’m looking forward to it.”
“We started last year from scratch but we felt that we were a strong team, but everybody was on the same playing field because no one had been on that track,” Tagliani says of the street circuit in Sao Paulo. “It was nice to be competitive. That was the statement of the team. Internally, the team doesn’t have data from the past. I had never been on some of these tracks, so we’re going to go blind. I said, ‘OK, how did we do in Brazil? Oh, pretty good, so let’s put the Brazil setup on for St. Pete.’ Well, it’s not the same track and at the time people had more experience at that track than us.
“But we qualified seventh, so we started thinking OK we’re not that bad. We just missed the Firestone Fast Six by a half a tenth (of a second) so we should be OK. We finished sixth. From that point of view, now we wanted more, maybe too much. We were going race after race and wanted that win. Let’s make it happen.
“When you look at other races like Sonoma, where I had never been and we qualified fourth and the team didn’t have the data and we didn’t go testing the week before, every time we qualified well in the fast six who was there – two Penske, two Ganassi and us. That also was kind of an eye-opener and sense of pride.
“When we look back, it’s a shame we let some things slip through our fingers. Edmonton we lost a top 10 and Chicago we were in lead and ran out of fuel and got taken out on restart. All these little issues caused us to not finish in the top eight in the championship, which would have been kind of the cherry on the sundae like we started.”