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IndyCar preseason: Tony Kanaan Press Conf. Transcript
Tony Kanaan
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Barber Motorsports Park and discussed working with Simona de Silvestro, expectations for the season and other topics. Full transcript:

ABOUT THE NEW SPONSOR THIS YEAR:  “We haven’t announced it yet, but we’re going to have a few new sponsors I think.  That’s what we need to do to survive.”

ARE YOU GETTING ALONG WITH SIMONA DE SILVESTRO?:  “She’s awesome.  I already had a female teammate before so I’m used to getting out of the truck when they need to get changed.  It happened before.  She’s awesome.  It’s the best opportunity she had in IndyCar so far so looking forward to work with her and help her out whenever she needs.  Not just Simona (de Silvestro) needs a good result, but the series as well having her and her personality coming out more often will help us out too.”

DO YOU THINK RUBENS BARRICHELLO WILL RETURN TO INDYCAR?:  “I was with him this weekend and he was trying to race in St. Pete, but he has a lot of commitments right now back home with the stock car racing and he’s going to do some Formula 1, he is going to commentate some Formula 1 races and I think that the TV broadcast won’t let him do the IndyCar race in Brazil because it’s a conflict between the two TVs.  I would say if you ask Rubens (Barrichello), he would do it in a heartbeat.  We’ll see, if he has the opportunity I think he would go back and fight with the TV people to let him do it.  It would be lovely to see him back.  I will miss him.  I was a little bit responsible for his coming to IndyCar so I would say I will miss him for sure.”

DO YOU THINK RUBENS (BARRICHELLO) WOULD DRIVE IN THE INDY 500?:  “Depends.  Depends where and with who and he would consider for sure.  If he believes he is going to have a competitive car, yes.  If you’re going to call him just to make the field, he won’t even pick up the phone I think.  If it’s this team I think he would do it because of me and the team and being here before.  It’s tough.  He was a little bit bitter when he couldn’t get a job or he couldn’t find a team for this year.  That’s a guy that didn’t have to do this at all last year.  He did it and I think we didn’t take the right opportunity to give him.  That’s the financial situation that everybody faces.  It was easier for him to decide to go do something else because he doesn’t need the job pretty much.  It’s the reality, he was doing it because of the love of the sport, the pleasure to drive with me.  I would say if somebody puts a call to him, he’s going to call me and ask for sure what is my opinion.  I will try to tell him not to come so it’s one less guy that I have to fight.”

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO IMPROVE YOUR PERFORMANCE FOR THIS SEASON?:  “We regrouped.  I think last year what happened was Rubens (Barrichello) came into the deal extremely late.  It was February and we were planning to run two cars and we ran three.  What people didn’t realize, I don’t think we had the structure like those big teams do to run three cars.  We still did it, it’s not about just the money or anything like that, it takes awhile to get a three-car team going.  We have plenty of examples.  Then because of his name and my name, it added a lot of pressure and a lot of hope to everybody.  We didn’t do any worse than the year before, we had actually more podium finishes than the year before and my first year with KV.  The team didn’t succeed the way everybody expected.  What we did was just regrouped, downsized big time and still, I’m not going to sit here and say, ‘we’re going to give the Penske boys and Andretti boys and the Ganassi boys a run every race.’  We’re not up there yet.  We’re still building.  There’s a lot of things that need to happen for us to be up there.  I can tell you this, one of the biggest races that matter the most to me, I think we can win that one.  With this team, I finished fourth and third.  That’s what we are focused on right now and trying to be competitive and win more races through the year.  I think until we find the stability with the sponsorship and the people in the team, we won’t be able to beat those guys because that’s what they’ve got.  We have the same equipment and we have very good people.  My engineer, the guy has been with me forever and the quality is there, everything is there, but consistency and stability, it means a lot to a race team and we don’t have that yet.”

DID YOU SPEND ANY TIME IN THE WIND TUNNEL THIS YEAR?:  “We did plenty.  The program is full on and then again, it’s not about the quantity of days that we did.  It’s about the quality of work that we can do.  We’ve done everything we could yes, could we have more?  Always.  I’m extremely confident that we’re better off this year than we’ve ever been since I joined this team.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR DRIVING STYLE AND SIMONA’S DRIVING STYLES ARE GETTING CLOSER?:  “It will get better I think.  One thing that I’ve learned all these years, it was not about trying to adapt to each other’s driving styles.  At Andretti we never, you will find somebody that will drive closer to you, but it’s about understanding what we both need to make the cars go faster.  That’s what I’m working with her.  It’s funny because like you said, she’s not used to having a teammate so the first time you approach her to tell her things she’s looking at you like, really?  Like she never asks a question because she’s not used to it.  We’re developing that relationship right now and yes, she has a very different way of driving, which I would relate.  I remember back in the days when I was (Alex) Zanardi’s teammate when he came back.  We had completely different driving styles.  Zanardi once told me that this is because you are the new generation and I’m the old generation.  I think I’ve got to that point now and it’s the other way around.  Tires have changed over the years and you drove before and you know exactly what I’m talking about.  She just has a different way of driving because she’s in a different generation than me.  Maybe I will be able to do things that she does, but I don’t think she’ll be able to do things that I do because it’s just the way it is.”

OTHER THAN INDY, WHAT OTHER RACE OR SECTION OF THE SCHEDULE DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO?:  “To be honest, I like the calendar a lot.  I always wanted to go to Pocono.  We’re going to Brazil, which I don’t have to speak about.  Long Beach, Detroit and other places where we have been extremely successful and Texas.  The mile ovals that I know my strengths.  There is not a place that I would say right now -- Houston, I haven’t seen it, but I remember in my rookie year that was my second full year of my career in IndyCar back in the Champ Car days.  I would say that I am looking forward to the season.  There is not a place, obviously I would pick a place to win -- if you give me two places to win then probably I would pick Brazil and Indy.”

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