Chevrolet NTT Indycar Series – 2022 NTT Indycar Series preseason Q&A

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Dalton Kellett. Welcome.
DALTON KELLETT: How’s it going?
THE MODERATOR: We spoke to you the other day, you had one teammate. Now you have two.
DALTON KELLETT: As of this morning, two. It’s exciting.
THE MODERATOR: Let’s talk about your role in this. Probably going to do a little bit of advising and coaching and leading as the senior member of this organization. Seems strange to believe 24 races in, a senior member. How does that role suit you?
DALTON KELLETT: I mean, I would put some air quotes on that. The team and I have talked. Realistically I’m not Seb with four championships and all the wins under his belt. The relationship between myself and Kyle and Tatiana won’t be the same. I think it will be a communal engineering. The experience I do have, haven’t had a chance to have yet in INDYCAR, I’m sure when those moments come up, there will be questions. I’m more than happy to lend whatever experience I can to help them along.
THE MODERATOR: Better to have experience than no experience.
THE MODERATOR: You must have some empathy for what they’re about to go through. It’s a challenging road.
DALTON KELLETT: It’s a big undertaking even for the most prepared drivers. Kyle certainly is one of the most successful drivers to come out of the Road to Indy in a while. It will still be an adjustment for him I’m sure. When you get into INDYCAR, there’s a lot that you have to learn as far as the feedback you need, Firestone reds, the schedule, the cadence is different than it is in Lights. There’s a lot more going on as far as the engine, dampers, feedback, all that.
That will be certainly an adjustment. It’s exciting to see how the team gets on.
THE MODERATOR: You referenced Bourdais, maybe not specifically things he did for you, but what a difference having a real veteran in an organization does for a young driver.
DALTON KELLETT: I think for me it was great to have sort of — whether his way of doing things is the right way or not, it still gives you a direction that you and as the rookie can kind of riff off of. It took some of the decision making out of my hands, sort of put it in his. I was able to focus on driving technique, the bits of feedback I was giving to the engineer.
For me coming into it green as far as INDYCAR is concerned, that was a good thing. Then specifically just looking at, like, sort of Seb’s braking technique. Things I caught onto that we talked about that were helpful.
THE MODERATOR: How much undertaking is that going to be for the new drivers going to a new venue?
DALTON KELLETT: It’s always an adjustment when you haven’t been somewhere. Thinking back to Detroit, Nashville, I think those were the only two new ones for me last year. To be honest, I felt like those two events were actually strong for us, for our program.
I think a big part of that is doing the preparation on the simulator and the team looking at video. I think as long as they’re the type where they can get something out of the sims, I think that will be a good preparation tool for them. Obviously that’s kind of like specific to each person, whether you like simulators or not. For me I thought that was a good tool preparing for those races.
THE MODERATOR: They say in sports the jump from year one to two is the biggest jump. Did you see that jump in your improvement? I assume you would expect that to carry over into year three.
DALTON KELLETT: As far as what I felt personally, I felt there was a tangible, sizable jump there. The results weren’t what we always wanted, but we had some highlights at Gateway, some races that were going well. We had some consistency issues that I feel like we’ve dealt with from the mechanical side that shouldn’t hamper us.
Coming back at it with the experience of sort of that year and a half is going to be really helpful.
THE MODERATOR: Your oval program, obviously that’s where your biggest strength had been previously. I was going to note Gateway, you finished 12th. You must feel Indianapolis, maybe Texas, good places for you?
DALTON KELLETT: I think so. I think the ovals were sort of less of a question mark for us last year. I think still kind of the theme of last year was that qualifying was a bit of a struggle. Track position is just so important in these races, if you don’t get that good starting position, it can be really difficult to make the positions up. It’s really to work on the qualifying side. That puts you in the position to have sort of a place that you can kind of strike from, not just — when you’re starting towards the back, you’re already in a bad spot as far as the first pit cycle with the leaders coming up close. Being up the field at the start is goal one, no matter what track you’re on.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You mentioned ovals, last season being a bit of your strong suit. Qualifying something you need to focus on. What in particular with qualifying do you need to focus on? On the back end of that, what have you been working on the most during the off-season?
DALTON KELLETT: I think with qualifying, really it’s getting the most out of that. You really have one or two laps to kind of get it done, ensuring that the first lap you’re up to speed enough where you have a lap in the bang. Once you already have that safe lap, really just going to 100% and maximizing everything you can to get every last hundredth out of the car and yourself on that last lap that counts. I think that’s really the focus.
It’s really to the point where it’s more of a mental game than a technique, all that. You know what you need to do, it’s kind of executing it without making mistakes, or if you make a small mistake just moving on and not being too affected by it. It’s really getting that mental approach down where you can attack qualifying like you need to.
Q. You mentioned your two other teammates, which makes A.J. Foyt now a three-car operation. Do you think this will help your development process? Will there be too many cooks in the kitchen?
DALTON KELLETT: That’s a good question. Obviously anytime you add another entry to an existing program, there’s going to be a learning period and a time where we’re all getting used to how the work flows together.
The good thing is that there’s two fresh faces, so it’s kind of like a fresh start. Not like you’re throwing something into an existing program. The team has done a great job as far as putting the necessary personnel together. I’m confident from that standpoint in my limited time with Kyle and Tatiana it seems they’ll be great to work with. We’ll have to see how things work out.
Q. Tatiana tested with A.J. Foyt last season. She obviously knows her stuff within the team. How beneficial is that going to be to you with her bringing in a fresh perspective, also with Kyle as well?
DALTON KELLETT: Certainly. I think they’ll both bring some fresh aspects to what we’re thinking from a setup standpoint. That is kind of the good thing about rookies, I felt it in the last couple years, there was a time with Seb where he had a preconceived notion of what the car should be and what it could be before the aeroscreen. You add in the aeroscreen, it totally affects, changes what the car can even do. Sometimes it’s beneficial to have that blank slate. I think that will be a good thing.
Obviously Tatiana is coming with a pretty wide background as far as her experience in different formulas, different cars. Same with Kyle. He’s racing Daytona in a couple weeks. He’s obviously been doing pretty well in the Road to Indy. They’re both coming in with a lot of great experience. It will be exciting to see what they bring to it as far as the setup and technical standpoint.
Q. What would be a strong, solid season for you? Top 10s or further up?
DALTON KELLETT: I think given where we were last year, we want to be incremental, right? You want to focus on breaking the top 15, do that consistently, then kind of go from there.
I think for the first quarter of the year, definitely the main goals are improving in qualifying and consistently finishing ahead of where we were last year. If we can be getting towards that 15 to 12 mark where we finished up at Gateway for our best finish last year, if we can best that at this point this year and be a little more consistent around that range, that would be a very strong step up for the team and myself.
Q. Last year you were the teammate of Sebastien Bourdais. What have you learned from him?
DALTON KELLETT: To give you a really specific example, I think something that we see in junior formula, sort of the way you attack the brakes is prescribed in a very specific way. Seb without going into specifics was maybe doing things a little bit differently, just the way he was ramping up the brakes, kind of leading into it, was a bit different to what I’d done previously. I thought that was a good — it wasn’t like I applied it everywhere because sometimes what works for one person doesn’t always work for the other. It sort of made me think about rechecking what I was doing, think about the technique that I hadn’t really considered.
When you see someone doing it a bit differently, you kind of think back and sort of reevaluate what you’re doing, see what works and what doesn’t. Moments during the year he was doing things differently, we talked through it. That was a good learning opportunity for me.
Q. If Paul Tracy and Greg Moore were racing now, you be just an INDYCAR fan from Canada, who would you be looking for more?
DALTON KELLETT: I would probably be Team Greg. I love P.T. He’s certainly a Canadian legend in the INDYCAR world. I think Greg was definitely a fan favorite as well. I would be Team Red Gloves. Sorry, Paul.
Q. Now that you’re taking a leadership role, which advice would you give Tatiana and Kyle? Which advice would you give to each of them?
DALTON KELLETT: I think the best thing you can do as a rookie really is to take things step by step, whether you’re experienced or not. Coming into an INDYCAR is going to be a big adjustment, there’s a lot going on. Focusing on what you’re doing, trying to excel at one thing, maybe not getting too lost in the big picture, really focus on what you can control at that moment.
Then just making sure you’re staying on top of preparation, being kind of ready when you get to the track. These weekends go a lot quicker and are a lot busier than you might have been in, say, Indy Lights or different series. Where you thought before you might have had the time to do some prep, video or data, you’re probably not going to have the time to do as much of that stuff as you did before. Making sure you’re kind of ready when you get to the track is a good way to start every event.
THE MODERATOR: It changes from teammate to teammate, but how quickly do you establish a bond?
DALTON KELLETT: Depends on personalities. Some you click with right away. Some it grows a little bit. Seb and I weren’t best buddies right off the bat. After the year we spent together, that relationship got better and better. Might be an age thing, too. When you’re younger, have more common interests, you might click right away.
As far as working together, I think we’re all professionals. As far as the engineering room goes, I think that’s going to come together certainly by the end of the first event or so I’d say. The initial sort of gelling, then from that you’re getting more and more in tune with each other.
THE MODERATOR: You’ll be with Tatiana and Kyle at Wednesday’s test. Will you spend more time thinking about the changes that are made, how that applies to your program, or more attentive to their needs?
DALTON KELLETT: My engineer asked me to bring a camera, take some video and stuff, so I have some assignments as far as stuff they want to get. The focus is obviously on the two cars that are there at the test. That’s the objective for that day.
From my perspective, I’m certainly going to be also spending time just hearing how they talk with the engineers, seeing what the changes are, what the effects are. It will be an interesting exercise to kind of see the other side of it, see how the team is working together. I’d say a little bit of both.
Q. Your third season, now you’re the seasoned veteran. How strange is that, the longest tenured driver out of this group of three?
DALTON KELLETT: It’s a unique position to be in. It’s certainly exciting. I think we talked about it a bit earlier, but it’s important to emphasize. I think the relationship is different when you have a rookie like myself the last year and Seb, a seasoned veteran, a known quantity, versus what we’re going into this year, which is a semi veteran and then two rookies. I think it will be maybe a bit more of a communal aspect.
On the flipside there’s definitely experience I have had doing a year and a half in INDYCAR that the other two won’t. Certainly in any situation that I can help and offer my experience, I’ll be certainly doing that.
Q. Last week fellow Canadian announced he’ll be running an entire IMSA season, Robby Wickens. How proud are you of being able to see him be able to get to the point in his rehab to return to racing?
DALTON KELLETT: Yeah, I’m confident to say there were a lot of tears shed that day by a lot of people in the racing industry. An inspiring story. I train at Pit.Fit, where Robby does a lot of his rehab. To see him work that hard in the last few years is inspiring. I know Robby back from the karting days. To see Brian seem give him a chance to get back in it, it’s an amazing thing.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
THE MODERATOR: Welcome Kyle Kirkwood. You’ve had some time in the car. Will you have more before St. Petersburg? Excitement so far?
KYLE KIRKWOOD: I’m ecstatic. Finally starting now. Got through the holidays. Seems surreal for me. I thought there would be a moment where I’d be able to take a break, look back at my career over the junior formulas. Now I’m ready to get into it, start racing. Yeah, there hasn’t been time to relax. We’re all gas right now trying to get ready for the start of the season here in February.
THE MODERATOR: We learned the other day that Kyle is big on spear fishing and spending a lot of time around the ocean. We’re sorry for your luck this morning being in Indianapolis.
KYLE KIRKWOOD: Yeah, it’s definitely colder here. You don’t want to get into the water here. Most of the lakes are frozen, that’s what I’ve found out. I’ve only seen snow like 10 times. Flew up here Saturday, there was snow. Making snowballs out in front of Chris Wheeler’s house.
The water stays warm in Florida, spend a lot of time in the water surfing, spear fishing, diving. That’s kind of how I grew up.
THE MODERATOR: 10 times of seeing snow?
KYLE KIRKWOOD: I rarely ever see snow.
THE MODERATOR: Where would your experience have been?
KYLE KIRKWOOD: In the snow? I’ve seen it once in Canada, once when I went to France for the FIA award banquet, started snowing, which I thought was incredible, right before I went to the awards ceremony. Saw snow a couple days ago. I’m kind of forgetting where else I’ve seen it. Not many times.
THE MODERATOR: Second time here this season. Pretty lucky.
KYLE KIRKWOOD: Oh, really?
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You came up through Road to Indy. Had quite a bit of success in each level. Are you tempering your expectations at all or are you expecting to be right up at the front?
KYLE KIRKWOOD: Of course it’s going to be a tougher crowd racing in INDYCAR. I fully expect that. That’s what I’ve known coming up through all the ranks. Most of the drivers in Road to Indy are rookies. I’m coming into INDYCAR as a rookie where there are veteran drivers that have been here for 15 years I think some of them have been.
It’s all new to me. Of course, I have to take a step back, know I need to learn some things. Most of the time, most of the categories, I came into it knowing I probably had the most knowledge. Now I’ve got probably the least.
Q. Another advantage of the Road to Indy is you race on a lot of the same tracks as INDYCAR. There are a few you haven’t been on. Any you’re looking forward to?
KYLE KIRKWOOD: I would make it easy and say the Indy 500. I’ve never driven on a superspeedway. Never driven a car with speedway trim on it. Did a test with Andretti. I have a feeling for how fast the car is going to be, but I’m really looking forward to getting on some ovals.
THE MODERATOR: Tony Kanaan mentioned this is his 24th INDYCAR season, 24 in INDYCAR.
KYLE KIRKWOOD: That’s incredible. That’s incredible. It shows I’m a rookie coming into it. He’s been racing it longer than I’ve been alive.
Q. You have a veteran driver starting his third season in INDYCAR, two rookies. When you think about A.J. Foyt, the dynamics of that team, it’s pretty interesting, especially when you put A.J. in the middle of it all. Almost like you’re learning from the man who created it.
KYLE KIRKWOOD: That is very true. I have not had the honor of meeting A.J. yet or being able to speak with him. I’m hoping to very soon. That guy is a world of knowledge, right? He’s been around this sport for so many years, seen everything. Hopefully I can hone in on him and get as much as I can from him.
Being around A.J. Foyt Racing has been phenomenal. They’ve been super open, brought me in as their family, been awesome with sharing data with me, making sure I’m super up to speed with their tests.
Q. Can you talk a bit about your off-season. I know there were heavy rumors about possibly getting into Andretti, then it became Foyt. Talk about that process.
KYLE KIRKWOOD: I have to jog my memory how much I can talk about it.
I know Michael did come out at a press conference speaking about the F1 deal, whatnot. Just bounced off of him. They did have the option for a period of time. Once they found out they couldn’t fill me into a seat, they opened up that option. We made some calls. A.J. Foyt Racing was the best fit for us.
Q. You get one track in the world to race on, what would it be? What are you driving?
KYLE KIRKWOOD: That’s a good question.
There’s two races that I’ve always loved. I’m going to name two off. It’s going to be the 500 in INDYCAR, something I’ve watched ever since I was super young. Then Monaco in F1. Two pretty easy go-tos there.
Q. Slightly awkward question. Obviously we’ve seen Foyt struggling over the last couple of years. Does that take any pressure off you in your learning season, that less is expected of you than if you had been thrown into a Ganassi or Penske car?
KYLE KIRKWOOD: It does. It does take pressure off of me. At the same time I think it’s beneficial for me because, like I’ve said, the team has been super open with me. They want to learn, too. I’ve been able to bring some kind of experience over from my history, try and hone in and try and get something out of our car here.
I think we’re going to grow together as a team. I think the chemistry has been working out perfectly.
Q. Obviously Dalton has some experience. He’s made the same transition as you. Obviously Tatiana has no experience. Is that also difficult to have one relatively inexperienced and one totally inexperienced?
KYLE KIRKWOOD: That’s kind of been my entire history in junior formulas. I’ve never really had somebody to base stuff off of. It’s nothing new to me. I wish I did have a mentor coming up through Road to Indy, F4, F3. I really didn’t. It’s nothing special. I’ve kind of been in this position my entire life.
Q. A.J. should be useful there.
KYLE KIRKWOOD: Very much so.
Q. You can’t hit the motor with a hammer. Didn’t work for him.
KYLE KIRKWOOD: Right (laughter).
Q. Other than the Indy 500, what track are you most looking forward to?
KYLE KIRKWOOD: I’m going to say Mid-Ohio. Mid-Ohio has been a track I’ve had the most success at. Actually I would say Mid-Ohio and St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg is like a home race for me, somewhere we always start off the season. I really enjoy that place, a lot of good memories there. But Mid-Ohio is a place that I’ve driven so much at over every single one of the categories I’ve been in. I’ve won it in every single category I’ve driven in. That’s somewhere that I always look forward to going back to and racing at. Like I said, it’s a place I have the most experience at.
Q. I know you said you haven’t talked to A.J. yet. You probably do most of your dealings with Larry. Eventually you will cross paths with A.J. What do you hope to learn from him or experience?
KYLE KIRKWOOD: Yeah, the biggest thing I want to ask him is stuff about ovals because that guy is a legend around ovals, right? Even though it’s something so far back in history or in the past, it definitely translates over to today.
As much information as I can get out of him for ovals. In the Road to Indy, we only did a few ovals, we ran at St. Louis, then Lucas Oil Raceway. My oval experience isn’t that vast. I think having him on my side is definitely going to help that.
Q. You’re one of many INDYCAR drivers that are going to be in the Rolex, not a new event for you, but a new class. I know Lexus wants to win it very badly. How much could a big weekend in Daytona sort of launch your year?
KYLE KIRKWOOD: That’s a good question because every single one of my seasons have all been based off of kind of momentum it seems like. Usually my worst race is the first race of the year, then I build on top of that, I start getting strings of wins by the end of the year. Obviously it’s going to be a lot harder in INDYCAR. That’s my tendency.
Starting it off early with the 24 hour, trying to get into that race mode, is super important. I did it last year. It was a huge help. Being with the Lexus guys, Vasser Sullivan, has been a blessing in my career because I’ve learned so much with them in sports cars that actually translates over to INDYCAR.
Q. This team has been up and down the last couple years. As a rookie joining a team where you don’t have a ton of experienced teammates on a team that has been still working hard to get a podium or a win these last several years, what will you use to gauge what you would deem a successful season?
KYLE KIRKWOOD: I think that kind of comes with us in the team, how we perceive us doing well. I think that is just capitalizing on what we can do, right?
If we come into a weekend, we know we can do well, we don’t do well, that’s not a good weekend for us, we haven’t maximized what we can do.
Our goal is to progress the car as much as possible. I need to learn myself as a new INDYCAR driver, as a rookie. Like I’ve said, I think we can build off of each other and maybe grow something great. There’s some big things happening with the team, a lot of new people onboard, some new development going on.
I think we have the good chance of turning some heads this year.
Q. You would say maybe more of a subjective thing or feeling, internal way to grade your season rather than off of podiums and wins?
KYLE KIRKWOOD: That’s correct, yeah. You can only do as well as you can, as well as the equipment is, how well I’m driving, whatever it might be, what the conditions are. It all comes from within. I don’t think you can look from the outside, you can’t be in third person trying to figure out how you’re doing. That just comes from within. How you feel as a team is more important.
Q. Three Road to Indy championships. What has that program meant to your career? Would you be here without it?
KYLE KIRKWOOD: 100% no. Not 100%. It’s made it so much easier for me because as everyone knows finding sponsorships, funding, junior categories, is nearly impossible. The return on investment for sponsors is pretty much non-existent because there’s none of this broadcasting, being able to put things out. A lot of sponsorships aren’t visible.
Having those scholarships from the Road to Indy has been absolutely crucial for my career. That all started from 2012, my first scholarship was with AJ Allmendinger, a couple years later Team USA scholarship. After I would be the P4 scholarship, Honda had a scholarship to go to F3. All the Road to Indys, leading up now to what is INDYCAR, a 1.25 million dollars scholarship into INDYCAR. I don’t think I would have made it here this quick.
I think there’s a possibility I would have still made it to INDYCAR without the scholarships, but this has obviously made it a much easier transition.
Q. At the beginning of your career, maybe you were aiming for Formula 1. Do you think getting into INDYCAR is a step towards Formula 1 or do you think INDYCAR will be it in your progress?
KYLE KIRKWOOD: That all depends on kind of what happens, doesn’t it?
I think every young karting driver when you’re five, six, seven years old, you look at Formula 1 as the pinnacle. But there is kind of a transition in my mind when I was probably 10 or 11 years old where I started watching the Indy 500s. This is what I want to do.
I think INDYCAR is very enjoyable. I think there’s been some past F1 drivers that have come over here and said if you have the chance, come do this 100%.
I kind of look at it as where I want to be in my life. I like to stay over in the States, to be honest. That keeps me over here. I love INDYCAR racing. This is the ultimate goal for me at the moment. I don’t foresee anything happening where I change my plans and move to Formula 1.
THE MODERATOR: Today is often a day of rookie trouble from the veterans. Any pranking going on?
KYLE KIRKWOOD: Nothing yet. Nothing that I’ve noticed.
THE MODERATOR: Keep your head on a swivel.
KYLE KIRKWOOD: I was actually thinking that this morning in the hotel. This is Content Day. There’s definitely going to be some rookie pranks going on.
THE MODERATOR: You arrive on a day without Rossi, without Herta, without Conor.
KYLE KIRKWOOD: Without Conor especially, yes (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: You figured out the pecking order. Kanaan you might want to watch on.
KYLE KIRKWOOD: My head is on a swivel around him always.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
THE MODERATOR: Welcome Tatiana Calderon. Tatiana, this was announced this morning, your ride with AJ Foyt Racing and Rocket as the sponsorship. I know this has been in discussion. Give us some background on how long the process has been.
TATIANA CALDERON: Yeah, it’s been an amazing time that I have spent with Rocket for the last two years in Super Formula in Japan, but obviously when the chance came to test an INDYCAR last July and I felt really great with the team in the car, of course. We’ve been in discussions really since then, but good things take time, and we finally managed to put everything together last week.
I’m very excited, very thankful to both Rocket and AJ Foyt for this amazing opportunity and to really start this thing quite soon and get acclimatized with the car and the team around me.
Q. You’ve had the one test; what has been your other INDYCAR experience in terms of attending races? How many have you been to?
TATIANA CALDERON: Well, I started my career here in U.S. in Star Mazda 10 years ago. It’s been a while. So I know some of the tracks that I tried to remember everything. Of course a lot of things have changed. But I’ve always been kind of following INDYCAR because also I come from Colombia, Juan Pablo Montoya has been racing here in America for many years. He’s been kind of my idol, as well.
But in the garage it was only Mid-Ohio that I had the chance to really see an INDYCAR team from the inside. Yeah, a lot of things to learn for me this year.
Q. The Japan transition has been very good for — we saw last year with Alex Palou. Do you expect to be prepared for this endeavor?
TATIANA CALDERON: Yeah, I think Super Formula is a great preparation for any single seater series. I think it’s a super quick car, very tricky. Also I had to learn how to communicate differently. The culture was very different, as well. But I think that has prepared me more for this opportunity.
Of course I don’t expect anything to be very easy, particularly at the beginning, because I’ve only done one test day in INDYCAR. I think we’ll have probably three days before the first race.
A lot of things to take in, but I think it was a great preparation with Super Formula and sports cars that I have been racing the last couple of years, as well, to help with fuel save, with tire save and pit stops and all that. I think it’s been quite good for my career.
Q. Have you been to the team shop down in Texas yet?
TATIANA CALDERON: Not in Texas, but their one here. We spent last week doing some seat fit and getting back into rhythm with everybody. Yeah, I’m excited to actually drive for the first time here in 2022.
Q. You have such an extensive resume behind you; what is it about INDYCAR that caught your attention, and also, do you believe that INDYCAR does a good job with female representation in motorsports?
TATIANA CALDERON: I think INDYCAR has always been in my radar. I think I’ve always been very competitive, and I want to be where the best drivers are at, and I think INDYCAR is pretty high up there on the single seater ladder. I’ve always enjoyed single seaters quite a lot, as well.
It’s an honor to be racing in INDYCAR after I started my career 10 years ago, and I was just watching those races. Yeah, huge privilege in that sense, and I think here in America, in INDYCAR, there has been many female drivers coming through, so I think there is more opportunity at the moment for us here.
I will obviously make the most out of this opportunity, and I’m really hoping that I can do well and inspire even more girls to join in in karting, in single seaters, and that they know this is also a great opportunity to showcase that.
Yeah, can’t wait to get started and see where we end up in the first race, but obviously build up to it step by step, and I think as long as we improve every time we’re on track, then I’ll be happy.
Q. Have you had a chance to meet AJ yet?
TATIANA CALDERON: Sadly, no. We were supposed to meet very soon, but with all this COVID situation, with the weather, it’s been — it has not been easy. He had a birthday yesterday, as well.
Yeah, hopefully very soon.
Q. Do you have any idea what to expect?
TATIANA CALDERON: No, I think obviously I’ve read a lot of what he’s done, about the Indy 500, as well, everything that has won. I think it will be a privilege to be able to share some experiences with him, to look at him in the eyes. I think that’s one of the biggest things I would say sometimes when you have that connection, that feeling with somebody. Hopefully it will be very soon.
Q. Did you give any consideration to the ovals?
TATIANA CALDERON: Yeah, definitely. Obviously I’ve only tested the car one day back in July, so we thought to take things easy to start off with, the road courses, build up to hopefully test in an oval, see how I feel, see how my confidence with the car comes.
But of course who wouldn’t love to do Indy 500 one day. Yeah, we’re just taking it step by step.
Q. Are you still going to be a reserve driver, or has that come to an end?
TATIANA CALDERON: I’m not sure at the moment, but my full focus is obviously here in INDYCAR. I want to do the best job I can, and I think in order to do that, I need to be focused on one thing. We’ll figure out the next bit in the future, but I’m just super excited with this opportunity and to be present and focused on one thing.
Q. We’ve had a lot of successful drivers from Formula 2 and Super Formula recently coming to INDYCAR. You’ve done both. What do you think your experiences, how can they help you getting into grips with INDYCAR this year?
TATIANA CALDERON: Well, I think they will be very useful, all those experiences, particularly because there’s not much time that we have in the car in preseason, so only a couple of days of testing, so I’m kind of used to that. But yeah, all the tracks sort of will be quite new, especially with an INDYCAR. It’s quite a heavy, big car, just with the tires to get a feel for the degradation, as well, here.
Because I’ve been changing continents and cars and tire manufacturers, I think that’s definitely going to help me to speed up the process, but I still want to take step by step this steep learning curve.
Yeah, I don’t expect it to be any easier, but I definitely feel more ready than I was a couple of years back if I had the opportunity. Yeah, looking forward to making the most out of it and to learn as quick as possible.
Q. As I recall, now that I think more about it, weren’t you involved with Derek Daly and his driving academy years ago, so therefore you must have quite a relationship with the daily family and Conor even?
TATIANA CALDERON: Yeah, we were teammates with Conor when we were driving with Juncos Racing in Star Mazda, and I worked with Derek, as well, the first couple of years that I was here in single seaters.
Yeah, I’ve always felt really, really confident here. Everybody has been very open to help, as well, and yeah, I have a lot of relationship with many of the drivers that are here in INDYCAR. Yeah, it will be fun to see them back on track again after so many years.
Q. Who else in this paddock have you raced with?
TATIANA CALDERON: Well, I raced against Alex, a little bit against Pato in Formula 2 where he did only one race. I’ve raced with Montoya, as well, in the World Endurance Championship. Yeah, I need to think, but there are many others for sure. Lundgaard, Callum Ilott, as well.
Q. Quite a few.
TATIANA CALDERON: Yeah, I’m pretty sure I have more, but — Felix Rosenqvist, as well, in Formula 3. Yeah, a lot of familiar faces.
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