That Texas win in June (LEFT) was
the result of a brilliant drive in which he
pressured Graham Rahal (BELOW) into an
error in the closing laps. (BOTTOM) The DCR
holy trinity – Wilson, Bill Pappas and Coyne.
the DW12’s development, data is speed.
COYNE Also, some teams initially had an
advantage because they were living off
of preseason testing. They worked early
to help the engine manufacturers so they
had a four-month jump on us, which is a
lifetime in racing.
Justin Wilson made
his Formula 1 debut
with Minardi in 2003
and was immediately
on the pace of
Verstappen. He was
then drafted into
the Jaguar F1 team
for the final five
(BELOW). “I was on
the back foot,” he
recalls. “There was a
testing ban and that
Jag was five seconds
a lap quicker than
the Minardi. That’s a
bigger gap than
between Indy Lights
Some argue that a new car means rookie
drivers are less disadvantaged, others say
experience counts for even more. I assume
you guys believe in the second theory.
COYNE Absolutely. We need to figure out
the car so it’s vital that our driver has a
good feel for both what it’s doing and also
what it should be doing…but, at the same
time, he has to ignore what worked on
the old car because this one is so
different. The driver’s feel is the best
thing an engineer can have on his side.
WILSON Also, the rapport between driver
and engineer is crucial. A rookie isn’t
going to know what to ask for, and his
engineer will be wondering, “Is the kid
saying this because he’s unfamiliar with
IndyCars in general or because none of
us are familiar with this new car?”
Getting back together with Bill, we’ve
simply picked up where we left off, so
that moves things along faster; he’s got
confidence in what I say and I have
confidence in the changes he makes.
Mark Thompson/Getty Images
And this relationship – is it going to work
out this time around?
WILSON Yup. We want to win two or
three races and be in contention every
weekend next year, and consistency
comes from continuity. The strong teams
have had the same drivers for years, so
when they arrive at a track, they’re
working with last year’s setup, not
starting from scratch and trying to work
it out in 45 minutes of practice. So that’s
the whole objective of both Dale and
“It’s vital that our driver has a good
feel for both what the car’s doing
and also what it should be doing”
So can we expect more DCR wins this year?
WILSON I never expect anything; that’s
not how I lead my life. If you expect
things, you get frustrated if you don’t live
up to your expectations and that becomes
a negative and can trigger desperation.
So I look at the schedule and think there
are races where we can be really strong,
but the difference between first and 10th
in these races is one slip-up in the pits or
one mistake on the track.
COYNE To win, everything has to be right.
He has to do everything right, we have to
do everything right, the car has to be
mechanically right, pit stops have to be
perfect – and you need a bit of luck.
WILSON You make one bad setup change
on Friday morning, and for the rest of the
weekend you’ll be one session behind
where you should be. So when it comes to
qualifying you might be fifth instead of on
the pole and you can end up finishing
fourth or fifth in what by now is the quickest
car. And it’s all because right back at the
start of the weekend, you went one step
the wrong way. You never catch up.
myself – to work toward a long-term deal
and have a winning combination.
COYNE From a team owner’s perspective,
I can tell you that you lose the first
25 percent of your season when you
switch to a new driver. Staying with the
same driver and engineer combination
from one season to the next means you’re
all speaking the same language already:
the engineer already knows what the
driver wants from the car, and the driver
knows how to explain what he wants.
So to answer your question, yeah,
we’ve learned it would be a waste of time
to change for the sake of change when
we’ve got what we need right here.