In Brazil, both Hinch
and Newgarden were
fighting for the lead in
the closing stages.
Takuma Sato tripped
up the sophomore, but
Hinchcliffe made a
pass and won the race.
MICHAEL ANDRET TI
As an ex-Newman/
Haas driver himself,
knew that James
have learned much
in his IndyCar rookie
year and signed him
for 2012. Hinch
scored eight top-six
finishes in his first
year with AA, and
by mid-2013 had
already taken his
first three victories.
JN Yeah, I like to think that the casual fan
will get drawn in by how close it’s been this
year. You look at the Pacers in the NBA, a
young team that hasn’t done well in a
while, and now they’re fighting the big
boys and winning. But for rule-makers, it’s
particularly difficult because this is a
technical sport, not just down to
athleticism and tactics.
JH And we have to be careful because at
Indy this year, I’d say there was too much
passing, and at Texas there wasn’t enough.
Actually, there was, but it was happening
down the field. At Indy, it was constant
place-swapping at the front, but nothing
was going on from ninth backward
because it was impossible.
But to your original point, yeah, it
annoys me when people say Texas wasn’t
an exciting race. Well guess what: not
every race is gonna be a barn-burner to
the checkered flag and won by inches!
Not even MotoGP is like that every race.
So we need to stop expecting every race
to be an epic thriller and, if it isn’t, stop
calling for changes to the the tech rules.
And a late caution at Texas would have seen
cars pit for fresh tires because of the speed
differential between old and fresh rubber…
JH Exactly! The formula on ovals this year
has been awesome, because it’s tires that
are the deciding factor on when to pit. When
it’s down to fuel, it gets dull because that’s
predictable, and it’s not a differentiator
because everyone uses roughly the same
amount of fuel on an oval. So when a car
pits, you know how many laps before it’s
back in. But tires fall off according to driving
style, the line you take and car setup…
JN And so you have a lot of strategies
out there, so there’s constant passing.
JH Your engineers and spotters coach you
and tell you who’s ahead and how old their
tires are. And, unlike F1 at the moment,
your driving style is still a huge influence
on how and when your tire degrades.
JN And if you don’t use your cockpit tools,
you’ll pay. If you start off with understeer
or oversteer, and don’t get on top of it
right away, then within two or three laps
you’re past the point of no return.
JH Yeah. It’s a thinking man’s game now.
It always has been, but with low-aero
rules, I think it’s even more so.
JN Absolutely, it’s a thinking man’s game.
JH And, sadly, we’re both really stupid!
[Not so stupid. Just 48 hours later, Hinch
scored his third win of the year. – Ed.]