Photo by Joe Skibinski, Indycar
Alex Palou isn’t afraid of a challenge. He proved that at the Indianapolis 500 when he dueled four time winner Helio Castroneves over the last seven laps of the race. Going to Detroit, a track he has never seen in person, will be another step for the current Indycar points leader.
“…it’s going to be challenging for sure. I’ve never been to Detroit. It looks — the track looks awesome. Looks really bumpy. But yeah, I think the layout, it’s super nice as a street course. I’m looking forward,” Palou told the media earlier this week.
“I’ve been preparing a lot on the sim, the track, just for myself, not setup related. I’ve been doing it at home, just because it’s super important on a street course to really know the bumps, to really get some references. And then aside, as well, we’ve been working with the team doing the setup stuff so we don’t have to work that much during the race weekend.And then during free practice, it’s going to be tough. I’m going to be able to — I’m going to have to be able to get up to speed really quick, and yeah, I just need to focus on everything. I need to focus on all the bumps. I need to see how the car rides the bumps. That’s super important. And then braking zones. I think it’s super important on street courses to really nail and attack the braking zones. Hopefully we are able to do that soon enough so we can start developing our car during free practice,” he continued.
On his near miss at Indianapolis, Palou said,
“I think it all came down to traffic, so I think I would just have waited for the last pass a little bit more. But at that point we had Rosenqvist in front, and that helped me. I actually pulled, and if Rosenqvist kept himself out, I think we would have had a chance to just go or maybe to fight again, but yeah, he went, and I was alone there, and he got traffic.Maybe just wait, but it’s super easy to say it now. Maybe a yellow comes out and you are waiting there second and you are like, why did I wait?”
Palou is fighting with teammate Scott Dixon for the championship right now. Some see that as an advantage, but Palou disagrees,.
“No, that’s the opposite because I know he’s going to compete with the same car as me, so I know he’s going to compete with a really good car, and it’s going to be up to us. I would prefer him to be on another team so I could know that I have the best team around me. But no, joking aside, it’s cool. It’s super good to be able to do what he’s doing, to know the strategies they are doing,to know how he’s approaching the weekends. It’s been really helpful for me so far, and it’s going to still be really helpful.”
Palou has a six place grid penalty for Race 1, which puts his record of leading every race this year in jeopardy. Qualifying will be extremely important to his chances of remaining on top of the points standings.