Page 5 - Dallara Magazine

What would you suggest to a European
race-nut at his first IndyCar experience?
I think that most Europeans, attending an
IndyCar race for the first time, would be
amazed by the access they can get to the
drivers, cars and teams. I’m not very
familiar with the European racing
experience, but I know that the
European guests we have at the
IndyCar events all comment about
how great it is to be able to walk up right to
a driver and shake his hand, or get an
autograph, or to get a photograph of
themselves standing next to a car, or having
a conversation with the mechanics. They are
always amazed that, at the top level of US
formula car racing, they have such
unfettered access”.
After the tragic loss of Dan Wheldon, what
has been improved, safety-wise?
Most of the safety improvements in the IR12
car were well underway before the tragic
accident in Las Vegas. Dan was the test and
development driver for the Dallara
prototype, and he was instrumental in
verifying that the many new ideas
incorporated in the new chassis
were working as intended.
What really changed after Dan’s death was
the attitude of the drivers and teams
towards safety. There are many safety
enhancements incorporated on the new car,
some of which are new and unique.When the
car was first introduced, there were some
comments that the car was too different, too
radical. But, after the horrendous accident
in the 2011 final race, the attitude of the
paddock was changed, and there is now
more willingness, even some urgency, to
focus on safety and embrace new solutions.
Some of the new features of the IR12, such
as the additional foam padding in the
cockpit and the expansion of the side anti-
intrusion panels, were immediately well
received. Other concepts, such as the rear
wheel guards, the wider underwing and
narrower track, and the shaped front wing
endplates, were less intuitive and met with
some skepticism. However, after proving
themselves on the track, these ideas have
generally been accepted by the teams and
Is motor racing future double linked
to an intense co-operation between
different worlds and markets, as in IndyCar,
or will the economic breakdown
separate us?
The global economic malaise has a large
influence on motorsport, especially in the US.
Corporate sponsorship is the financial
lifeblood of all professional motorsports, and
the slow recovery from the global recession
has made everyone more conservative. In the
US, the focus on costs has become obsessive.
Unfortunately, there has not been universal
agreement on how best to control costs, and
this has led to more friction between the
participants at a time when what we really
need is more cooperation”.
Alex Zanardi gained two gold medals
at the Paralympic Games in London.
How’s the feeling watching an IndyCar
legend like Alex do so well in such a
different world?
When Alex was racing in the Champ Car
Series, I was working in IMSA (sports and GT
cars), and then in the IRL, so I never had the
opportunity to meet him personally. Alex
had a large fan base in the US during those
times, and he is still very popular here. Even
though I had not met him, I was a fan and
had a lot of respect for his driving ability.
After his accident, I gained even more respect
for him. His positive attitude, his zest for
life, is an inspiration to us all. I’ve since had
the privilege to meet Alex in Varano, during
one of his visits to the factory. He has a
really dynamic personality, an infectious
smile and he really inspires everyone that
meets him.
His victories in the Paralympic Games make
us all proud, as a reminder of what we can
do as individuals, and also, through the
Dallara involvement in the development of
the equipment that he used for the
competitions, of what we can accomplish as
a team working together”.