(Reuters) – Alex Palou mentioned on Monday he doesn’t really feel any added stress as he will get able to launch his IndyCar Series title defence and is definitely approaching the upcoming season as although he still has a lot to show.
Palou, who final September grew to become the primary Spaniard to win an IndyCar Series championship, understands that being a driver for the powerhouse Chip Ganassi Racing crew doesn’t assure him something.
“We’ll have quite a lot of competitors this yr. We have new drivers in several groups. We have new drivers from different locations. It’s going to be difficult,” Palou advised reporters throughout a information convention.
“But, yeah, we have been working as if final yr we misplaced it and I feel we’ll be able to try to combat once more.”
In solely his second season, the 24-yr-outdated Palou appeared extra like a seasoned veteran as he proved to be not solely persistently quick but in addition confirmed a stage head whereas competing towards different drivers with extra expertise and success.
But Palou still feels he has a lot extra to show.
“Just profitable one championship, it means however it doesn’t suggest so much. You have to proceed profitable races and championships to still be valued as a champion,” mentioned Palou. “It’s going to be good having the goal in our automobile. It’s at all times good when individuals is chasing you.
“But 2022 goes to be model new. We’re going to start out everyone with zero factors, with new individuals round us, new groups, new tracks that we’ll go to as effectively.”
Palou’s season additionally included a runner-up end on the Indianapolis 500 the place he led with simply over two laps to go till the extra skilled Helio Castroneves overtook him to grow to be solely the fourth, 4-time winner of the race.
Palou is aware of getting extra expertise on oval tracks will assist him in the direction of his aim of staying on prime however admitted his to-do listing doesn’t cease there.
“Oval is an efficient half. Qualifying, I feel it is one other half,” mentioned Palou. “Starting extra up entrance, getting one-lap pace ought to be a precedence for us.
“We’ve at all times been ready – not at all times – however consistently in a position to be round Fast 6 or prime 10, which is nice. We solely bought one pole place.
“Hopefully that is going to enhance and make our life simpler in the course of the races.”
The IndyCar Series championship begins Feb. 27 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, modifying by Pritha Sarkar)