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Rahal pins hopes on new 'back to basics' approach for IndyCar 2014

Graham Rahal believes that the 'back to basics' approach of new race engineer Bill Pappas will help him move forward after a disappointing 2013 IndyCar season.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan hired veteran engineer Pappas from Dale Coyne Racing during the winter after Rahal finished 18th in the 2013 standings.

With new team-mate Oriol Servia currently only confirmed for a limited programme, Rahal is the team's sole full-time driver for 2014 and said that Pappas' approach will be key to changing his fortunes.

"I don't think [we need to be] more aggressive," he said. "I think it's [about being] smarter.

"Last year with the engineering staff that we had, there was no common sense thing. Everything became a project.

"We have to get back to the days where, it's still a race car and we're trying to make it go fast.

"We have to think about the things that have worked the last 30 years to do so. I think Bill is that guy.

"We went and tested down in Sebring, and over the lunch break one day, he didn't even open up his computer. I can't tell you how refreshing that was."

The top themes of IndyCar 2014

Rahal said that he also needs to take a smarter approach himself, and identified qualifying as the key area he needs to improve.

"Just from my standpoint, we have to have common sense," he said. "We have to be quick on our feet.

"We don't get a lot of time in practice anymore so we need to make sure everything we're doing is the right way. It's not always going to be, but we need to try.

"Qualifying-wise, it comes down to me just as much as it does the car. Certainly last year I struggled to get the car to do what I want. At some point you just have to wring its neck and get a little more out of it."

The new IndyCar season starts this weekend at St Petersburg, the circuit where Rahal took his first and so far only win on his series debut in 2008.

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