Coyne: Palou "will be strong" at Ganassi in 2021 IndyCar season

Dale Coyne is expecting Alex Palou to shine at Chip Ganassi Racing, especially when IndyCar reverts to a more normal race weekend schedule, allowing more track time

Coyne: Palou "will be strong" at Ganassi in 2021 IndyCar season

This year's batch of IndyCar rookies (Palou, Rinus VeeKay, Oliver Askew and Dalton Kellett) suffered greatly from the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with not only zero in-season testing, but also reduced amount of track time allowed on any given race weekend - though three of the four did score podiums.

This was almost entirely due to the series trying to compress most events into two days primarily to minimise the teams' potential exposure to the virus, as well as keeping costs down.

Now Palou has moved on from Dayle Coyne Racing to CGR's four-car line-up for 2021, Coyne says the 23-year-old Spaniard will be missed at DCR.

"Alex did a good job for us in what was a tough year for rookies," Coyne told Autosport.

"He was very impressive considering how reduced the track time was.

"So going back to the usual three-day weekends and getting more test time will be good for him, accelerate his learning.

"He's already capable of putting down a fast lap, that's for sure, but I saw that in his first test with us at Mid-Ohio in July last year. No problems with his speed.

"Now I think there's more things he needs to work on in his race craft, things we could have worked on in testing in a normal year.

"In-laps on worn out tires and low fuel, out-laps on cold tires and heavy fuel load - stuff that kind of comes automatically to the really experienced guys.

"But that comes down to comfort and confidence which you only get with experience.

"That's the other thing - these tight schedules meant you didn't want drivers tearing up cars because the next session might be just a few hours later, especially on the double-header weekends.

"So in that situation, a rookie especially is going to give himself a bit of a margin."

Asked if he expects to see Palou flourish at Ganassi, Coyne replied: "He will be strong at Ganassi, oh yeah. If him and [six-time IndyCar champion] Scott Dixon drive similar cars, want the same things from the set-up, that will be a big help.

"And for us, his feedback was real good, too, considering he didn't really know what he could or couldn't ask for because he had nothing to compare it with.

"Now with a season under his belt, he understands the car and he's only going to get better."

Coyne currently has no drivers confirmed for 2021, but he's hoping Santino Ferrucci can provide continuity by staying on for a third year.

"I still think what Santino does on ovals is impressive," said Coyne.

"His starts and restarts are [Tony] Kanaan-like - very confident on cold tires. And he's decent on road courses, doesn't make mistakes.

"The crash at St. Pete when he got hung out there on the marbles... that was pretty rare. So yes, I think we should be able to come to an agreement again. I hope so."

shares
comments
Castroneves returns to IndyCar with Meyer Shank in 2021

Previous article

Castroneves returns to IndyCar with Meyer Shank in 2021

Next article

Kanaan returns to Ganassi for 2021 ovals to extend IndyCar career

Kanaan returns to Ganassi for 2021 ovals to extend IndyCar career
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Palou
Author David Malsher
Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans? Plus

Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans?

IndyCar's gold standard teams Ganassi and Penske are set for another slugfest beginning this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park. A poor start to the first season with the new aeroscreen left Josef Newgarden with too much ground to make up on Scott Dixon in the title chase, but his strong end to 2020 suggests a battle royale lies ahead...

The six major IndyCar subplots to follow in 2021 Plus

The six major IndyCar subplots to follow in 2021

From rookies arriving with big reputations to veterans who still have the fire and an F1-linked squad pushing to join the big leagues, IndyCar has it all this year. Here are six of the key storylines to keep track of

IndyCar
Apr 15, 2021
The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed Plus

The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed

Often unfairly characterised as a car-breaker, judged for his lack of an Indianapolis 500 win and a disappointing part-season of Formula 1 in 1993, Michael Andretti was highly respected by his rivals and only thwarted greater success by ill-fortune. When it all came together in 1991, he was a truly formidable force

IndyCar
Mar 6, 2021
How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite Plus

How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite

The second year of McLaren's full-time IndyCar return is looming, with Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up. Strong team personnel and work behind the scenes means that 2021 could be the year it joins the established elite

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart Plus

The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart

Flashes of brilliance amid spells of obscurity have been too common for Marco Andretti. While the third-generation racer has opted to bring his full-time IndyCar career to a close, his peaks and troughs have never been for want of trying

IndyCar
Jan 20, 2021
Why American racing's top dog is without equal Plus

Why American racing's top dog is without equal

A byword for success in business and in motorsport for over 50 years, Roger Penske's importance to the US scene cannot be understated. In an exclusive interview, the custodian of the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway reflects on his journey

IndyCar
Jan 11, 2021
The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete Plus

The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete

When founder Bruce McLaren died in June 1970, his team could have folded. Instead, his loyal band rallied to produce a string of winners - including an Indycar game-changer that won its third Indianapolis 500 five years after its debut

IndyCar
Dec 22, 2020
Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough Plus

Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough

Josef Newgarden feels he didn't put a foot wrong in 2020, yet his finest season-long run of performances failed to yield a third series championship. But in a warning shot to Scott Dixon, Team Penske's team leader has vowed to redouble his efforts in 2021

IndyCar
Dec 21, 2020