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Ganassi’s Palou, Dixon frustrated by only one day of IndyCar testing

Chip Ganassi Racing’s reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou and six-time title winner Scott Dixon have been irritated by the dearth of pre-season test days available.

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing, Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing, Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing

IndyCar Series

Like most series veterans, the pair spent just a single day of testing at Sebring Raceway last week, before heading to St. Petersburg for this weekend’s opening round of the campaign.

Asked about his offseason, Palou quipped: “We were so busy, it was so tiring.

“It feels weird that we only got one day of testing. I don’t think it’s the right choice, I understand we’re getting a new car next year but we’re making the championship smaller for ourselves, which doesn’t help. 

“Still, we’re doing great things on the race events side, so if we lose a bit of testing, it’s alright.”

Asked how much he and the team had learned from their tests, Palou responded: “Nothing. Coming to a road course with a street set-up on the first day of your season – OK, it’s good for you to wake up yourself, you start to understand the car, and then the day is over.

“We still got some stuff that we thought was good at Sebring, so we need to see that at St Pete.”

Dixon was similarly disappointed by the lack of track time for IndyCar drivers over the past five months.

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: IndyCar Series

“It’s somewhat frustrating with the lack of testing that we have for such a high level of racing,” said the 41-year-old. “The money still gets spent.

“I imagine with the hybrid side of things [2.4-litre hybrid engines coming for 2023] we’ll get back to the track a little bit more and I think we all understood how the schedule was reduced with COVID, but it’s time to get back to reality and crack on with having IndyCars on track. 

“The one day that we did, I think we almost accomplished what we needed to do. It’s a road course and it’s the only place we get to test the street course tyre.

“It has different elements to it, so it’s always a big unknown, but if you go too fast you risk veering off into a Sebring-esque set-up that compliments the lap times.”

Palou said he was happy to start the season at St. Petersburg, which he pointed out was “not a good race for us last year”.

He explained: “I think it’s good to start with hard ones, so I can get them out of the way, but at the same time I want to improve on what we did last year.

“We improved our street course set-up and my performance through the season. So I’m looking forward to starting at the track where we lacked the most last year. We can improve quite a lot here.

“As a team we didn’t have any particular car that was good, and myself, I was not at the performance of the car I’d say.

“It was my fifth or sixth street course race, so it takes time to get used to the car and tracks. But after two races at Detroit, one at Long Beach, I just feel a little bit better.” 

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