IndyCar 2017 aero freeze helps Penske's rivals - Simon Pagenaud

IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud believes the aero kit freeze for 2017 will give Penske's rivals a chance to reel it in

IndyCar 2017 aero freeze helps Penske's rivals - Simon Pagenaud

Penske won 10 of 2016's 16 races with Pagenaud, Will Power and Juan Pablo Montoya, and it took Pagenaud, Power and Helio Castroneves to the top three positions in the drivers' standings.

Part of its edge came from engine and aero kit supplier Chevrolet's superiority over rival Honda.

Though Penske's Chevrolet stablemates included fellow powerhouse team Ganassi, Pagenaud believes his squad mastered the nuances of its aero kit better than rivals and is concerned the development freeze will nullify that advantage.

"We're going to need to think about 2017 quickly," Pagenaud told Autosport.

"The aero kit rules will be frozen so we know everybody will have a chance to catch up on us."

Aero kit development is being halted for 2017 as a precursor to the introduction of a standard kit in '18 after IndyCar decided the divisive rules package was no longer worth pursuing.

Why IndyCar is shelving its manufacturer war

Pagenaud reckons there were still areas where he and Penske could have improved this year.

"We'll need to do some development over the winter to find some ways to improve and be a little stronger on superspeedways and reinforce some of the things we do on certain road courses like Watkins Glen," he said.

"I can improve still. I still have more potential."

All nine of Pagenaud's IndyCar wins have come on road and street courses, making him the first champion in the history of Champ Car/IndyCar racing to not have a single oval victory on his CV by the time he won the title.

He said the Indianapolis 500 was his main aim on that front for 2017, having twice won on the Indy road course.

"It's the next goal," Pagenaud said of the Indy 500.

"I accomplished the dream [of winning the title] and the next dream is the Indianapolis 500.

"The last two years we had a shot and we missed it but we also learned ways to get up there and run up there.

"In 2017 we should be much stronger."

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