Power still capable of surprising IndyCar engineer Faustino after 15 years

Will Power's long-serving IndyCar race engineer Dave Faustino says the 2022 champion is still capable of surprising him after 15 years of working together.

Power still capable of surprising IndyCar engineer Faustino after 15 years

Faustino first worked as Power's engineer in 2007 at Walker Racing, then running under the Team Australia banner, in Champ Car. The two then crossed the divide to IndyCar with KV Racing in 2008, and then reunited in 2010 as Power joined Penske full-time.

Having claimed the 2014 IndyCar title, Power and Faustino had to wait another eight years for a second - which the Queenslander claimed at Laguna Seca by 16 points over Penske team-mate Josef Newgarden.

Although Power scored just one win, Faustino says that the drive to maximise results from bad weekends underpinned the #12 team's triumph - and still had the capacity to be surprised by Power even after a decade and a half in the same camp.

Citing Power's surge through the field at the Detroit race, where the Australian started 16th and clawed his way up to first at the Belle Isle circuit, Faustino explained that he was most surprised by Power's capacity to grab third at the second Indianapolis road course race after getting caught out with early-race contact and dropping down the order.

"[The Detroit charge] was pretty awesome, it really was," Faustino told Autosport.

"And then the second Indy road course race, where Will finished lap 2 down in 17th because of a Turn 1 incident and then getting divebombed on the next lap.

"We had to come up with a new strategy, but the only way it could work was if he got a much better fuel number - lap time ratio than we’d ever anticipated. When it comes to doing that stuff, Will is still very impressive. To get a podium out of that…

"There’s a couple of races each season when he has the opportunity to show these skills and even now, after 15 years with him, I still think, 'damn, that’s special.'"

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates winning the championship with his crew

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates winning the championship with his crew

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

Discussing Power's title triumph, Faustino explained that his driver's change of approach was a key factor in his title win, with many noting his calmer mindset.

Much of that hinged on Power's acceptance that aiming for consistent top-five finishes would be more beneficial than to risk it all for wins, and drawing "satisfaction" from those results.

"We’ve known for a while, when you look at how championships are won, if you can average a finish of fifth or better then you’re going to have a pretty good shot at winning," Faustino explained.

"I think everybody tries to have that consistency and average a top five. And I wouldn’t say that we changed that in 2022, I think we’ve always tried for that consistency.

"But maybe what has changed is Will’s attitude, his satisfaction with a result that is in that realm.

"It’s easy to say, 'Oh, we just need to get on the podium or get a top five', but if you finish a race fourth or third when you started from pole, are you really happy with it? Can you move on from that with a positive mindset?

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"He could, and I think that was really the big difference with Will this year, and he verbalised with the crew his happiness about podiums.

"In years past, if he started on pole and finished only third or fourth, he would have been very unhappy. This season, he really was single-minded about that championship and adopted the right attitude for that.

"It wasn’t a different planned approach, but a different mindset."

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