OK, it would be foolish to draw conclusions based solely on one race. But for KV Racing Technology – SH, signs are evident the team could revert back to overachieving rather than underachieving in 2013. Tony Kanaan and new teammate Simona de Silvestro opened the year fourth and sixth in St. Petersburg.
Kanaan’s third season with the Chevrolet-powered team sees his third set of teammates. He joined late ahead of 2011 and teammates Takuma Sato and EJ Viso rarely pushed him on pace, while Viso and Rubens Barrichello joined in the eleventh hour before last year.
Now, with Kanaan and Simona de Silvestro’s contracts locked in before the end of 2012, the additional time together has aided the team’s progress.
“The secret is preparation,” Kanaan said in a conference call Wednesday. “We didn’t have a lot of preparation last year. Rubens and EJ signed in late March, right before the championship. We had to hire people; we already started behind. Now, the continuity is already there. We didn’t struggle with development, or in the wind tunnel; we are just more organized.”
Additionally, the youthful and motivated de Silvestro is providing Kanaan a fresh challenge.
“Rubens coming in would push me, but our relationship was that we were ‘brothers’ forever,” Kanaan said. “Simona brought sparks and lightning into the team. I have no problem teaching her, but I like to see her want to do well; it’s her opportunity.”
De Silvestro starred in the St. Pete opener and would have scored her first career podium before her tires evaporated in the dying stages. She admitted setup, more than the gap between Firestone’s primary black or red alternate tires, makes the difference to her car’s handling.
“I think it’s more about setup,” she said. “I never struggled on the tires because I never had the power! Now it is how the car is setup, and how it eats the tires. The gap was extreme last year. I don’t know what they’ll bring to Barber yet. It might be the same as last year.”
After a week off, the IndyCar series heads to Barber on April 7 (3 p.m. EST, NBC Sports Network).