IndyCar: Coyne makes first offseason announcement with new shock engineer

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Dale Coyne Racing has not confirmed either of its Verizon IndyCar Series drivers for 2015 yet, which isn’t too much of a surprise.

However the team did have one piece of news out late Tuesday night. See release below on DCR’s new shock engineer:

Dale Coyne Racing has been hard at work filling the long offseason with projects and personnel additions as they keep an eye toward a competitive 2015 season.

Several new team members have joined the Dale Coyne Racing team this fall in preparation for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series.  The most recent addition is Stuart Kenworthy who will head up the shock and damper department.

“Stuart brings a wealth of experience from his years at Andretti, Quantum and Chip Ganassi Racing,” commented team owner Dale Coyne.  “We look forward to his contribution and ongoing development in this highly competitive sector of our sport.”

Kenworthy comes to Coyne after a 21-year stint at Andretti Autosport.  Stuart headed the shock department there for several years after learning the trade at Quantum Suspension Technology in England. Prior to his shock and damper work, Stuart was an assistant engineer for Chip Ganassi Racing and worked for Ligier in Formula 1.

“I am happy to make this move and feel I can make a real difference with this cohesive group of racers,” said Kenworthy.  “This team has shown it can be a winner and I hope I can add to the goals that Dale has set for the future.”

Stuart started work with the team in December and has already made visits to manufacturers and 7 post rigs to plan for the competitive 2015 season.

In addition to Kenworthy’s recruitment, Dale has hired additional team members and engineering staff in preparation for 2015.  “Dale deserves a lot of respect for these additions,” commented Team Manager Darren Crouser.  “While most teams are laying people off this time of year, Dale has given the green light to hire the right people to expand this team for next year.”

The team will continue to make improvements to its facilities and adequately address human resource needs during the six month off season.  Testing will resume in late January and early February for the 2015 season.

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images
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Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed their new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with US-based Ford Motors in a press event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Team Principle Christian Horner. They are the only Formula 1 team to launch in the United States, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen had already wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts will inevitably turn to establishing a dynasty – and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his principle rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.