Rubens Barrichello believes that strategy plays a far greater role in the IZOD IndyCar Series than it does in Formula 1 following his series debut at St. Petersburg.
The 11-time grand prix winner came home 17th in his first IndyCar race, having run out of fuel at the end after spending most of the season opener battling in the midfield. He admitted that he was surprised at how important fuel saving was in the series, and he said it was the main thing he learned from his first race.
"I was pleased that I got so much better during the race, but parts of it were frustrating," Barrichello wrote in a blog for USA Today. "I was in fuel-saving mode throughout most of the race, which is something I'm not used to doing. I wasn't allowed to push all the way through.
"In America, we're going to have to learn how to be patient and deal with saving fuel as a strategy to win races. I feel like strategy is going to be a much greater part of this form of racing than it was for me in Formula 1."
The 39-year-old added that he was not particularly excited about racing to a target fuel mileage.
"I'm the type of driver who wants to push," he said. "I want to go flat-out at all times, but this race was save, save, save all the way. To add to that, we also had trouble with a fuel gauge that was giving us bad information, so I ended up running out of fuel.
"In IndyCar, there are so many elements of strategy in relation to the yellow flags and fuel. It's something I'm going to have to learn.
"I wasn't really allowed to push the car as hard as I could, and that was frustrating. But I'm going to take the race as a positive. I learned a great deal about racing in the IndyCar Series."