Don't get me wrong, I respect Tony's raw talent; in terms of getting the best out of a car that's not working properly, he's one of the best in the business. But as far as setting up the car is concerned, Ryan, Danica, Mike and me can work as a team now. The four of us get on really, really well together and we're all real people. If one of us is upset with another, we'll tell him or her right away and get it sorted out. We'll be genuine and we won't go behind closed doors to stir things up. This year I think there's a chance we can have the same sort of chemistry that existed when things were good with this team.
I have to give Ryan props for bringing a lot to our team from the standpoint of street course setups. Him and his engineer Ray did a great job last year – obviously, Long Beach, but also Sao Paulo and Toronto – and that setup has been further evolved. In our team, Ryan's the guy to beat on the 90-degree corners on street courses, and on road courses I've been more at home, so he and his engineer bring us their setups and we bring them ours, and we work out how to beat each other, then the whole team can move forward now.
So it seems like I'm being hard on Tony, but it's nothing I wouldn't have said to him. I don't like holding back anymore because that's been killing me, to be honest. If I let people talk and I don't talk, then the perception he puts out there becomes reality. Well I'm telling you, it's not reality. TK would work with Ryan behind closed doors so they had the same setups, and I don't agree with that way of working. If I'd gone with Ryan's setups, I'd have been just as quick as him, but the way TK operated took away Ryan's confidence in me.
OK, we're drivers – we're all selfish people – but that kind of thing doesn't help Andretti Autosport. It just helps one car – not three – improve to the level of the best car in the group. When you don't have the confidence in your teammate, you're not going to buy anything that he's saying, which makes it difficult for the whole team to gel together. If I find something and I'm absolutely adamant it makes a positive difference, but I can't get the other three to try it, then we can't evolve it in the restricted track time available to us.
With Ryan, Mike and Danica, I can get a second or third opinion, weigh up the pros and cons, do a back-to-back comparison with a different part. Now, when Ryan and I go to a test and I put four tenths on him, he's able to think, “OK, Marco knows what he's talking about,” and he gains confidence in me, just like I have in him. That's good; that's how teams are supposed to mesh.
So, while I left Barber knowing we've got work to do, I'm confident that between the four Andretti cars, there's going to be a completely open exchange of information, and we can work toward a common goal. We want to be clicking, so that we can all show our potential. And I hope to be doing that in the No. 26 Venom car right from the start of practice at St. Petersburg.