After finishing third in Sunday's Edmonton Indy, Will Power renewed his push for horsepower increase, prompting a discussion with second-place finisher Takuma Sato at the post-race press conference about the competition provided by the Dallara DW12 chassis.
Asked if the race at the Edmonton airport circuit was physical, given that there were no yellow flags, Power responded, “It wasn't actually, because you have three long straights to recover on. The old track you never, ever stopped turning, so it was much more physical.
“To me, this car, no question, is easier to drive. It has a lot of grip. It's too easy to drive. You can tell, because there were no yellows, there were no mistakes. I would love another 200 horsepower or so, a bit less downforce, tires that go off more.
“All in all, at the end of the day, what an easy car to drive does is compresses the field. You have to find small details of speed, so it does make things more competitive.”
Sato agreed with Power's assessment that the car needs more horsepower, but disagreed that it made the car easy to drive.
“There is always argument. Among the lead guys, it's always difficult – Formula Ford, Formula 1, IndyCar, it's all difficult. Will says easy? Not easy.”
The Japanese driver described the DW12 as “a very sophisticated car, very technical, so if it goes ‘off' you can feel it a little bit more, maybe you can catch it.
“Will is right. The car has' more downforce and great tires, a lot of grip so we need a little bit more power. Now there's obviously engine competition, we see bit by bit that coming together with the ‘push to pass'. Compared to some of the older, big-powered cars, it may be easier, but you still have to drive absolutely on the limit.
“I think it shows the car is good, and is much more tolerant so you can get in the [aerodynamic] tow. A good example, the 500, or any race you can see passing. Even the street courses – yesterday was difficult – you can overtake. I think it's fantastic from that point of view.”
Power agreed that the tightness of the field provided its own challenge, even if he didn't necessarily like the reason for it.
“With it so tightly packed, I'm looking for driver details I've never looked for in my life, just minute little bits of time to find on someone, because the field is so compressed. To me it's the most competitive field I've ever raced in. I've never had to search so hard for speed in my life.
“When I say ‘easy,' I would say more forgiving because it's a good tire and there's a lot of downforce. When you lose it, it was easier to fall off track in the old car. That doesn't mean it's easier now to be fast. In fact, it's harder when you have almost the whole field covered by a second. One tenth moves you a lot.
“It's a good formula, creating good racing. As a driver, you always want more power. He [Sato] has driven things with about 1,000 horsepower, the Honda F1 car, so he knows what horsepower feels like!”