Q: James, can you talk about what a comfort it is for a driver to return to a team for the 2013 season?
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: We had a strong first year with Andretti Autosport in 2012 in the GoDaddy car. And for me now it's important to build on that and try to improve on the areas where we were a little weak last year, and even on the areas we felt were strong, this is a competitive series and there is always room for improvement. And we're looking forward to just getting 2013 underway.
Q: You mentioned continuity. You're actually going to be reunited this year with Craig Hampson, who engineered you when you won the Rookie of the Year in 2011. Does working with Craig add to the comfort you have with the team?
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: Certainly. The blow we were dealt in January with my engineer, Tino (Belli), from last season leaving that late in the offseason, it makes it very difficult. And I guess when a door closes, a window opens. And we were so fortunate that Craig Hampson was available and sort of a weird twist of events, and everything happens for a reason, you know?
So, for me, the driver‑engineer relationship is so, so critical, and for me to come with a different engineer from last year but at least one I've worked with in the past is such a big step forward.
I think Craig is a tremendous engineer and will be a huge asset to the whole team. But, certainly, everybody on the 27 car is very excited about the opportunity to work with him. I'm over the moon about the opportunity to work with him again. So hopefully we can replicate and better some of the success we had two years ago.
Q: You had a test day last week at Sebring, and I know there is the open two‑day test at Barber in a couple of weeks. But it is some limited testing compared to last year in the preseason. Does last week's testing leave you itching to get back in the car and get the season started?
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: I think the checkered flag in Fontana left me itching to get 2013 started! It's been a long offseason, and with the limited testing compared to last year, all of these things made it probably the longest offseason of my life.
But on the other hand, like I said, it's good to know at the end of last season what I'd be doing this year. And we've been filling some of the time with other things, racing the Rolex 24. I've gotten back to my roots a little bit and doing some go‑karting in the off‑season to stay sharp. But I've been keeping my butt in the seat at the end of the day.
The test last week went really well, and I think everybody's anxious to get this year going.
Q: You mentioned some of your time in the off‑season. I know some of the stuff that you've done in‑season includes some TV, and SPEED announced today that you'll be an analyst for SPEED Center and Wind Tunnel. I know you're not ready to retire to the booth yet, but you seem to have carved out a little niche in TV of late?
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: Yeah, it's been a fun journey. I've had some really cool opportunities on the television side of the board. It's an honor and a privilege that SPEED asked me to come on board a little bit more for this season. We had a really fun time last year with Dave Despain on Wind Tunnel, and it was after that appearance that led to us talking about making it more of a permanent fixture. And I'm happy that we managed to make that happen.
So we can have some fun with it, and hope everybody tunes in to see what we do.
Q: Have you had a chance to think about how you're going to get around these doubleheaders? Detroit, Houston and Toronto, two races on one weekend. Everybody we've talked to says we have to do it, but they're still not sure how to do it. What about you?
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: I don't think anybody's going to have their head around it until the end of the season, if I'm honest. It's such a weird format for us. Qualifying strategies will be completely different, obviously race approaches will be a little bit different, and there's just going to be so much going on.
Ultimately, there are a lot of things that I thought were going to be really good for our sport and ended up being terrible and a lot of things that I thought were going to be terrible ended up being really good. So I'm going to wait and reserve all judgment until we actually get through one, see how it plays out, and kind of go from there.