Indy car veteran Alex Tagliani has revealed his intention to keep racing into his 40s, having been inspired by Michael Schumacher's return to Formula 1 for 2010.
In an interview for a feature on the new FAZZT Race Team, published in the forthcoming March issue of RACER [click here for a subscription], the 37-year-old Canadian revealed: “I'll stop at the age Schumi stops! Seriously, I am thinking like Michael. Racing is about how dedicated you are and how prepared you are to stay fit. Whatever you've got, you've got it and can keep it.
“When you're past 40, it becomes a mental thing,” continued Tagliani, “where if you want to stay fit, you can. Look at Michael: His fitness level is very high and he's very talented, so if he hadn't left racing for three years, he'd have been keeping his level, and I'm sure he will get back to that level. I think I have the same chance to do what he's doing but without having left racing for three years.”
Tagliani stated his belief that the FAZZT Race Team, set up by Canadian entrepreneur Andre Azzi and Rubicon Sports Agency founder Jim Freudenberg, could be a top-six challenger from the start of the season, especially given very promising tests.
“We all have our crazy talks,” he said, “but to be honest, we could be as far forward on the grid as you could possibly imagine – or we could be totally lost for the first race. But I truly believe we have the capabilities to beat anyone on a street or road course, and we definitely are doing everything we can to be very, very strong in those first four races.
“I'll say it like this: We have an attitude and approach of going there to win, but, of course, we have a side of us that is very logical, right? We know exactly the little things FAZZT probably won't have maybe to win – but we're still not thinking we're gonna lose. We go there with one approach, one mindset, one type of work ethic.
“As Rob [Edwards, general manager and technical director] will tell you, we are fighting things that well-established teams don't have to fight. They've been working with their stuff for years: we've been working with this stuff for a few months, and working with each other only now. So, those are the little things that are maybe taking away from the chances to win. But we won't approach it with less motivation.
“In testing, we've been faster and more problem-free than we expected to be, I already have a very good relationship with Allen McDonald [race engineer] and we know what new parts are coming on the car. So, even though we know there will be some challenges in the season ahead, and we accept that some times we may be a little lost, there is a confidence here that there's nothing we can't overcome.”
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As well as the Tagliani and FAZZT Race Team feature, the March issue of RACER contains the prestigious RACER of the Year Awards presented by Mobil 1, an interview with double IndyCar Series champ Scott Dixon, one of Bryan Herta's classic Racer2Racer interviews – this time with U.S. motorsport demigod Dan Gurney, analysis of Michael Schumacher's return to Formula 1, and Tom Jensen's dissection of how NASCAR is attempting a hasty rebuild of its reputation for great racing.
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