The 2022 IndyCar season has just ended with the Monterey Grand Prix and 15th place in the championship. That result is disappointing but there are still a lot of positives to take away from my first season with Meyer Shank Racing. First of all, I had a great welcome from the whole team. They did all they could to get the best possible results and integrate me into the team. The working environment was extremely stimulating and I cannot thank them enough for everything they did during the season.
It is important to keep in mind that this was the first time Meyer Shank had a full-time two-car line-up in the IndyCar series. We were expecting a few bumps along the way but now that we have 2022 as a base, I can’t wait to get back to work with the team, so that 2023 will live up to our potential and expectations.
The beginning of the season
The first part of the season went well, and everything suggested that a top-eight finish in the championship was possible. The car was competitive, the top speed good. In the first 10 races, we finished in the top 10 six times. The month of May was very encouraging, with a second place at the GMR Grand Prix and an eighth place at the Indy 500. We were eighth in the championship at that point.
Bad luck kicks in
However, the second half of the season was much more complicated, and I have to say that we ran out of luck a little bit. I don’t like to talk about luck or success, but it’s clear that we weren’t very fortunate during the second part of the season. We encountered several mechanical or electronic problems; we even had a radio malfunction. Red flags in qualifying came at the wrong time, preventing us from completing a fast lap, so we had to start from the back of the grid when we could have reached the Fast 6. Of course, these are not the only reasons for our lack of results, and we still have work to do, but the second part of the season simply fell short.
From a technical standpoint, during the races in particular, we suffered from significant tire degradation. This year, Firestone has supplied more fragile tires and we have been impacted more than other teams by this development. I was forced to be less aggressive in the race to manage my tires and was therefore lacking speed. This is unfortunately a difficult problem to correct, as the tires are part of the car package. However, in qualifying, where this issue doesn’t exist, the car was competitive.
I actually thought we would have had more issues at the beginning of the season, but the exact opposite happened. Nevertheless, I remain optimistic because the car is fast and this is confirmed by the lap times in free practice and qualifying. We need to improve reliability, reduce tire degradation and make sure we execute flawless races in 2023. It’s easier said than done, and the work begins the day after the last race.
As far as 2023 is concerned, our potential gives me hope of getting closer to the top six next year. We need a little more time to get the most out of ourselves as well as the car, and I can’t wait to help put everything in place to show it.