Dalton Kellett says he is looking forward to working with Sebastian Bourdais as the Canadian steps up to a full-time seat with AJ Foyt Racing for the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series.
Speaking to Paddock Eye following Tuesday’s announcement Kellett said he and Bourdais who tested at Barber Motorsports course following the conclusion of the season have a similar driving style and he believes this will be great for the team and help the team move forward during the season.
Kellett told Paddock Eye that he has been blessed with having great team mates and that really showed as it helped him get up to speed at Indy last year. In terms of working with Sebastian Bourdais, Kellett said that the Frenchman is very analytical, very demanding more so than me (Kellett).
Kellett said that one of the first things he believes he will learn from Seb next season is how to get what he wants out of the car as he felt he wasn’t able to do this in 2020 given that he was and rookie and lacked a little bit of confidence when it came to speaking up about what he wanted from the car.
Kellett said that the feedback from him and Seb to the engineers will be a great help for the team. Kellett said looking ahead to being a full time driver in 2021 he picked out Long Beach and the Music City Grand Prix as two of the tracks he is most looking forward to next season while also looking forward to getting to grips with how the car works on ovals as the Indy 500 was his only oval in 2020.
I’ll tackle the first question first. I think as far as working with Seb, and as a rookie, even though last year was tough, I’ve been pleased with great teammates and having really experienced teammates and that really showed and it really helped me get up to speed at Indy last year, I think having guys like Tony, Charlie there, that was great. Coming on with Seb is going to be a big part of the program.
What I’ve seen from him so far is that as Larry said, he’s very analytical. He’s very demanding, more so than me. I think as a rookie it can be kind of tough to come in with the confident and the kind of, this is what I want, and it has to be this way; and justifiably because you’re a rookie. You don’t quite have the pedigree to kind of say those things.
But also just seeing what it is that he is exacting about and kind of tailor in my feedback and kind of my expectations as far as what I want out of the car. I think that’s going to be the — at least one of the first things I’m going to learn from Seb.
In looking at data and from a simulator day and from some time testing at Barber, it seems like we have pretty complementary driving styles, and when we do like an ABA change and kind of compare apples-to-apples, do the same change on my car and then replicate that on his car. Our feedback seems to be relatively similar. You don’t want — it can be tough when you have one guy that, say, you make a rear spring change and the feedback is different, that can make it difficult for the engineers. It seems like we have kind of similar driving styles, which I think is going to help.
Moving on to your second question, the big challenges this year. I mean, it’s a challenge but it’s also a good thing. We’re going to have a full schedule. I’ll get to experience my first full-time year in IndyCar. There will be a lot more travel than we had this year and new tracks, even though I came up through the road at Indy, there’s a few tracks I haven’t raced on, like Long Beach and we have the Music City Grand Prix coming up which we are all excited for; so there will be some learning opportunities there.
I think last year, Indy was my only oval race, so there will be three ovals. So kind of coming to grips with the IndyCar on an oval. I would say that the Foyt team showed well at Texas last year, so really excited for that, and just excited to be here full-time and back with the team. It’s going to be a good year.
Speaking to Paddock Eye during the same call with Kellett, AJ Foyt Racing President Larry Foyt said that he believes that the pairing of Sebastian Bourdais and Dalton Kellett is great for the team and he believes that they will work tremendously as they both approach things in an analytical way.
Foyt also said that he is looking forward to sitting in on the engineering meetings with the pairing for next season. Testing for the new season gets underway next month.
Yeah, thanks, good to see you all the way from Ireland. I think — and Dalton can probably answer to that, too, because I do like to sit in in a lot of the debriefs in the engineering room and just hear them talk about things.
We saw — you know, I was able to see sides of it from Tony trying to help a rookie like Matheus, and also as Dalton came into the fold and listening to how Tony speaks to Dalton and how Seb speaks to Dalton. It’s interesting, and I think everyone has different strengths and weaknesses and different ways of explaining things.
I think Seb is definitely very analytical, as is Dalton. They both bring that mindset in that’s going to be really interesting to the way they look at data, talk about the race car, and so you know, maybe even Dalton can answer to some of that. But I think they are going to get along splendidly and I think it’s a really good pairing.