Whincup: New partnership ‘a motivator’ for 2014
After seven seasons and five championships with Mark Dutton, Jamie Whincup says that working with a new race engineer will provide strong motivation for this year’s campaign.
Red Bull Racing Australia confirmed earlier this week that it will promote Dutton to the role of team manager, which team principal Roland Dane had himself filled following the mid-season exit of Adrian Burgess.
Whincup will now work alongside his former data engineer David Cauchi, who was placed at Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport for the balance of last season in order to gain experience in the race engineer position.
The 30-year-old Whincup has taken 73 of his 75 career race wins alongside Dutton in what is regarded as the greatest driver-engineer partnership in the history of the category.
“It’s a motivator, for sure, because 99 percent of my results have come with Dutto,” Whincup told Speedcafe.com of the change.
“To be honest it’s a good challenge for all three of us. I’m all for change, I don’t like things staying the same and getting stale, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“We’re all going to see what potential Cauchi has got now. He’s been with us (Triple Eight) for five or six years now and put his toe in the water in race engineering with Dean Fiore last year, which will help him make the shift.
“Now it’s a matter of us two working alongside each other. I’m not a rookie anymore, I’m a senior driver now, and I’d like to think I can help Cauchi become a very good race engineer.”
Although stopping short of saying that he’ll start the season on the back foot, Whincup admits that polishing the relationship with Cauchi will be a work in progress.
“(Building) the communication will without doubt take time,” he said.
“Dutto and I had a bit of a black art going on. We could just have a small chat and new exactly what each other meant.
“It’s going to be a little bit more of a process where we’ve got to get into a bit more detail of numbers and facts rather than just having a quick chat and working it out.
“Dutto won’t be far away though either, he’ll be in the debriefs and standing right beside Cauchi in pitlane. It’s not like we’ve lost him to another team.”
Whincup praised Dane’s decision to source Red Bull’s new team manager from within the organisation.
Dane has been scathing of Burgess’ decision to leave Red Bull for the role of managing director at Walkinshaw Racing, describing the Englishman as a “motor racing mercenary”.
“It’s a nice feeling knowing that we are putting our trust in one of our own, that’s the most important thing,” said Whincup.
“He (Dutton) has been at Triple Eight since the Briggs (Briggs Motorsport) days; he’s well and truly part of the mould.”
Craig Lowndes’ race engineer Jeromy Moore was also hired by John Briggs, who ran the Queensland-based outfit prior to the Triple Eight takeover in September, 2003.
Moore has been promoted to chief designer under the management reshuffle but will continue to work on Lowndes’ car during race weekends.