“I think what we needed most was pretty simple, and that’s just direction,” said Graham Rahal, who is consistently in tune with the management of RLL as much as he is the team’s veteran driver.
“I thought that from the top on down, we needed a clearer path, from the engineering corps in particular. We didn’t have a technical director. We didn’t really have somebody that was leading the charge.
“We didn’t have enough depth. That’s becoming clearer to us now that we know like what McLaren is doing. With Stefano coming in you see what all they’re doing, and we were not even in the ballpark as far as depth and stuff like that. We’ve learned that now.
“It’s not like we’ve fired a bunch of engineers. Our guys are good. We’ve got good people. But we needed direction, and we needed somebody to kind of stand up and go, no, this is a — I’m not going to say what it is, but there was some testing we’ve done for a while that we’ve all been saying, this is worthless, we’re getting nothing out of it, but we kept getting told, no, we’ve got to do it.
“Luckily Stefano [Sordo] comes in and says, ‘That’s worthless. Why are you doing that?’ Thank goodness. Here’s somebody else who can back up what we’ve been saying for a long time. Now we can focus our energy.
“I thought that’s what Stefano really brought to the table. Kind of helped drive us a little bit better, so I’m really excited about that. Hopefully we can put all those pieces together and have a great year.”
Last year, Rahal finished 11th in the overall standings, the lowest he’s ended the season since 2014. His two team-mates also struggled to have consistent results, although Christian Lundgaard was able to log top 10 finishes more often as his rookie season went on.
The team’s new technical director may well be the piece the team was lacking to help them keep up with their competitors in 2023.