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Wilson: 'poor race craft and vague rules' at Toronto

English driver Justin Wilson has called for greater clarity in the rules governing overtaking in the IndyCar Series after an "embarrassing" display on the streets of Toronto.
English IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson criticised the race craft on display at the crash-filled IndyCar street race in Toronto last weekend, and called for greater clarity in the rules governing overtaking in the sport to help drivers understand where and when they could make moves - and when they should be aware of being on the receiving end of moves from other drivers.

"It was pretty embarrassing", admitted Wilson, who drives the #22 Dreyer & Reinbold car and who finished 15th in the race. "It was bad. It was kind of the perfect storm. Toronto encourages that sort of driving. You've got the concrete patches where there's no grip so people get over-committed before they even realise it, and we had the side-by-side restarts. But ultimately it all came down to people making really bad decisions and poor race craft."

The issue of where a chasing car needed to be on track relative to the car ahead in order for it to be deemed to be making a 'legitimate' pass was also a thorny question for drivers now, Wilson explained in a radio interview for IndyCar magazine show Trackside airing on a local Indianapolis-based station, presented by Indianapolis Star reporter Curt Cavin and VERSUS cable channel pit lane presenter Kevin Lee.

"It's difficult, and I think a lot of this stems from the fact that we don't allow blocking now," said Wilson. "We don't allow defending either. The guy in the lead is forced to stick around on the outside, leave the door wide open and there's a miscommunication because the guy behind thinks 'Oh, I've got this, he's leaving the door open, I'm going to take it.' The guy in front is not planning that at all, he's going for the optimum racing line ... Guess they meet somewhere between corner entry and the apex.

"There's just no rules set in place for the overtaking car to abide by and people as the leading car aren't anticipating well enough that somebody might be trying to fill up spots," he explained. "It's a mess and it needs sorting out - whether that's with some kind of definition of when the car behind deserves a lane, and when it doesn't, and I think that's something that needs to be addressed.

"If not, [then] allow defending," Wilson continued. "Blocking is bad, you know - we all hate seeing the lane tossed just to defend, I think that's bad racing and no one likes to see that. But defending I don't think is such a bad thing and it's part of race craft."

Panther Racing's JR Hildebrand, who finished eighth in the race, also felt that some guidance about where and when overtaking could be attempted on a road course would help avoid the situation seen in Toronto.

"I would definitely agree with Justin that kind of no matter how you look at it, for us - for everyone involved - without a doubt some clarification of, like, 'What is [Race Control]'s idea of a legitimate pass and what's not?' would definitely be helpful, because I think ... whether it's because we're going faster and the stakes are higher or whatever, I think it's a little more clear on ovals."

Hildebrand pointed out that the series' mix of circuits presented a particularly challenging inconsistency through the season. "With the IndyCar Series it's tough, because it's so much different road course to oval," he said. "On an oval, basically if you've got your wing underneath a guy that line should be yours, [whereas on the road courses] you've got to be all the way alongside a guy before its your corner, and I think that makes it tough going from road course to ovals." He suggested that drivers meetings should highlight the difference in expectations as the series moves from one format of track to another to make sure everyone was on the same page.




Related Pictures

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Justin Wilson suited up onPole Day for the 2011 Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 21. [Picture credit: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media]
Will Power wheel-to-wheel with Graham Rahal (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal shows off the his new helmet prior to the morning warmup for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal gets strapped into his machine before the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson roars up the frontstretch during practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson on course during practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais with his son after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
The red flag is waived halting attempts to start Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway and Team Owner Ed Carpenter celebrate victory in Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais gets a congratulatory hug from team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway on his way to victory in the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway jumps for joy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway with the winner`s flag after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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