The IndyCar Series announced on Friday that it was agreeing to team requests to postpone the oval open test originally scheduled for March 13 at Texas Motor Speedway.
The teams had been concerned that trying to run an oval test less than two weeks before the season opener on the streets of St Petersburg was simply too much additional pressure on an already frantic effort by the teams to prepare their new cars and engines in time for the first race weekend.
Teams were also concerned that with the current lack of spare parts and engines, any testing at Texas could result in damage or unit failures that might mean that they wouldn't be able to run at St Pete at all.
The chances of collision damage at the test are increased by the organisers' need to simulate close proximity pack racing on an oval to ensure that the new DW12 car does not show the same handling characteristics as the old car, which was found to have contributed to the fatal events last October at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"With our teams in the midst of preparations for the first four road/street events of the season, it is more beneficial to move the oval Open Test to early May," said IndyCar's president of competition, Beaux Barfield, in response.
The Texas Open Test will now take place on May 7, officials confirmed. Although that cuts into the teams' traditional build-up for the Indy 500, it's a week after all the equipment is shipped back from the preceding race in Brazil.
Instead of the Texas Open Test, IndyCar has given permission for teams to shift that now-vacant test slot to Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.
"Teams won't be forced to switch to an oval setup then back to a road course setup the week before the season opener under this new schedule," said Barfield. "Additionally this will open the door for teams to utilise this time for one last road course test before the season opener."
Three drivers (Penske's Ryan Briscoe of Team Penske, KV Racing's Tony Kanaan of KV Racing Technology and Bryan Herta Autosports' Alex Tagliani) have already tested at Texas Motor Speedway last month, helping the series organisers to determine the most appropriate aero package on high-speed ovals for its new car.
The new date is still ahead of the first oval race on the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season calendar, which is the Indianapolis 500 on May 27. The series will head to the 1.5 mile Texas oval for the Firestone 550 event on June 9.
Before the Texas Open Test, the series will compete in four consecutive road and street courses: after St Petersburg on March 25 the series heads to Barber Motorsports Park on April 1, Long Beach on April 15 and then to Sao Paulo for the first non-US race of the year on April 29.