Engine manufacturers do not even allow teams to keep hold of old engines for test sessions once they exceed their 1850-mile projected life, as the units are returned to the manufacturer for a full strip-down and rebuild before being cycled back into the pool of available engines for teams to draw upon. Only engines that suffer a "catastrophic failure" are rotated out of the pool.
"Trying to get the car developed and get as many miles on it and such as possible, it's in everybody's best interest," Barfield said. "So for us sort of inadvertently putting a regulation out there that disincentivises testing, that is absolutely not what we want."
The relevant section of the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook states that: "Any unapproved engine change out, except those caused by engine failure in a race, will result in a 10-place grid penalty."
However, the rulebook also states that: "An engine that has experienced a problem deemed sufficient to require change-out as mutually agreed by IndyCar and [the] engine manufacturer that is beyond the reasonable control of either the entrant or engine manufacturer (such as faulty fuel, accident, damage to the engines caused by act of God, etc.) may be replaced with an engine from the pool without penalty."
Barfield said that if any of the teams felt that this was the case with this weekend's grid penalties then they could make their case to IndyCar's vice president of technology, Will Phillips. In the longer term, he was looking at holding a meeting with all concerned with a view to how to amend the rule, although he pointed out that one issue was how those teams that had already been hit with a penalty under the existing system would be retrospectively compensated.
Barfield said that he hoped that such a meeting would happen soon, and that he intended to "bring everybody in and share some opinions to see how we feel about where the rule has gotten us and how everybody feels about the possibility of changing it.
"Obviously [it would have to] take into consideration how the teams that have already been penalized this year might look at that precedent, and if it's something the manufacturers would be interested in considering."