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Chevy orders all teams to change engines

It's the first blot on the Chevy copybook, after the engine manufacturer dominated qualifying at the first race in St Petersburg and won both of the first two races of the 2012 season with Penske's Castroneves and Power.

But the mass penalty hands a huge advantage to the Honda-powered teams at Long Beach. So far, Honda have suffered just one engine-related problem, with Simon Pagenaud getting a ten-place penalty at St Petersburg.

Lotus have had two engine changes in the first two races of the season with Alex Taliani and Oriol Servia, and it was earlier confirmed that S├ębastien Bourdais would have to change his engine going into Long Beach and will also have a grid penalty to serve.

The en masse Chevy engine switch is likely to increase disquiet in the sport about the teams and drivers being hit by penalties for something that is wholly out of their control, as they have normally no internal access to the sealed units.

Even before the news about the Chevy engine change broke, new IndyCar president of competition Beaux Barfield had said that he shared fans' pain over the teams being penalised in this way and planned to hold a meeting with everyone concerned at the earliest opportunity. [See separate story.]

Barfield was particularly concerned that the current rules can discourage teams from testing the new Dallara chassis and new-specification V6 turbo-charged engines that the series has just introduced at the start of the season.

"Inadvertently putting a regulation out there that disincentivises testing, that is absolutely not what we want," he said on Wednesday.

The irony is that Hinchliffe's engine failure in testing is exactly what highlighted the issue that has now led to Chevrolet's decision to replace all of its engines for Long Beach. If teams weren't participating in the test sessions to catch such developmental issues, then there would have been the risk of an embarrassing and damaging widespread failure during the Sunday afternoon race itself.




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Chevrolet`s Camero pace car. [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
Ryan Hunter-Reay sitting on the 2012 IndyCar Dallara, with Chevrolet power. [Picture copyright: General Motors and Wieck Media Services, Inc]
Ryan Hunter-Reay in the 2012 IndyCar Dallara, with Chevrolet power. [Picture copyright: General Motors and Wieck Media Services, Inc]
Will Power celebrates with his team owner Roger Penske after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Team Chevy sweeps the podium as Tony Kanaan (center), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Saturday, August 30, 2014, during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Teammate Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes second, and Ed Carpenter, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes third. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg EllmanLAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, makes a quick pit stop while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Brian Cleary/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by posing with the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by hoisting the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by kissing the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship with his wife Liz Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
The #12 Penske crew celebrate title success (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates with his daughter Mikaella after winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
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MichaelMS-25 - Unregistered

April 13, 2012 10:36 AM

The irony is, though, that the penalty as it currently stands was introduced at the specific request of the engine manufacturers, not by Indy Car or the teams. In fact, the biggest supporter and pusher of the regulation was Chevrolet, as they didn't want to be outspent/out-tested by Honda.

Boo - Unregistered

April 13, 2012 6:56 AM

Though I'm all for introducing penalties to ensure engines aren't made to break after one race, it seems a bit harsh to have it in place for new engine manufacturers like Chevrolet and Lotus (perhaps even Honda), particularly as the car isn't new either. By all means introduce later in the season, or offer a 3 engine leeway or something, because a move like this with about 12 drivers having penalties, undermines the racing a bit.



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