IndyCar » 14 April 2012
Engine penalties 'will stay' says IndyCar
With 14 cars heading into Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with ten-spot grid penalties for engine changes, IndyCar warns the rule isn't going to change.
There will be no change to the current IndyCar rules surrounding penalties for unscheduled engine changes, the series' vice president of technology Will Phillips warned on Friday.
That's despite a decision by one manufacturer, Chevrolet, to order a full change of units for all the teams that it services after an issue was found with the current engine configuration following testing at Infineon Raceway on Monday. The engine manufacturer said that the stresses of actual race use had differed from those expected from simulations and testing, and that the decision had been taken in order to ensure that there was no mass-retirement of up to half a dozen cars during the race.
Together with unrelated miscellaneous changes for three Lotus cars, Chevy's move means that 14 cars in total out of the 26-car field will have ten-spot grid penalties come the start of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday afternoon.
"We've set the precedent, and we need to stick with it," insisted Phillips. "We can't be 'let this go, let that go' to start with, because then you can't tighten it up. It's far better to set the ground rules, have consistent penalties, let you know where you stand."
Phillips said that this weekend's situation with over half the field affected by penalties was "was something different" and wouldn't be repeated. "We've had two good races, a 7 percent failure rate," before this weekend, he pointed out.
"It might seem very harsh now, but looking four, five years down the road for setting the regulations, the basis would be same," he explained. "If a manufacturer comes in with short-life motors, it will cost an awful lot of money to do that, and it's about cost containment."
Teams pay a flat license fee of $690,000 per season to their engine provider which gives them five engines over the course of the 16-race season to allow for extra engines for the Indianapolis 500 and testing as well as race weekend activity.
Phillips also refuted the argument that it wasn't fair for teams to have to pay penalties for their engine provider's problems. "The teams and manufacturers came together as a team," he insisted. "If there are no teams, the manufacturer can't run their product. And if there are no manufacturers, the teams have nothing to run."
While this weekend's engine penalties threatens to effectively hand over control of the starting grid to the Honda-powered teams, Honda isn't having things all its own way either.
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