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No engine starting grid penalties during Indy

IndyCar has announced that any grid penalties incurred between the end of this weekend's race in Sao Paulo and the Indianapolis 500 in May will be deferred to June.
The IZOD IndyCar Series is to suspend the serving of any starting grid penalties incurred by teams for unscheduled engine penalties until after the running of the 96th Indianapolis 500 race on May 27.

The suspension comes into effect immediately following this weekend's Sao Paulo Indy 300 race in Brazil, and will mean that any team that needs to make an engine change between then and the start of the Indianapolis 500 race will not serve the usual mandatory ten-place penalty in the May race.

The period covers the IZOD IndyCar Series Open Test on May 7 at Texas Motor Speedway, rookie and team testing, and on-track activity at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway up to and including Bump Day (the final day of qualifying) on May 20.

"We do not intend to apply any penalties that will disrupt the Indy 500 starting field from their qualifying positions," said IndyCar's vice president of technology Will Phillips.

However, teams will still have to serve any penalties incurred during this time at the following race at Detroit Belle Isle on June 3.

"We're not saying there will not be any penalties; the penalties just won't be served at Indianapolis," Phillips confirmed. "They'll carry that penalty forward to the next event. Likewise, if someone racks up two penalties, they will go forward to the next two events."

The move is to ensure that the prestigious Indy 500 isn't affected by the same mass grid penalty that hit the recent street race at Long Beach, after Chevrolet instructed all of its teams to change engines before the race.

As a result of the penalties, over half the grid ended up not starting in the position in which they had qualified, and IndyCar is concerned about the fan reaction if the same thing were to happen at the series' flagship annual event.

Under already-announced plans for the Indy 500, all teams will receive a fresh engine from their supplier for the 500 mile race which is expected to be installed ahead of final practice (also known as Carb Day) before race day.




Related Pictures

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The 33 starters line up ready for the green flat to begin the centennial Indianapolis 500. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday May 29, 2011. [Picture credit: Ron McQueeney for IndyCar Media]
The start of the 2011 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29: Alex Tagliani (bottom), Scott Dixon (middle) and Oriol Servia (top) form the front row. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Simon Pagenaud and Ryan Briscoe go wheel-to-wheel during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon streaks across the start/finish line during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon crosses the start/finish line during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power sits on pit lane prior to the evening Open Test session at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud preps on pit lane prior to the evening Open Test session at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in his pit stand at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in his pit stand prior to track activity during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon leaves pit lane (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Crossing the start/finish line during testing (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Cars jostling for position through turn 2 during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Racewa (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The confetti flies as Scott Dixon celebrates winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon takes the twin chequered flags to win the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates his win in Victory Circle after the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
The cars of Ryan Briscoe and Sebastien Bourdais go off course during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The cars of Ryan Briscoe and Sebastien Bourdais go off course during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)

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MartinJSUK

April 26, 2012 9:02 AM

This smacks of making the rules up as you go along in order to prevent a PR disaster at your flagship event. My sympathies go to people who've already paid to go to the Detroit race unaware that it was considered a second-class event by the championship.



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