Chevrolet has filed an official appeal against IndyCar's decision last month to allow an upgrade to the single turbocharger unit used in Honda's engines.
IndyCar originally allowed the upgrade on April 18 prior to the Long Beach event but a protest from Chevrolet at the time saw Honda have to reverse the upgrade until the official protest hearing was held on April 28. The three-man panel denied the protest and allowed Honda to make the change ahead of the Sao Paulo Indy 300 in Brazil last weekend, but under IndyCar rules Chevrolet had two business days to appeal the ruling.
The disputed upgrade introduces a 0.74 A/R compressor cover that increases the power of the turbocharger and hence the engine as whole. It seeks to put the Honda's engine back on an even footing with Chevrolet's, which has been dominant so far in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
The appeal will be heard next Wednesday, May 9, by a single individual. IndyCar's president of operations and strategy Brian Barnhart has selected retired Indiana Supreme Court Justice Theodore R. Boehm for the role.
Justice Boehm's decision will be final, and neither IndyCar nor either engine manufacturer will be able to further appeal any decision made. Honda representatives will participate in the hearing, and the proceedings will be closed to the public and media
The delay in announcing Chevrolet's formal appeal - which under the rules of the series would have had to have been filed by the end of business on Monday - is thought to be because of discussions to find a suitable person to hear the appeal that would be acceptable to all parties. Under IndyCar rules, Chevrolet will have to pay an additional $20,000 to the series to have the matter referred to a formal appeal.
It was not immediately clear whether a victory for Chevrolet in the appeal would result in repercussions over the use by Honda of the 0.74 A/R compressor cover at Sao Paulo, with IndyCar's permission.
There is no formal deadline for the issuing of the appeal decision by Justice Boehm, although typically the decision is announced on the same day as the hearing or as soon as possible thereafter in order to prevent lingering uncertainty.
With track activity for the 96th Indianapolis 500 scheduled to start just three days after the appeal, IndyCar will be keen to have the matter resolved one way or another before the cars roll out onto the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time.
Relevant parts of the IndyCar rule book read:
13.2.2. Appeal Fee - The appeal fee is $20,000 and is non-refundable. The appeal fee is in addition to the protest fee and any monetary penalty previously assessed.
13.3.2. An appeal may be initiated by submitting the appeal by 5 p.m. E.D.T. of the second business day following the release of the protest decision.
13.4. Jurisdiction - The Appeal Official shall have the exclusive jurisdiction to resolve all appeals. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Appeal Official shall have the right to select an individual or individuals to resolve an appeal with all of the powers and responsibilities of the Appeal Official set forth in this Rule 13. The jurisdiction of the Appeal Official is limited to those matters and issues submitted in the appellant's written appeal. The decision which is the subject of the appeal shall not be stayed pending the appeal unless otherwise determined by the Appeal Official and upon such terms as the Appeal Official deems appropriate.
13.6. Hearing of the Appeal - The Appeal Official shall convene a hearing within 14 days of receipt of the appeal unless the hearing date is extended by the mutual agreement of the Appeal Official and the appellant. The appellant and any Members requesting an opportunity to participate in the proceeding and which the Appeal Official determines to have a material interest in the proceeding shall be given notice of the hearing and shall be entitled to be heard and call witnesses. The effect on championship point standings does not constitute a “material interest”. It is the Appeal Official‟s decision as to whether to may permit a Member to be represented by counsel at a hearing.
13.10. Determination of the Appeal – There is no deadline for the issuance of a decision by the Appeal Official. The time frame will depend upon the nature of the appeal. It is anticipated that a decision will normally be issued within 30 days.
13.11. Appeal Procedure Final - Decisions of Officials shall be final and binding unless such decisions and penalties may be protestable under the Rules, are protested, and appealed within the time limitations and other procedures prescribed by the Rules, and such protests or appeals are pending.