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Owners want further delay to aero kits

Car owners in the IZOD IndyCar Series have called for another year's delay in introducing bespoke aerodynamic kits for the new DW12, amid concerns over rising costs.
IZOD IndyCar Series team owners have unanimously called for another year's moratorium in introducing bespoke aerodynamic kits to the cars.

The original plan for the technical upgrade of the series - which this year saw the introduction of the new DW12 chassis from Dallara and the new specification 2.2-litre V6 turbocharged engines from multiple manufacturers - included owners being able to purchase different sets of add-on aerodynamic components for the basic chassis, to make the series less of a single-specification championship.

The aero kits - which would be designed, built and sold by Dallara and the teams' individual engine suppliers - were originally intended to be introduced at the start of 2012, but the IndyCar Series organisers backed down and delayed them after car owners unanimously voted against them coming in this season.

Among the owners' concerns were the cost of purchasing the aero kits - estimated at around $75,000 per kit - and also adding another layer of unpredictability at the same time as the new chassis and engines were being introduced. Teams would need separate kits for each car, with one design for street and road courses and a different one for oval tracks: for a four-car team like Ganassi, that would be an outlay of over half a million for just the initial aero kits alone.

Owners now at least have much greater experience of the new hardware, but with it has come a nasty surprise for them about the cost of the equipment. Scarcity of engine deals has driven up license costs of power plants, while the DW12 chassis was meant to cost around $385,000 but in practice has come in at nearer $600,000.

Moreover, the new series rules dictate that teams must buy replacement components for the cars only from Dallara and cannot use unofficial third-party suppliers, which has driven up the ongoing cost of repairs to damaged cars as Dallara are still trying to recoup the initial investment of the original design of the car. One team owner suggested that costs were a quarter higher year-on-year than the old specification cars.

The rising prices were said to be one of the main factors behind the alleged 'conspiracy' to oust IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard from his job during May. Bernard has promised to look into how the series can cut costs for the car owners moving forward.

"We do have issues, and part of my job is trying to work with them on cost control and bringing costs down," Bernard admitted at the weekend when he spoke to the press at Detroit Belle Isle.

Team owners seem to hope that by cancelling the aero kit requirement for 2013, they can ask for reduced costs from the engine manufacturers: "I'd like to see the engine manufacturers take the money they were going to spend on those kits and take a little more off the engine lease," AJ Foyt is reported as telling SPEED.com.




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