7 May 2015
IndyCar: Honda stays ahead in manufacturers battle
Despite having won three of the first four races of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series, Chevrolet nonetheless find themselves behind rivals Honda in the points.
Verizon IndyCar Series engine providers Honda has pulled out a big lead in the manufacturers' championship points standings over arch rivals Chevrolet, even though Chevy has been enjoying a string of on-track successes in the first four races of the 2015 season to date.
Heading into this week's road course race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Honda finds itself with a total of 380 manufacturer points compared to Chevrolet's tally of just 216 points, a 164 point lead for the Japanese company.
Chevrolet took a big hit in the standings last month when it received a total points deduction of 220 for undertaking unscheduled repairs on 11 of the 12 power units in use for the season opener at St Petersburg. Each repair carried an individual penalty of 20 points, and the net result was to put Chevrolet into negative territory.
Chevrolet subsequently explained that potentially faulty valve springs due to a process change at one of their suppliers had been the cause of the concern. "We discovered an issue in durability testing after these race engines were built, and decided to make repairs as a precaution," explained Chris Berube, Chevrolet's program manager for IndyCar.
Chevrolet received a further deduction of 20 manufacturer championship points following the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama held at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. on April 26 for a further non-minor engine repair to the engine in the #8 Chip Ganassi Racing entry.
Even though Honda has only won one race so far in what has been a Chevy-dominated season to date when James Hinchcliffe claimed the chequered flag at NOLA Motorsports Park, its lead in the manufacturers' battle has now been further boosted following the Indianapolis 500 Open Test Day on May 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Honda received a bonus of 30 engine manufacturer points for reaching the designated life cycle minimum for three of its engines. According to Rule 10.6.4.2 of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook, any engine that reaches a lifespan of 2,500 miles will receive 10 bonus for its manufacturer, and in this case that requirement was met by the Rahal Letterman Lanigan #15 entry, the Andretti Autosport #26 car and also by the Bryan Herta Autosport #98.
Four of Chevrolet's engines - those in the Team Penske #1 and #22 cars, and the #9 and #10 Chip Ganassi Racing entries - did reach the 2,500-mile distance, but as per Rule 10.6.4.4 they were no longer eligible for bonus points as they had been among the engines to have undergone the non-minor repairs at St Pete. Instead, Chevrolet received a new deduction of 20 points under Rule 10.6.4.3 after the engine in Chip Ganassi Racing's #83 entry failed to reach the 2,500-mile target before being swapped out before it was changed out.
The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama also saw a number of additional penalties on crew members working at Barber Motorsports Park.
Team Penske crew members of Team Penske were fined a total of $1,500 for violating Rule 7.9.6 relating to the failure to properly attend to equipment during pit stop. A crew member of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams was also fined $500 for violating the same regulation, while KV Racing Technology was fined $500 for violating Rule 184.108.40.206 after one of their cars inadvertently drove over their own airhose during a pit stop.
However, IndyCar withdrew an earlier $500 penalty imposed on a crew member of KV Racing Technology at the previous race at Long Beach. A further internal review determined that the crew member in question had not violated Rule 220.127.116.11 (f) (fuelling without visor down) as originally believed.
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