4 June 2015
IndyCar: Castroneves' Indianapolis penalty amended
Helio Castroneves has had his penalty for causing an accident at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis reduced, while new Detroit infractions have been announced.
Helio Castroneves has been given a boost in the standings in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship, after a formal review of the penalty he received for causing an accident in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis road course event at the start of May cut his points deduction from eight to three points.
Castroneves had made contact with with the back of Scott Dixon's Ganassi car going into the first corner at the start of the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9 and was handed the post-race penalty for causing a collision. However the Penske team appealed, and the fine has now been reduced.
“We were surprised that we got a penalty, quite honestly," team owner Roger Penske said at the time the penalty was originally announced. "We weren't notified of anything during the race that was going to be a review."
"IndyCar established its penalty review process for instances like these and we feel the process was a success," said Derrick Walker, the series' president of competition and operations. "Following our review we have reduced the point penalty to Helio Castroneves from eight to a total of three points, which is in line with a similar penalty issued earlier this season."
The previous penalty referred to was for Ryan Hunter-Reay who caused a collision in the inaugural race at NOLA Motorsport Park in April, in which the Andretti Autosport driver clashed with Simon Pagenaud which resulted in both cars ending the race in the tyre wall, along with Sebastien Bourdais who had been collected in the spat.
The Andretti Autosport driver was docked just three points for that incident, and was also placed on probation for three races meaning that any further subsequent incidents in which he was involved could receive significantly harsher penalties. Castroneves was not formally placed under probation for the incident at Indianapolis.
IndyCar also announced a number of new penalties as a result of infractions last week in the Dual at Detroit doubleheader at Detroit Belle Isle.
KV Racing Technolog's Stefano Coletti was fined $10,000 and placed him on probation for three races for violating rule 22.214.171.124, failing to reduce speed/yield to safety vehicles and personnel under a full course caution during Race 2.
Chip Ganassi Racing's Sage Karam has been handed a five-race probation for avoidable contact during race 2, and crew members of the team have been fined a total of $1,000 for violating rule 126.96.36.199 by having their fueler visors up during race 1.
A Schmidt Peterson Motorsports crew member of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports was also fined $500 for the same infraction, while a Penske crew member received the same fine for a different personal safety equipment violation during in Race 2.
Series officials also announced penalties in the manufacturers championship, with Honda docked 20 manufacturers championship points for the engine of the #26 Andretti Autosport car which had to be replaced at Detroit before it had reached its required life cycle of 2,5000 miles. Following the deduction, Chevrolet has 777 manufacturer championship points and Honda has 758.
Heading into this weekend's Firestone 600 night race at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, the issues surrounding the new oval-specification aero kits developed by Honda and Chevrolet have once again moved to the forefront of consideration. Concerns were raised when several accidents in practice for the Indianapolis 500 saw cars go airborne, leaving to the series imposing emergency restrictions to engine power and aero kit configurations in time for qualifying and the race.
IndyCar has now implemented the use of closure panels to the rear wheel guards of both Honda and Chevrolet superspeedway aero kits beginning at Texas. The new panels were developed by Honda and Chevrolet respectively, and will also be in use at Pocono Raceway and Auto Club Speedway later in the season.
"This has been a collaborative effort with both manufacturers and they have been working on these since the Indianapolis 500 qualifications," said Will Phillips, IndyCar's vice president of technology. "These closure panels serve as a blocker so air cannot flow through the rear wheel guards. This will ultimately raise the point at which cars would experience lift when traveling backwards."
However, Chevrolet's program manager Chris Berube has warned that there is "no magic fix" to stop the problem from ever happening in the future. He insisted that the company had met all the series technical regulations for their aero kit components and added that this was not a manufacturer-specific problem despite the fact that all the cars that had trouble at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last month were Chevrolets, with no corresponding flips for car running Honda components.
IndyCar has also confirmed that the rear wing angle for all entries at Texas this weekend must be set between -6 and -10.5 degrees, which should still result in an increase in overall downforce compared to the 2014 event.
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