Despite resoundingly negative feedback, the IndyCar Series’ controversial engine change penalty system will remain in place for the 2013 season.
Last season saw the series return to manufacturer rivalry, with Chevrolet and Lotus joining Honda as engine suppliers. The series’ rules were tweaked, dictating each driver was limited to five engines for the season. If the limit was exceeded or an engine changed before it reached its minimum mileage threshold, the driver would cop a ten-place grid penalty.
But the advent of new engine regulations saw all three engine manufacturers struggle with reliability concerns, and many events’ starting grids were completely reshuffled due to engine changes. The most extreme example came at Long Beach, where all of the Chevrolet runners took precautionary engine changes after qualifying.
After much discussion during the off-season, the series’ powers that be opted to leave the regulation framework ‘as is’, as part of a broader communication to the media outlining other changes to the rules in play for the 2013 season.
“Our engine regulations were created to ensure cost-containment measures for both the manufacturers and teams, and those will continue in 2013,” IndyCar’s technical chief, Will Phillips, said.
“We looked at a variety of options to potentially replace our unapproved engine change penalty, seeking feedback from the teams and manufacturers.
“After careful consideration and heavy debate, we believe our best option was to continue with the 10-spot grid penalty. We feel it is important to continue to be consistent with this penalty for both the long and short term.”
Among other changes to the 2013 rules were tweaks to the points-scoring structure – those classified as 19th- to 25th-placed finishers will no longer score the same number of points – while drivers found guilty of impeding another competitor in qualifying will be barred from progressing to the next session, in addition to having their fastest two lap-times from the session in question revoked.