The IndyCar Series’ rulemakers have decided to abandon standing race starts for the 2015 season, among a number of other changes to the North American series’ regulations.
Having been a mainstay for rolling, line-astern race starts, the IndyCar Series made a long-awaited switch to standing starts at selected races in 2013, and continued it into the 2014 season where it featured at Long Beach, the Indianapolis road course, and the street circuit races at Toronto and Houston.
The initiative added another layer of excitement to these races, but the potential risks combining driver inexperience, a lack of trackside run-off on all of these circuits’ starting grids and iffy launch systems all came to a head at the Indianapolis road course round. Pole-winner Sebastián Saavedra stalled as the lights went out, and he was collected at high speed by the unsighted Mikhail Aleshin, who was starting further down the grid.
Concerns over a repeat accident have caused officials to revert to rolling starts at all races, although they haven’t ruled out a move back to standing starts in the future, in the right circumstances.
“Most of the tracks we run on, few meet the space criteria for our cars, which are bigger than most formula cars,” said Derrick Walker, IndyCar President of Competition and Operations.
“There is also some development needed with the launch [control systems]. I wouldn’t say it’s out of the picture for the future. We know the fans enjoy it, and we love it, too.”
Next year’s calendar will see a reduction in the number of double points races from three to two: the Indianapolis 500 and the season-ending Grand Prix of Sonoma will be the only events offering 100 championship points for the race winner.
Images via IndyCar Series Media