The biggest talking point leading into this weekend’s round was the shock news that the KVSH Racing entry of Milwaukee Mile winner Sébastien Bourdais was subsequently found to be underweight in post-race scrutineering. The team was fined $5,000 by IndyCar officials, but allowed to keep the win.
The Frenchman earned plaudits for a dominant display and outstanding pace in the 250-lap race around the 1-mile oval, bit his success will be tainted in controversy given the potential performance advantage he would surely have had with an underweight car.
An underweight race car has a performance advantage. That’s called cheating.
The Frenchman’s KVSH Racing entry was deemed to breach the Rule 18.104.22.168 which states: “The minimum weight shall include all lubricants, coolants and camera or dummy camera housings. Fuel, Driver and the Driver equivalency weight are all excluded.”
IndyCar officials did not expand on the reasons as to why Bourdais’ car did not meet the minimum requirement weight of 1600 pounds, though he was able to keep his victory which moved him up to sixth in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
IndyCar has twice before has seen race-winning cars receive post-race penalties for infractions from the officials but were still allowed to keep their victories.
In both cases, the cars involved came from Dayle Coyne Racing. Some illegal bodywork components were found on Justin Wilson’s car after his victory in the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway in 2012, while Carlos Huertas’ shock victory in Race 1 of at last year’s Shell & Penzoil Grand Prix of Houston double-header was later followed by the announcement that his car had been in violation of the rules relating to fuel tank capacity.
In all instances, the victors have been allowed to keep the race win, while the teams received a fine. In any other championship series, the entry would be disqualified.
If a car was found underweight during an FIA scrutineering check in Formula 1 after qualifying or the race for example, being lighter than the current 702kg minimum, the driver and team would be both punished. The driver would be disqualified from the result, whether it is their qualifying time or race result (unless a part of a car has been lost due to an incident causing it to be lighter than usual), and the team would be fined.
“Any competitor failing to meet the minimum weight may lose their qualifying times or be excluded from the race results unless this is due to the accidental loss of part of the car,” the FIA Technical Regulations reads.
If IndyCar followed the FIA’s system, this would have handed the victory over to Team Penske’s Hélio Castroneves – who started dead last – giving him his first win of the season.
It surely begs further examination of how the series can hope to have itself taken seriously as a major international championship when such a pathetic framework is in place.
Image via Motorsport.com
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