Could Indycar’s Championship Come Down To A Testing Engine Failure?
Indycar’s engine rule’s combine the worst of both worlds. They include a mileage limit before being changed or else come with a 10 spot grid penalty and teams are also limited to 5 changes per season. For hard to explain reason’s instead of having engines reserved for testing the race engines are used and thus, testing comes out of the limits. Because of these rules Bourdais, as well as the entire Chevrolet camp, will have to start 10 spots back of wherever they qualify for Long Beach. I could write a long article about the problems with engine limits (which I may do when I have more time, but for a brief overview, look at Ducati’s MotoGP program) and I could write about the general failure of cost cutting measures in racing (RE: COT) but instead I can sum up the problem in Indycar really quickly. Indycar has set up a situation where the championship could be impacted or even decided based on the engine limits and engine changes, maybe even due to testing. That’s a major problem.
Thankfully I am not alone in concern about this rule. SpeedTV’s Marshall Pruett sums up the problem very well in this article. The only thing I have to add is how much these engine rules impact (negatively) fans and the on track product. Instead of seeing the championship decided on track there is a risk that it will be decided by grid penalties due to engine changes, perhaps even changes from testing! Do you like to see drivers and teams push during the race and qualifying? Engine rules risk that too. While the good news is engine damage from a race that causes a change won’t require a 10 spot penalty there’s only 5 engine changes allowed per year so it’s still a problem. Are you someone who want’s to see races decided on track and not by pit strategy? These penalties may cause (at some tracks like Long Beach) a lot of teams to try and turn the race into a fuel finish to try and re-gain positions that they lost due to the penalty. Those seem like great ways to attract new fans and grow TV ratings above .2, right?