Honda confident issues suffered in Texas IndyCar race are a one-off
|By Mark Glendenning||Monday, June 9th 2014, 13:41 GMT|
Honda believes the problem that eliminated three of its drivers from Saturday night's IndyCar race at Texas Motor Speedway will prove to be a one-off.
Marco Andretti and Takuma Sato both suffered fiery engine blow-ups during the race, while Ryan Hunter-Reay also suffered an engine failure but was able to return to the pits before retiring.
HPD senior manager and chief engineer Marc Sours told AUTOSPORT that he believes that the problem has been identified, and that he is confident that there will not be a repeat of the failures.
"The margin of safety is something you're always trying to play with," he said.
"Too much and you might leave something on the table; not enough and you might go too far.
"On the good side of things it looks like the failures were all the same type of failure.
"It's too soon to tell for sure, but it looks like we're chasing one issue, not multiple issues.
"We're scratching our heads at the moment. But we're looking at the data, and we've got a pretty good break between now and the race in Houston.
"So we've got time to learn, and apply what we find out."
IndyCar's engine homologation rules prevent the manufacturers from making substantial changes to their engines mid-season, meaning that the units that failed last weekend are largely the same as those that Honda has used all year.
"You can make subtle changes, but it's not like you can suddenly come up with something completely new," Sours said.
"The durability mode at this track is pretty severe. I don't think there's another track like this on the schedule, and that that caught us out."
Sours said that there had been no forewarning of a problem during practice or qualifying, although even if there had been warning signs, Honda would have been powerless to do much more than change engines and accept the penalty for not reaching each affected unit's 2500-mile minimum threshold.
There is a precedent for this in IndyCar's current engine war era: Chevrolet opted for precautionary engine changes to all 11 of its cars at Long Beach in 2012.
Back then however, the penalty for such changes fell upon the driver rather than the manufacturer.