Newly appointed IndyCar race director Beaux Barfield says that he decided against a total rewrite of the series regulations for 2012, opting instead for relatively minor tweaks.
"For me, it's important that certain rules make sense for my style, but being careful to not cut out too many elements that have value," Barfield said.
"There's a lot of heritage to these rules that you want to preserve and make sure you don't create any pitfalls by getting rid of items. At the conclusion of the 2012 season, this rulebook will be the base and we'll start immediately on 2013."
Chief among the changes, which were announced today, is the introduction of an instant messaging system between race control and officials, entrants or the entire field to communicate track conditions, warnings and other information. Team managers will also be able to contact race control directly.
This should eliminate situations such as the chaotic restart at New Hampshire last year, where Barfield's controversial predecessor Brian Barnhart's decision to call for a green flag in wet conditions despite pleas to the contrary from the pitlane resulted in a multi-car accident.
The series has now also mandated a minimum of two track condition warning lights for the steering wheel, and introduced manufacturers' points to allow for the crowning of a champion from among the three engine manufacturers Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus. Points will be awarded 9-6-3 for the highest finisher for each of the three manufacturers.
An additional open oval test at Texas has also been added for March 13.