Chevrolet contingent forced to take engine-change penalty for Long Beach
||Friday, April 13th 2012, 05:37 GMT
The entire Chevrolet-powered contingent on the IndyCar Series grid will be hit with 10-place grid penalties at Long Beach after the manufacturer decided to change the engines on all 11 of its entries ahead of this weekend's event.
Following a strip-down inspection of Andretti Autosport driver James Hinchcliffe's faulty engine, Chevrolet decided that the problem affecting the Canadian's 2.2-litre V6 turbocharged engine could be a universal one and that it made sense to change them all.
Those affected include Penske Racing, which has won the opening two races and whose driver Helio Castroneves leads the points standings.
"We are still learning the limitations of the new engine controls calibration," said Chevrolet Racing's programme manager Chris Berube. "Through our testing in Sonoma, as indicated by an engine issue, we uncovered a problem that we believe could affect all engines.
"So, as a result, we feel it is prudent to change all engines prior to the start of the on-track activities this weekend."
"We intently discussed the situation with our partners and our teams prior to determining that this was the best course of action to preserve the integrity of the racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series," he said.
Because the engines in question have been changed before they have reached their minimum mileage threshold of 1,850 miles the cars they powered must take a 10-place grid penalty.
Owner driver Ed Carpenter, whose team uses the Chevrolet engine said: "It's obviously not ideal, but we're all playing by the same rules. It's the safest choice and, even though we're starting at a disadvantage from the get-go, it's better than potentially having an issue later on.
"It's a learning process for all of us, and it's not a decision they made lightly."
Hinchcliffe, who had already taken a penalty for his engine change before Chevrolet took the decision, said that Andretti Autosport had taken the decision on the chin.
"It's a bummer, but now at least I'm not alone," he said. "There will now be some good racing happening mid-pack. The engine mileage rule is a tremendous engineering challenge and ultimately helps improve technology for the automotive industry.
"It would be easy to complain about how harsh (the penalty) is, but I think the attitude of everyone on the Go Daddy crew is that when the going gets tough, it's time to nut up, buckle down and push hard for the best result possible. And that's exactly what we're going to do."