IndyCar admits Fontana 'pack race' a surprise, criticises backlash

IndyCar head Mark Miles admits the series was suprised by how tightly the field was packed at the controversial Fontana race, but warned the backlash from some quarters was unacceptable

IndyCar admits Fontana 'pack race' a surprise, criticises backlash

Saturday's race - a frenetic, close-combat affair where cars often ran four-wide at over 200mph - was hailed in some quarters as one of the greatest ever, while others invoked the disastrous 2011 Las Vegas event in which Dan Wheldon was killed as they criticised it for being too dangerous.

'Insane' race concerns IndyCar drivers

At least three of the Penske line-up were among drivers who approached the series on Friday to express concerns that the mandated downforce settings were allowing the cars to run too close.

Miles insisted that all of those views were taken into account at the time even if no action was taken to address them.

"Obviously there were drivers that were very concerned about it," Miles said. "That is something we listened to.

"Our folks believe that there are two primary reasons that the racing was so tight.

"One was that we probably did go a step too far with the downforce that we allowed or provided for in the aero spec, and the other was that it ended up being a much cooler race than expected.

"I would say it is a two-sided coin. This is an inherently dangerous sport."

Miles said while it is imperative that drivers still feel they can approach the series privately to express any concerns about safety, steps could be taken to ensure public criticism does not get out of hand.

"We've got to be the kind of sanctioning body that the drivers feel comfortable coming to and believe that smart people listen and make the best judgements possible," he said.

"Not all the drivers have the same point of view about anything.

"It's one thing for our fans and audience and all that and people that care about us to weigh in and have opinions and that's great.

"If they don't, then we really are in trouble as a sport.

"What I didn't love was some of our stakeholders, by whom I mean representatives of teams and certain drivers, I thought, really going too far with their public statements.

"At a moment when people were exhausted from the stimulation of watching that race, even during it, comments started to be made that weren't so much just opinions about the set-up, but were really very, I thought, potentially damaging to the sport.

"Comments can be damaging to the interest of the whole [paddock], and I personally think our sport has been probably too lax in that regard.

"So I expect to see a change in our attitude about that going forward.

"We're not going to be levying sanctions based on comments that were made last weekend, but I do think I need to have a number conversations, and will have them."

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