IndyCar split over 'domed skids' tweak to avoid airborne crashes

Marco Andretti led a weather-plagued Indianapolis Motor Speedway test on Wednesday, as IndyCar teams evaluated technical changes designed to prevent the airborne accidents that struck during 2015 Indy 500 practice

IndyCar split over 'domed skids' tweak to avoid airborne crashes

Several Chevrolet runners became airborne following spins in the build-up to last year's event.

ANALYSIS: The drama in 2015 Indy 500 practice

For 2016, IndyCar has introduced 'domed skids' - dome shaped pieces of titanium - on cars' undersides for superspeedways to increase ground clearance and reduce the likelihood of aerodynamic lift when sideways.

This week Chevrolet held a private manufacturer test at Indianapolis on Tuesday, with one Honda team allowed, before 15 drivers participated in Wednesday's open test.

The running was billed as a 'safety test' for the manufacturers to evaluate their superspeedway aerodynamic configurations ahead of Indy's 'Month of May'.

There have been concerns in the paddock that the domed skids will make cars harder to drive at Indy and reduce overtaking, which had reached record levels for the 500 since the introduction of the Dallara DW12 chassis.

Reigning IndyCar champion and 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon backed the changes.

"It's a big improvement, especially in the 90-degree yaw," Dixon said.

"We've got to look at safety before anything.

"Yes, it's going to make the car maybe a little more difficult [to drive], but every car has a pedal and we have more downforce to put on to compensate for the loss.

"I think it's fine, I think it's more of a political fight than anything.

"Honda, I think, feel that they're at a disadvantage because they basically haven't done their job well enough, so they're trying to politick for other things."

Graham Rahal, whose Rahal Letterman Lanigan team runs Honda kit, is among those concerned about how the domed skids will affect the racing.

"It's going to take some work to get them to where we need them to be to be raceable," he said.

"It looks like that will be a rule imposed by IndyCar and we need to figure out how to make it a decent show."

The Wednesday test session featured two hours and 15 minutes of uninterrupted running before rain started just after midday local time.

Another brief sprinkle stopped the afternoon session and by then heavy winds led many teams to pack up and leave the Speedway.

Andretti led the test with a 40.2816-second, 223.427mph lap, ahead of Andretti Autosport team-mate Ryan Hunter-Reay on a 40.5319s.

Top Chevy runner was Penske's Simon Pagenaud with a 40.6701s in third, with Josef Newgarden and Carlos Munoz completing the top five.

Dixon, who was 10th quickest, was among drivers keen for additional running in better weather.

"If you can run in ideal conditions, you want to," he said.

"If you're looking at three weeks from now or something, the weather's probably going to be a lot nicer, and at least warmer.

"The wind is probably the worst thing around here today and yesterday was very cool.

"I don't think you'd get any team turning down another test, especially here."

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