IndyCars 'unsettled' by Indy 500 safety rule tweaks - Rahal team

Safety tweaks to prevent aerial accidents are leaving IndyCars "pretty unsettled" around Indianapolis, according to leading Honda squad Rahal Letterman Lanigan

IndyCars 'unsettled' by Indy 500 safety rule tweaks - Rahal team

Dome-shaped titantium pieces ('domed skids') have been added to cars' undersides to deflect air during spins, but have split paddock opinion.

RLL team manager Rico Nault, whose driver Graham Rahal led Honda's 2015 title charge, remains concerned following testing.

"I would be a lot happier if we didn't have to run it," he argued.

"It's pretty unsettled right now.

"IndyCar has the data that shows when the car gets to 135 degrees around it loses downforce and as it keeps on going [the domed skid] starts piling downforce on the car to keep it from lifting.

"Having that kind of information showing it's safer, they are hard-pressed not to run it.

"But it's only safer when the car is turned around; it's not safer when the car is going straight.

"It makes the car harder to drive so it's probably going to be slower overall.

"They have to do everything they can to make the cars as safe as possible for the drivers and the fans.

"When cars start going around backwards it helps but going straight it is a handful to drive."

IndyCar has also introduced wing flaps that raise during spins, similar to NASCAR's roof flaps.

"It's hard for me to tell you which one is the bigger problem," Nault added.

The debate has polarised the Honda and Chevrolet camps, with Chevy's reigning champion Scott Dixon arguing Honda objections are because they "haven't done their job well enough".

Dixon's team manager Mike Hull said Ganassi "didn't have issues" with the rules.

"From a safety standpoint we understand it and support it so we are going to do everything we can to tune our car to be the best it can be," he said.

"We're not trying to find delegates to vote for us and we're not politicking one way or another.

"IndyCar has come up with this decision after a great deal of study from Chevrolet and Honda and we support the decision.

"If they choose to change the rule then we will work to get ready to race with whatever the rule might be but we are in no way, shape or form involved with that discussion."

Chevrolet drivers Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden and Ed Carpenter all went airborne in 2015 Indianapolis 500 practice.

That led IndyCar to mandate that all teams must qualify with race set-ups instead of trimming the cars for qualifying.

The pole day morning decision put Honda teams at a disadvantage after they had led practice.

The domed skids, designed to deflect air as a car spins, were a joint effort from IndyCar, Chevrolet and Honda engineers.

Nault admitted Honda teams are not currently feeling in good shape for Indy.

"It's real cause for concern. I don't know where we are," he said.

"The teams have some work to do and Honda is working its ass off trying to make things better."

shares
comments
NASCAR driver Vickers in talks for SPM Indianapolis 500 drive

Previous article

NASCAR driver Vickers in talks for SPM Indianapolis 500 drive

Next article

Ryan Hunter-Reay: Honda IndyCar deficit concerning and frustrating

Ryan Hunter-Reay: Honda IndyCar deficit concerning and frustrating
Load comments
Why IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still far from over Plus

Why IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still far from over

OPINION: The 2021 IndyCar silly season has been one of the silliest for many years, as many talented drivers remain in play – with new pieces to the puzzle being added all the time. Here's what we know so far about who will end up where in 2022

IndyCar
Sep 15, 2021
Why IndyCar's generational shift isn't as stark as it appears Plus

Why IndyCar's generational shift isn't as stark as it appears

OPINION: The rise of two drivers racing only their second full-season IndyCar campaigns to head the points with four races to go has led to some observers doubting the credentials of the old guard. But they haven't faded away, there's merely a deeper talent pool that is helping to make this season one of the best in recent years

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indycar rookie Plus

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indycar rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in Indycar for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular team-mate Mauro Martini's passion for racing

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021
The two key areas where Dixon needs to re-assert his authority Plus

The two key areas where Dixon needs to re-assert his authority

OPINION: Having been Chip Ganassi Racing's IndyCar focal point for the best part of a decade, Scott Dixon has been so far outgunned by new team-mate Alex Palou in 2021. After finishing behind the Spaniard at his traditional happy hunting ground at Mid-Ohio, Dixon has work to do to assume his traditional position in the team and the standings

IndyCar
Jul 6, 2021
The winners and losers of IndyCar 2021 so far Plus

The winners and losers of IndyCar 2021 so far

At the halfway point in the 2021 IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels?

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Plus

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, he explained his tactics

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Plus

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after edging past Alex Palou on the penultimate lap of a thrilling race that validated Michael Shank's faith in the veteran Brazilian - who is discovering that there is life after Penske after all

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021