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."

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