Palou set for six-place IndyCar grid penalty at Detroit

IndyCar points leader Alex Palou will start six places behind wherever he qualifies for the first of the Detroit Grand Prix races this weekend.

Palou set for six-place IndyCar grid penalty at Detroit

The #10 Chip Ganassi Racing driver is the first driver to fall victim to the rule, introduced in 2020, whereby an ‘early’ engine change incurs a six-place grid penalty on road/street courses and a nine-place penalty on ovals.

Palou’s car required a new Honda engine after Carb Day’s final practice for the Indianapolis 500, by which time all race engines for the Indy 500 have been fitted, when HPD spotted an unspecified problem, according to a spokesperson.

The Spaniard went on to fight for the win with Helio Castroneves, and his runner-up finish – at the series’ only double-points race – leaves him leading the championship fight by 36 points, with six rounds down and 10 to go.

But Palou will therefore cede six places for Saturday’s first of the 70-lap races around the 2.35-mile Belle Isle track.

“That's going to make our stuff really hard, but we'll try and have some clean and good strategies, and we'll be up there by the end of the race,” he said.

Although this is Palou’s second year in IndyCar, this will be his first trip to Detroit, since last year’s event was cancelled as a result of the pandemic. There is also just one 75-minute practice before qualifying for the first race, but Palou goes into the weekend with a positive mindset.

“The track looks awesome, really bumpy,” he said. “But yeah, I think the layout is super nice as a street course. I'm looking forward. I think it's super good for me that there's a double race just so I know I have a second chance on Sunday. The Chip Ganassi Racing team had some good results in '19 and '18, so I'm looking forward to it.

“The team had really good results the past years, so I know that Scott is going to be fast, Marcus got his first podium there in '19, so he's going to be really quick, and yeah, I'll be able to learn from all of them and hopefully we can be up there.”

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Barry Cantrell / Motorsport Images

He continued: “I've never been there. It's a street course. It's also more difficult to get up to speed. But it's all right. It is what it is. It's what we have. We have one hour and 15 [minutes] of practice so we'll try and make the most of it, try to run as much as possible, and what gives me a bit of confidence is that at the Indy road course we missed Free Practice 1 because we had an issue and we were able to be up there in qualifying. So I think we should be OK at Detroit, just need to keep focused, look at what my team-mates are doing and try and follow them.

“I've been preparing a lot on the sim – just for myself, not set-up-related. I've been doing it at home, just because it's super important on a street course to really know the bumps, to really get some references. And then aside, as well, we've been working with the team doing the set-up stuff so we don't have to work that much during the race weekend.

Read Also:

“During free practice it's going to be tough. I'm going to have to be able to get up to speed really quick, and I just need to focus on everything. I need to focus on all the bumps. I need to see how the car rides the bumps. That's super important. And then braking zones. I think it's super important on street courses to really nail and attack the braking zones.

“Hopefully we are able to do that soon enough so we can start developing our car during free practice.”

shares
comments

Related video

St. Petersburg extends IndyCar race contract until 2026
Previous article

St. Petersburg extends IndyCar race contract until 2026

Next article

O’Ward: How to beat Dixon to the championship is no mystery

O’Ward: How to beat Dixon to the championship is no mystery
How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled Plus

How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled

Chip Ganassi Racing team was strong again in the Indianapolis 500, with poleman Scott Dixon and reigning champion Alex Palou leading almost three quarters of the race between them. But when dominator Dixon was penalised for pitlane speeding, ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson stepped up to score the biggest win of his career and seize the IndyCar points lead

IndyCar
May 30, 2022
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 21, 2021
How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential Plus

How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential

Romain Grosjean's swashbuckling rookie year in IndyCar captured the imagination of many in 2021. But another ex-Formula 1 driver whose potential was masked by five years of toil in, at best, middling machinery also enjoyed a breakout year in 2021 - winning twice and finishing sixth in points. Here's how Marcus Ericsson finally delivered on his promise

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best Plus

How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best

IndyCar sophomore Alex Palou stunned by overcoming team-mate Scott Dixon and the rest of a white-hot field in 2021. He was consistently fast and crucially showed a level head, rebounding well from setbacks to put himself in a near unassailable position entering the final round

IndyCar
Nov 4, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Plus

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Despite appearing to have an IndyCar job for life with Meyer Shank Racing, Jack Harvey’s departure and move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate. However, Harvey's and RLL's combined strengths could prove to be a winning combination - if they get the balance right

IndyCar
Oct 17, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win Plus

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win

Saturday 16 October marks the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Plus

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong junior career and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with his six-time champion Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021