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Power reveals 2% fuel error cost Toronto IndyCar podium shot

Team Penske’s Will Power has shed further light on the fuel error that caused him to make an emergency pitstop on the last lap of Sunday’s IndyCar race at Toronto.

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Power was running fourth, closing in on Alex Palou and Colton Herta, when he was forced into a splash-and-go stop as the white flag flew after his team miscalculated how much fuel he had used on his final stint.

Team-mate Josef Newgarden was similarly affected but had saved enough fuel to make the finish in fifth place – although his car spluttered to a halt on the in-lap. Power slumped to 14th.

“The fuel estimation was 2% wrong,” Power revealed. “That was the problem. We had a 2% error.

“Even if it was just 1% wrong, we're making it, but 2%... We were on par for the numbers that were given to me. Everyone was expecting that we would make it.

“So it was such a surprise when we saw a fuel light come on, which is triggered by the fuel collector, a little canister in the car.

“Once there's 1.8 gallons left, that gives you the first indication of exactly where your fuel’s at. Otherwise, you're only guessing at what the engine manufacturer tells you.

“You get, I think, 18.4 gallons. So, you're guessing the [usage of] 16.6 gallons – you're at the mercy of what they've seen all weekend of how much fuel it has used over those practices, and then you can guess through that until it gets down to the collector.

“That trigger came on much earlier than we expected, which is from the 2% error.”

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Power believes he could otherwise have challenged those ahead of him, who both pitted before him and were in full fuel-save mode.

“That was maybe a potentially top three or maybe even second,” he rued. “But I heard it running out lifting on the back straight.

“That's no one's fault. It's just one of those things. Who would think 2% error? 1% percent error, yeah, fair enough – but 2% unfortunately.”

Power thinks that IndyCar should allow teams to run fuel-flow meters, to accurately gauge their usage and avoid situations where cars run out on track – which is especially dangerous on oval tracks.

“IndyCar should allow fuel flow meters, they should,” he said. “Because the amount of money teams spend on building the collector in there, then you know exactly where it is.

“I think they don't do it for cost reasons because, it's probably around ten grand for a fuel flow meter. Yeah, it would make the strategy much easier, much easier.

“Is that good or bad? You just wouldn't have that [risk of] error in there.”

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