Ryan Hunter-Reay: Honda IndyCar deficit concerning and frustrating

Ryan Hunter-Reay says trying to race the Chevrolet IndyCar runners with Honda equipment is currently a 'white knuckle' experience

Ryan Hunter-Reay: Honda IndyCar deficit concerning and frustrating

The Andretti Autosport driver is Honda's top contender at present, fourth in the points among an otherwise all-Chevy top six.

Having won two of the last four races of 2015, Hunter-Reay began the '16 season upbeat about progress with the Honda aero kit but now has doubts.

"It's a bit concerning," the 2012 IndyCar champion and '14 Indianapolis 500 winner told Autosport.

"You are white-knuckling it out there and sweating your rear-end off and holding your breath through the corners trying to get everything you can out of it against Chevrolet, all the while knowing they have a bit of a performance advantage.

"It's a little frustrating."

Hunter-Reay still managed third in the St Petersburg opener and felt second was possible at Phoenix - when he ended up 10th - but for "two extremely unlucky yellows" and is more "optimistic" for this weekend's Long Beach race.

Honda teams have led criticism of the 'domed skid' rule tweak, under which titanium domes are being added to cars' undersides to try to prevent aero lift following last year's spate of airborne accidents in Indy 500 practice.

Hunter-Reay echoed those concerns, and is particularly worried that the change will affect the quality of racing in the 500.

"The key is if we do something for safety that affects performance we have to do whatever we can to re-establish that performance on the racecar," he said.

"In this case whatever downforce we take off the bottom of the car with the domed skid we should be putting back on in the same area.

"The bottom of the car is the most efficient downforce that allows us to run close in traffic, which gives us the great races we have had at Indy."

He expressed sympathy for the rulemakers' position.

"I think we will put a good race on as long as we make the right decisions now," Hunter-Reay said.

"Is the timeframe tight? Yes, it is. Is it necessarily the most ideal situation? No, it's not.

"But I give IndyCar credit for doing anything they can to mix safety with performance.

"I wouldn't want to be in their position. They have so many people in their ears with so many different opinions and directions they can go in.

"I appreciate where they are coming from and I appreciate their thoughts on safety.

"They have to check the safety box off, make sure the performance is still there and they have to get the racing package down so the show is not compromised in any way.

"That's a very tough position to be in."

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