INDIANAPOLIS – Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your…Complaining? The Verizon IndyCar Series will announce soon, that they’ve decided to go ahead with the domed skid plates like originally planned for the upcoming 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Yes, the same skid plates that the Honda drivers were lobbying so hard against. It’s the same ones they said would “ruin the Indy 500.”
Well, IndyCar has made a decision that they will indeed enforce every car, both Honda and Chevrolet entries, to use the domed skid plates at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway next month.
The plate is a safety innovation designed to keep the cars on the ground, as they will add more downforce to the car when it’s spinning. After three cars got airborne in practice last year, the series decided that they couldn’t allow that to happen again, as the domed skid plates will be mandated in May.
To make Honda drivers even madder, the series is also not allowing the teams to use the strakes for the 100th Running as the strake was added in testing last week to add more downforce to counter act with the loss of overall downforce from the domed skid plate.
So, what’s all this mean?
It could spell trouble for Honda teams as almost every Honda driver said that if they’re forced to race the domed skid plates that they were toast unless they can at least add the strakes.
But, without both, they have little to no chance of competiting during the Month of May.
“It’s bad, real bad. You can look at all the windtunnel data you want, but at the end of the day the reality on track is sometimes very different,” Hinchcliffe said about the domed skid plates ahead of the IndyCar test last week. “We’re going to be producing less downforce in the corners and that’s going to destroy the racing at Indianapolis where there is already only one lane in the corners.”
He elaborated even further by saying, “The fact domed skids are even being considered is asinine. They’re arguing safety, which is very bold considering we haven’t had a 90-degree rollover since the DW12 came out. If you put this car in a windtunnel at 90 degrees, you have to be going 300mph for it to blow over.
“So to my mind, they’re trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist and creating a new one by making the cars less stable in dirty air and therefore less raceable.”
Hunter-Reay questions why make a change ahead of the biggest race the series has ever had while Rahal and Andretti said they don’t have much of a chance with those safety rules because it makes the car extremely difficult to drive.
The biggest thing Honda drivers are worrying about is yes, the cars are more stable if they spin, but what about when they’re going forward? The cars are designed to race forward not sideways, so if they’re undriveable moving forward, it’s going to create a lot of opportunities to see how this new mandate works because there may be a lot of crashes.
Several drivers told me during the test that the car feels like it’s in the middle of dirty air in the middle of the pack when you’re running all by yourself. What’s going to happen when they really are in a pack of cars on race day next month?
Chevy drivers on the other hand are saying yes, the car is more difficult to drive with them, but they think the racing will be okay.
Now, there’s no turning back, they better hope this works.