IndyCar race director talks about Sato’s tactics in Brazil


IndyCar race director Beaux Barfield has spoken out on Takuma Sato’s driving maneuvers during the final laps of Sunday’s Sao Paulo Indy 300, in which the ex-Formula One racer used some borderline moves to repel attempts from Josef Newgarden and James Hinchcliffe to take his lead.

In comments made to The Indianapolis Star, Barfield said that Sato was mostly following the curve of Sao Paulo’s backstretch, where he appeared to move toward the inside to stymie both Newgarden and Hinchcliffe. Race Control reviewed Sato on both counts but opted not to penalize him, and Hinchcliffe managed to get past Sato in the final corner on the last lap to take the win.

In addition, Barfield maintains that camera angles were unable to give him and his team enough to decide whether Sato moved along with his pursuers in mere defense or in reaction to their attempts. With no clear evidence in their eyes, Race Control opted to let the drivers duke it out.

“He was aggressive [and] right on the edge,” Barfield said. “We looked at so many clips after the race and to (discuss) specifically, they run together. A couple made it really difficult to call.”

As for the matter of his officiating style so far in 2013, Barfield said he’s decided to give the drivers more leeway because of no major incidents and also because of the strong racing product.

“Letting the race play out — Don’t let the officiating dominate the story,” he said in summing up his current approach.

Nonetheless, even though Hinchcliffe won in what would appear to be a case of “all’s well that ends well,” Barfield still took some criticism. Most notable were tweets from the Target Chip Ganassi Racing duo of Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti (which you can find here), who both expressed displeasure on the subject.

Formula E: Vergne outlasts di Grassi for Punta del Este victory

Photo: Getty Images
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Saturday’s Punta del Este ePrix did not disappoint, with Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi engaging in a thrilling battle throughout the entire race.

Vergne led the way from the pole, having been promoted up the grid after original pole sitter di Grassi was ruled to have cut a chicane during his pole lap, but di Grassi was right on the back wing of Vergne the entire way and made several attempts to get by.

The intense battle between the two, which saw them nearly lock Vergne’s rear wing with di Grassi’s front nose, stayed remarkably clean for the most part, and Vergne was able to hold off all of di Grassi’s advances, a few of which can be viewed below, to take the win.

DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird was also on the charge, the British driver coming from ninth on the grid to take third.

Full race results can be viewed here. The victory sees Vergne extend his points lead over Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist, who finished fifth, to 30 points, with Vergne on 109 markers and Rosenqvist on 79.

Bird sits third with 76 points, respectively.