No plans for IndyCar to get rid of standing starts, says Walker

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INDYCAR president of competition Derrick Walker has said that the series will not abandon standing starts, but also concedes that it has work to do to make them come off cleaner.

Last weekend’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis began in chaos when pole sitter Sebastian Saavedra failed to move from his position on the grid. Seconds later, rookies Carlos Munoz and Mikhail Aleshin plowed into the Colombian, spraying debris everywhere along the front stretch.

The Verizon IndyCar Series brought back standing starts last season, but on Thursday at Indianapolis, Walker said “the system we have on our cars is not as good as it needs to be.”

“It’s tricky to set up. The manufacturers set that up, the way the system behaves. It’s enough to say it’s not foolproof. It needs a lot more work than we’ve given it,” he added to the Associated Press.

“Even if the standing start doesn’t work, there’s a function called anti-stall. The engine should always be running. I don’t think the manufactures have gotten that one correct yet.

“They’re trying to go fast and we’re trying to make sure the engine is running when something goes wrong. The car isn’t perfect.”

Team owner Ed Carpenter also noted the drivers’ difficulties with the current system in post-race last weekend.

“I can think of just two where no one has gone off the grid…It’s not that I’m against them,” he said. “Juan [Pablo Montoya] stalled and he’s done more than anyone else. But right now they don’t go off well. They’re exciting where they work.

“I stalled, Charlie [Kimball] stalled, and this one just happened to be where guys stalled up front. It’s not that we don’t know what we’re doing. But right now it’s hard to do with the system we have.”

In hindsight, Walker feels the series should have provided drivers more time to practice the standing starts, but noted that most of the drivers don’t want to get rid of them.

He also thought that the cars were spaced out on the grid too closely, and that both Munoz and Aleshin should have had dedicated spotters on the IMS Pagoda tower.

“We gave them permission to put a spotter on the roof, right on top of the Pagoda,” Walker maintained.

“Usually, only Christ gets to stand up there. There’s only so much we can do.”

The standing starts will return for the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader in June.

Lewis Hamilton enjoys epic trip to NASA’s Johnson Space Center (VIDEO)

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Lewis Hamilton went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston earlier this week, a thrill for the driver of a land-speed rocket for Mercedes AMG Petronas to then see actual ones.

In today’s pre-race coverage for the United States Grand Prix, NBCSN takes you behind the scenes of the trip in Houston. You can see that video, above.