IndyCar penalizes Honda, teams, drivers for unapproved engine changes prior to Indy 500

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Officials of the Verizon IndyCar Series on Wednesday afternoon announced a number of penalties (but no monetary fines) to Honda as a manufacturer, as well as several Honda drivers and team owners for unapproved engine changes prior to the Indianapolis 500.

Here’s the official statement from IndyCar:

INDYCAR announced today that Honda has been penalized a total of 50 Engine Manufacturer Championship points per Verizon IndyCar Series rules for violation of Rule 16.5.1 (engine change under mileage).

Honda engines were changed out in the Nos. 14 (Takuma Sato/A.J. Foyt Racing), 15 (Graham Rahal/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), 19 (Justin Wilson/Dale Coyne Racing), 27 (James Hinchcliffe/Andretti Autosport) and 34 Carlos Munoz/Andretti Autosport) entries. Each occurrence is a 10-point penalty incurred by the manufacturer.

Also, engine changes in the No. 5 (Jacques Villeneuve/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports), No. 16 (Oriol Servia/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), No. 41 (Martin Plowman/A.J. Foyt Racing) and No. 68 (Alex Tagliani/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing) cars violated Rule 16.5.1 (entrant initiated engine change under mileage).

Each entrant and driver has been assessed a 10-point penalty, according to Verizon IndyCar Series rules.

Members may contest the imposition of the penalty pursuant to the procedures and timelines detailed in the review and appeal procedures of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.

Honda powered 19 cars in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, including race-winner Ryan Hunter-Reay and others such as Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Kurt Busch, Josef Newgarden, Marco Andretti, Pippa Mann, Carlos Huerta, Simon Pagenaud and Mikhail Aleshin.

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Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”