Changes to drive-thru penalties may be on IndyCar horizon

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The Verizon IndyCar Series is not like a McDonald’s restaurant.

So look for potential changes to drive-thru penalties in the open-wheel series, according to a report by FoxSports.com’s Bruce Martin.

IndyCar president of competition Derrick Walker said he and other series officials will take a look at the inordinate number of drive-thru penalties thus far in 2014, and make changes if deemed appropriate.

Walker told Martin that in hindsight, many of the drive-thru penalties thus far this season may not necessarily have merited that kind of punishment.

“There are some instances where the drive-thru is too harsh a penalty for the infraction,” Walker told Martin. “For example, jumping the restart or the start. A drive-thru penalty can ruin a driver’s chances of contending for a victory and that is not what we are trying to do.

“A more appropriate penalty may be to have that driver give up three or four positions on the track rather than have him serve the drive-thru and either be at the end of the lead lap or a lap down.”

Walker, who oversees IndyCar Race Control, said any changes to drive-thru penalty situations likely won’t come until after this season.

“The drive-thru penalty will get a thorough review in the off-season and I would like to see it changed to a more appropriate penalty for some infractions,” Walker said.

Team Penske driver Will Power came into Saturday night’s race at Iowa having been called five times this season for drive-thru penalties, one of the most notable being last week at Pocono when he was penalized for blocking teammate Helio Castroneves.

But surprisingly, Power isn’t complaining about being penalized so much. Rather, he likes the drive-thru policy as it currently is.

“The good thing about a drive-thru penalty is it serves as quite a deterrent to not do that again,” Power told Martin. “If you only penalize a driver three or four positions for jumping the start then I might take that gamble to gain an extra position if they don’t call it.”

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Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”