Although there hasn’t been an official comment issued by INDYCAR from its President of Competition and Operations Derrick Walker, comments made to reporters this week ahead of the Verizon IndyCar Series season opener in St. Petersburg have made one thing definitively clear: there won’t be double-file restarts in 2014.
Speaking to RACER.com’s Marshall Pruett, Walker said the lack of available front stretch real estate and particularly, the runs into Turn 1 would make the restarts unfeasible.
“Well, a lot of the tracks that we do those at are somewhat limited for space going into the first turn, and the potential for the whole track to be blocked was always there,” Walker said. “We consulted a lot of different people, drivers mainly, and came to the consensus that the decision we ought to come to is to change that format because of the space available at some of these tracks.”
One of the things Walker and the rest of INDYCAR Race Control will be monitoring closely this year is making sure restart leaders don’t jump early, via the Indianapolis Star’s Curt Cavin.
Walker says officiating of jumped starts will be key. #IndyCar
— Curt Cavin (@curtcavin) March 28, 2014
From an additional officiating standpoint, Brian Barnhart and Johnny Unser will join INDYCAR Race Director Beaux Barfield as race stewards for the season opener, both per the 2014 series rulebook and the AP’s Jenna Fryer, among other reports.
Officiating has occasionally been in the crosshairs over the last few years in IndyCar – sometimes coming off as too heavy-handed or not enough, depending on the circumstances – but ideally officiating can take a backseat to the on-track action for the majority of the 2014 season.