Chevrolet penalized for IndyCar engine regulation infraction

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Chevrolet has been penalized after the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Several elements of the penalty are indicated below.

Here is the release from INDYCAR:

Chevrolet, which earned 128 points in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 29, has been penalized 220 points per Verizon IndyCar Series regulations.

According to Rule 10.6.4.4 of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook, 20 points will be deducted for a non-minor engine repair. Eleven of the 12 Chevrolet engines in the field underwent repairs following the St. Petersburg race.

All Chevrolet and Honda competitors are using the first of their allotted four engines covering 10,000 miles for the season.

Engine manufacturers, drivers and entrants receive championship points corresponding to their finish in a race (points are awarded to both manufacturers’ top three race finishers). Bonus points are awarded to the corresponding driver who earns the Verizon P1 Award (one point) and the manufacturer leading the most laps (two points).

Manufacturers also can reap 10 points for each engine that reaches its 2,500-mile change-out limit. But 20 points will be deducted for an engine failing to complete its life cycle and 20 points will be deducted for an engine undergoing a non-minor repair that requires a component change, subject to INDYCAR approval. The latter is what occurred with the 11 Chevrolet engines.

Juan Pablo Montoya earned 50 points for the St. Petersburg race win, followed by Team Penske teammate Will Power’s 40 points for second and third-place finisher Tony Kanaan (35 points). Power earned Chevrolet a bonus point for claiming the Verizon P1 Award. Chevrolet-powered drivers led 105 of the 110 laps to earn two additional points, for a total of 128 for the race.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was the highest finisher among Honda drivers, in seventh place. He earned 26 points for the manufacturer, which totaled 70 points. Following the Chevrolet sanctions, Honda holds a 162-point advantage in the manufacturers’ championship heading into the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on April 12.

Here is Rule 10.6.4.4 of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Rulebook:

Twenty (20) points will be deducted for an Engine undergoing a non-minor repair that requires a component change, subject to INDYCAR approval. The Engine will no longer be eligible for points from Rule 10.6.4.2.

And the aforementioned 10.6.4.2:

Ten (10) points will be awarded for an Engine that completes its life cycle.

Here is a statement from GM provided to MotorSportsTalk, from Chris Berube, Chevrolet Program Manager for Verizon IndyCar Series:

“We discovered an issue in durability testing after these race engines were built, and decided to make repairs as a precaution.”

And here is an updated statement from Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports:

“We identified a batch of valve springs that, due to a process change at one of our suppliers, may fracture before the full mileage requirement. We notified IndyCar of the issue and obtained approval to change the valve springs. Eleven of our 12 engines were updated following the St. Petersburg race. Based on lower accrued mileage, the current plan is to address the 12th engine after the race at Barber Motorsports Park.”