IRL rule was copied from Champ Car
Izod IndyCar Series participants agreed Tuesday: Helio Castroneves violated a rule unique to this form of racing.
Just what to do about the rule is open for debate.
As it stands, drivers positioned ahead of another must keep a consistent driving line. In this case, Castroneves didn't weave his car in front of Will Power, which is illegal in all forms of the sport, but he took a defensive path toward turn one, limiting Power's options.
That's not allowed in IndyCar, and it's reiterated regularly.
"What's said in the drivers' meetings is what (was enforced) Sunday," driver Justin Wilson said. "The inside half of the track is for overtaking; if you're (in that lane) as the leader, you're either off line, defending or blocking.
"Whatever you want to call it, you're not allowed to do it."
That's where Castroneves was when Power tried to pass him for the lead with less than three laps to go in the Honda Indy Edmonton.
IndyCar president Brian Barnhart, who enforced the penalty that dropped Castroneves from first place to 10th and gave the win to Scott Dixon, said the rule is designed for driver safety, fair competition and cost savings for the teams.
The rule came from Champ Car. Its chief steward, Tony Cotman, went so far as to paint white lines on the Toronto street circuit to show drivers -- and officials -- the boundaries.
"Drivers were bending the rules," said Wilson, a Champ Car driver at the time. "That line made it easier to understand and police."
Barnhart likes the rule, which is unique to IndyCar, but he isn't married to it. If drivers and team owners want it changed, he can arrange that.
"But be prepared for the downside, which is (additional) risk of safety and cost escalation," he said. "And you're going to have a situation where it will be harder to pass.
"If that's what people want, it makes my job easier. But everybody always says they want to see good, clean racing."
Castroneves hasn't been punished for his postrace tirade that included the grabbing and shaking of two series officials, but he likely will be. Barnhart said a decision will come after he has spoken with the Brazilian.
"I think we all understand he was frustrated, but it was clearly unacceptable behavior," Barnhart said. "You can't put your hands on people." Indy Star