IZOD IndyCar Series Prepares For Side-By-Side Restarts Debut In St. Pete Drama will be intensified on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., when the IZOD IndyCar Series debuts side-by-side restarts during the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Officials of INDYCAR, the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series, have worked with teams and competitors to refine the procedures. Based on input from fans and teams, the series has opted to not adopt a "free pass" system for the first car a lap down during caution periods.
Side-by-side restarts will be utilized at all 17 events. Once a race is under caution, all cars will line up nose-to-tail behind the Safety Car. When the running order is confirmed, the pits will open for service for all cars, regardless if they're on the lead lap or not. Pits will remain open throughout the caution.
"After weighing all the options, we felt this is the best solution to allow our teams the widest platform and the most flexibility in employing varying strategies," said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and operations for INDYCAR. "We don't want to reward a lap back to a team. We want to give the teams the mechanisms to earn laps back through performance and strategic decisions.
"Racing has evolved so much over the years, and it is extremely difficult for a car to earn a lap back when the pits close under caution. By keeping the pits open throughout entire caution periods we are providing an opportunity for teams and drivers to capitalize on strategy and pair with on-track performance to remain in contention."
Before the restart, any cars between the race leader and Safety Car will be waved around to the rear of the field. After the starter gives the one lap to go signal and prior to the restart, cars line up double file. The race leader will have column/lane selection, with all other cars lining up according to relative position on track. All cars must maintain their respective track position until they cross the start-finish line.