Engine spat still alive after Sao Paulo qualifying
Chevy teams not happy that Honda was allowed to change their turbo. They say Honda will have a real advantage now at Indy, Fontana and Texas - all 100% throttle tracks where the single turbo has less overall back pressure
The IndyCar engine controversy seems far from over and now it’s the Chevrolet teams that are saying they’re at a disadvantage against those with the Honda power. The teams using Honda were allowed to get an upgraded engine for the first time during practice and qualifying for the Sao Paulo 300 on Saturday, improving their performance and giving Chevrolet reason to complain.
Honda was allowed to change the turbochargers on its engines after a three-person panel on Thursday upheld an IndyCar decision against an appeal by Chevrolet.
Will Power won the pole position with a Chevrolet in his Penske, but six of the top 10 drivers on the grid Sunday will be using a Honda engine.
Power said “now they do have an advantage on us,” a comment that immediately created a somewhat awkward moment at the post-qualifying news conference. Second-place qualifier Dario Franchitti and third place Scott Dixon—using Honda in their Chip Ganassi cars—stared at Power in apparent surprise.
Power had been trying to explain that data from the cars showed the Honda teams were faster than the Chevrolet teams in one of the track sectors, hinting that it was because of the engine change. Without the microphone, the Ganassi drivers looked at each other and smiled then chatted with Power as the Australian continued trying to explain his reasoning to reporters.
“It was satisfying (to win the pole),” Power said in a statement released by Chevrolet after qualifying. “Especially knowing that Honda seems to have an advantage on the straights at the moment, so being on pole is a good start to the weekend.”
Franchitti said the engine change was not the only factor for his good performance Saturday after a poor start to the season, but admitted it played a role.
“Honda (has) done a good job. Obviously we’ve been given the different turbo for the equivalency and that has helped as well, I think,” he said.
The new Honda engines have a new compressor cover on their single turbochargers to try to reduce the power disadvantage to the twin turbochargers from Lotus and Chevrolet, which appealed because it said the modification went against some of the series’ rules.
IndyCar has multiple engine manufacturers this season for the first time in seven years. Yahoo Sports
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