Overheard at Barber - Friday
Rain is forecast today at Barber but it appears it will hold off to the north.
At St. Petersburg we heard often on the radio pit crews telling their driver to save fuel, save fuel. The race was an exercise in saving fuel instead of racing hard. Champ Car solved that problem by mandating pit windows - a window of laps where every car had to pit regardless of whether they needed fuel or not. They could stop more times, but they had to visit the pits during the specified windows, typically around 5 laps. We hear that IndyCar is considering this, but they do not yet have enough data on the new cars as of yet to determine what the windows should be.
Sounds like double file restarts on ovals are definitely gone and not under consideration for IndyCar.
In this rumor 5 or 6 races were listed as possible future venues in 2013 for IndyCar. The ones most likely to come to fruition are Road America, Ft. Lauderdale and Austin we suspect. Most people in the paddock doubt Fontana will survive past 2012 and there are worries about Milwaukee. Everyone wants Milwaukee to survive, but they worry.
As for Phoenix, again it's a good track for IndyCar racing-wise, by Phoenix is a NASCAR town now and fans are tapped out buying tickets for two CUP races let alone an IndyCar race. So if that race returns, most expect it will run one year and die for a third time. Three strikes and you're out as they say.
So if this happens, IndyCar will move that much closer to a road course and street circuit series, with the Indy 500 as the lone oval and the crown jewel. In some respects that will make Indy even more special.
Hearing that F1 star now IndyCar driver, Rubens Barrichello, will be a featured guest on Dave Despain's Wind Tunnel Sunday.
Most people in the paddock cannot wait for next year’s body kits so they can get the hideous looking Dallara ones off the car. Unfortunately some of the teams may not be able to afford the $70K kits (per car plus spares) so we may still see some of those repulsive looking cars on the track next year too.
Will Phillips provided an update on aero kit regulations to speed.com, and confirmed that more than the three engine manufacturers have been provided copies of the rules.
“I can’t say who we’re talking to, but yes, it’s more than those three,” he said. “I have given an initial draft already to the interested suppliers that I know of at this point, and I’m expecting to meet with some of those suppliers at Barber to get some initial feedback.”
Some talk in the paddock about 4-time Champ Car champion Sebastian Bourdais' performance in St. Petersburg. Although his Lotus powered machine was down on power on the straights, Bourdais was sensational under braking and through the corners. Given he had no preseason testing, it made his performance that much more impressive.
Still no further word on standing starts happening later in the year. Too many other things for IndyCar to focus on at the moment.
The use of anti-stall is being used for the first time this weekend in Alabama. “It’s in the software and able to be used by manufacturers,” Will Phillips told Speed.com. “Just like everything, it needs a little bit of work and nobody likes running things for the first time in a race when they’re not 100 percent happy with it. We expect to have more testing of it through the practice sessions at Barber. But it’s enabled for all to use whenever they choose.”