The current NTT IndyCar Series points leader Alex Palou will have to battle through extra traffic this weekend as it has been revealed that he has been given a six-place grid penalty for the first race on Saturday.
The standard penalty stems from an unapproved engine change between Carb Day and the Indianapolis 500.
There are many rules surrounding engine usage, but the relevant article states that any engine that is affixed to an entrant’s car that is designated as the Indy 500 race engine cannot be removed from the car prior to the race.
Another rarely-used provision for the Indy 500 means that the penalty was not applied for the 500 itself, but rather was delayed and will be applied to the first race of this weekend’s double-header.
Palou was disappointed to know that he will be starting a bit further down the order, but feels it won’t stop him from being at the front by the end of the race.
“If I would have three free practices like they used to have before, I would be happier,” said Palou. “Learning a new track on a street course and still trying to get myself to the limit and then get the car to the limit.
“But it is what it is. It’s going to be all right. I think it’s going to be tough the first qualifying because it’s so competitive.
“It’s so close that when you are not at 100 percent and you are not 100 percent confident with the car, you lose one or two tenths and that can give you a P5 or a P15.
“We also have a grid penalty for the first race, so that’s going to make our stuff really hard, but yeah, we’ll try and have some clean and good strategies, and we’ll be up there by the end of the race.”
Palou finished second in the Indy 500, which has a double-points payout, meaning he now sits 36 points clear of his Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate Scott Dixon in the standings.
Even though this is the 24-year-old’s second year in IndyCar, it is the first time he will have seen the Detroit street course due to the event being cancelled last season.
The first and only practice session for this weekend’s Detroit GP double-header takes place Friday afternoon at 5:00 PM Eastern.