INDYCAR tweaks weekend schedules, push-to-pass and tyre rules
INDYCAR has confirmed a number of rule tweaks ahead of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season, as well as making amendments to the weekend schedule for various rounds.
The most notable rule tweak relates to IndyCar's push-to-pass (P2P) power boost system. Drivers were previously afforded a defined number of P2P uses during each street and road course race, but will now have 150 seconds of usage for events in St. Petersburg, Detroit and Sonoma. This will increase to 200 seconds for the remaining road/street courses on the calendar.
P2P has been modified so that drivers can now disengage midway through its usage to save time. However, P2P will no longer be available at the start of a race or on restarts, with the exception of a restart commencing with two laps remaining.
INDYCAR also confirmed that Firestone will bring an additional set of its red-sidewall softer compound tyres to road and street course events. Each car must return one set of either primary or alternate tyres following each of the first two practice sessions on a race weekend.
Some minor changes have been made to race weekend schedules for the events at Phoenix, Gateway, Indianapolis (GP) and Detroit. For the oval events at Phoenix and Gateway, qualifying will now be held on the same day as the race, while the on-track action for the Indianapolis GP shifts to Friday and Saturday only.
Detroit's qualifying format has been tweaked, with the method used for its Sunday race in previous years - splitting in the field for two groups to form the grid - now being used also for the Saturday event. Previously, the Saturday grid had been formed by using IndyCar's usual knockout system for road and street course races.
Finally, practice start times for road and street course events have now been standardised. FP1 will start at 11am local time, with FP2 following at 3pm.
"INDYCAR consulted with our various stakeholders - teams, drivers, event promoters - to refine the weekend schedules and generate the most value and excitement for everyone," said Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations. "These changes are subtle but will enhance the race weekend experience for everyone involved, most particularly our fans."