As detailed in Marshall Pruett’s notebook from Baltimore, IndyCar has revised its pit stop rules in response to the incident that earned Scott Dixon a penalty at Sonoma last weekend.
Dixon was fighting for the lead with Will Power when he clipped a tire being carried by one of Power’s pit crew as he was exiting the pits, knocking that Penske team member and two others to the ground. The New Zealander was issued a drive-through penalty, after which there were suggestions later that Penske had deliberately tried to obstruct Dixon’s path out of his pit box.
Under the revised rule, IndyCar officials now have the power to penalise a team that they believe has deliberately obstructed another, as follows:
“Rule 7.9.17: Any participant who, in the opinion of the officials, positions a car, equipment, and/or personnel so as to create a hazard or disruption of the event or to interfere with the activities of another competitor may be penalised.”
Ganassi general manager Mike Hull said that he remains convinced that most teams are respectful of each other in the pits, but is hopeful that the rule will provide clarity should situations similar to that at Sonoma arise in the future.
“I think with or without the bulletin there is a high degree of respect in the pitlane for most teams, for most people,” he said. “But what it does do is, if IndyCar has to make a judgment call it helps to clarify the call they need to make.”
PIT BOX MARKINGS ADJUSTED
The series has also used clearer demarcations for pit boxes at this weekend’s Baltimore race and added “courtesy lines” to indicate where a rival may cut through the pit box either side of his own while entering or leaving. However, IndyCar director of operations and competition Derrick Walker reiterated race director Beaux Barfield’s explanation that the markings were intended to serve as a guide only, however.
“The lines are really reference points so everybody can see where they should be, but they are not hard and fast lines that if you cross this line, we’re going to penalize you,” he said.
“Sure, if something happens we’ll use those lines to reference where you were relative to the incident. But it’s not like I don’t dare go out of my box because it’s a penalty. That’s crazy.
“If an incident results, then we will use those reference lines. It’s pretty straightforward. It’s all about safety.”
The series has also tweaked rule 126.96.36.199, which now states that if a lapped car is given the blue flag from the starters stand, it must give way within one lap or face a penalty.