If the NTT IndyCar Series finds itself with another situation like the crash-happy opening lap of the 2019 Portland Grand Prix, race control will employ a speedier method to reordering the field for the restart.
RACER has learned the series will largely abandon the timely and complex practice of reviewing multiple forms of input to determine which cars crashed and stopped in a specific sequence, and which cars might have driven off track to gain positions during a significant incident, to sort the field ahead of the return to racing.
As an example, the opening 11 laps of the 100-lap Portland contest, including the time required to remove a number of stranded cars from the Turn 1 chicane, were consumed as race control sought to determine where each of the remaining entries should be placed for the restart as more yellow laps were needed to manually realign the field.
With Turn 1 cleared, and to the dismay of some fans, the pace car stayed out for an extended period as intensive video reviews and timing sector data was investigated to determine how the jumbled cars should be organized.
Wherever it benefits a faster resumption of racing, a simplified process for 2020 is expected to feature reverting to the last timeline successfully crossed by the field. By using the most recent pre-crash running order as captured by IndyCar’s timing and scoring system, race control expects to shorten the gap between clearing the circuit of stricken cars and getting the contest back to green.
IndyCar is also expected to reserve the use of video replays to assist, if necessary, in getting the restart order correct when faced with complicated crash scenarios.
For the cars involved in the crash that cannot immediately continue, require repairs, or are too badly damaged to race, IndyCar’s sorting of the tail-end cars is unlikely to change for 2020.
Once a car has come to a stop, it forfeits the ability to retake its original position in the field, and is placed at the back of the running cars in the order it arrived after receiving a restart or any necessary repairs. For cars that are unable to complete the first lap and retire, their place at the bottom of the final standings will continue to be set by the order they crossed the start/finish line to begin the race.