Home Formula One For IndyCar drivers, Pedersen episode highlights the sequence’ “loopy” blue flag guidelines · RaceFans

For IndyCar drivers, Pedersen episode highlights the sequence’ “loopy” blue flag guidelines · RaceFans

For IndyCar drivers, Pedersen episode highlights the sequence’ “loopy” blue flag guidelines · RaceFans


Alex Palou, Will Energy and Scott McLaughlin have been only a handful of the drivers that weren’t too pleased with IndyCar rookie Benjamin Pedersen after Sunday’s Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

Pedersen didn’t collide with anybody. Certainly, he by no means broke any guidelines. However his spirited driving as he tried to remain on the lead lap late didn’t go down properly with IndyCar’s front-runners.

Palou noticed most of his eight-second result in Colton Herta vanish whereas attempting to get previous AJ Foyt Racing’s Pedersen within the center phases of the race.

After Palou lastly cleared Pedersen, different drivers together with Energy and McLaughlin needed to work arguably a lot more durable than they need to need to get previous the automotive and driver who finally completed off the lead lap, twenty sixth and final of those that met the chequered flag.

“He’s not going to make any buddies if he holds folks up,” McLaughlin mentioned after ending fifth, then confronting Pedersen straight within the pit lane after the race. “He’s not even in our race.”

“I get he’s in a race of his personal, however it’s give-and-take on this sequence – and if I’m a lap down and the quantity 55 [car of Pedersen] is behind me, who is aware of what I’m going to do.”

This has put a follow that’s not distinctive to IndyCar, and is frequent throughout many main American motorsport sequence, again beneath scrutiny.

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Any slower automotive that’s not on the lead lap is usually proven the blue flag and ordered to yield to the sooner automotive behind them. The distinction between IndyCar and sequence comparable to System 1 has to do with how vehicles on the tail finish of the lead lap are handled.

Palou misplaced a number of seconds caught behind Pedersen

In F1, if a automotive is caught by the chief whereas on the tail of the lead lap, race management will usually present them the blue flag and so they should yield in a well timed method. The race director’s notes for every race specify precisely how ought to be achieved and the penalties that observe if drivers cross too many blue flags with out giving means.

This isn’t the case in IndyCar, the place drivers will not be ordered to yield place except they’re a lap right down to the whole discipline. They’re allowed to struggle in an try to remain on the lead lap – or get again onto it – so long as they don’t make themselves a nuisance to the lead automotive or these battling for place on the lead lap.

NASCAR has an identical coverage in place for vehicles which might be both on the tail finish of the lead lap or simply behind the chief who has lapped them. Drivers are warned that the leaders are approaching, however will not be required to let the opposite drivers cross them instantly. In truth, till 2003, there was an unstated settlement that if the observe moist to full-course warning, drivers might race all the way in which again to the start-finish line in an try to remain on the lead lap.

Usually that is all properly and good within the uncommon instances of a genuinely quick automotive that has comparable tempo to the leaders, however fell off the lead lap as a result of some misfortune earlier within the race. However it’s usually not as welcomed when it’s a backmarker that doesn’t have the tempo to be racing laborious with the chief.

Pedersen is hardly the primary such driver to incur the wrath of a frontrunner whereas preventing to remain on the lead lap – and he gained’t be the final. Mid-Ohio is a circuit the place overtaking is kind of troublesome for these high-powered single-seaters.

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In 2017, Will Energy was not too happy with the efforts of Dale Coyne Racing driver Esteban Gutierrez to remain on the lead lap. The veteran of three seasons of F1 practically wrecked Energy’s crew mate Josef Newgarden after a Security Automotive restart.

“It’s really not Gutierrez’s fault,” Energy mentioned after the 2017 race. “The principles for IndyCar are sort of ridiculous, that the crew would inform him to remain and push and he’s not even within the lead.”

Energy mentioned IndyCar’s blue flag guidelines are “loopy”

Energy has lengthy been in favour adopting F1’s mannequin and discouraging drivers from preventing to remain on the lead lap. He wasn’t pleased about being held up by James Hinchcliffe on the way in which to profitable the 2021 Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And final weekend, he once more voiced his displeasure with the present protocol.

“I believe that the blue flag rule, it’s loopy,” mentioned the reigning IndyCar champion. “You utilize push-to-pass up and need to race any person that’s going to be a lap down such as you’re racing for place. The sequence is so tight and aggressive, and everyone seems to be so good now, that I believe we might have a blue flag rule.”

There may be a lot much less alternative for drivers to get again onto the lead lap in IndyCar right this moment, mentioned Energy. “It’s not like we have now yellows consistently and also you’re going to get your lap again. Possibly they do it within the second half of the race, however it’s ridiculous when a frontrunner offers up 10 seconds.”

Palou, whose solely obstacle on the way in which to his fourth win within the final 5 IndyCar races was the encounter with Pedersen, typically agrees with Energy on this matter. “I do know the principles, however on the similar time, it’s very irritating when you find yourself main and also you attempt to open the hole, and so they don’t allow you to cross – however they’re utilizing the overtake, like 20, 30s a lap, to attempt to keep up entrance.

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“On prime of that after you’re side-by-side, they’re so aggressive defending. Clearly it’s actually irritating when you find yourself main.

“You might be utilizing extra gasoline, you’re utilizing extra tyres, and also you’re not in a position to do the race you need simply due to a backmarker automotive that desires to remain on the lead lap. The problem is that after you cross them, they let all people cross as a result of they already misplaced the lap, proper?”

That was not what Energy found within the case of Pedersen. “We must always have a speak about it, I believe,” Energy he mentioned, indicating drivers’ makes an attempt to interact the sequence on the matter had fallen on deaf ears.

Palou additionally appeared resigned to the truth that the principles wouldn’t change. “It’s irritating. I do know it’s the principles. I would love it to vary. It’s not going to vary,” he mentioned.

In its place, Energy steered “disabling the push-to-pass” for drivers who’re about to be lapped, making it simpler for the leaders to get by. He mentioned that “could be an enormous step.”

IndyCar does have the best to disable the ‘overtake button’ for sure vehicles however provided that they’ve gone a lap right down to the whole discipline, not simply the race chief.

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It’s laborious to place a pin on why IndyCar, NASCAR, and different types of American motorsport deal with backmarkers on this method. However one principle could possibly be the way in which championship factors and prize cash are distributed to each automotive and driver who begins a race – as a substitute of in F1 the place solely the highest ten finishers obtain factors, and the prize cash is paid out on the finish of the season. Each place that may be gained or retained in an IndyCar (or NASCAR) race means extra factors and extra money, which is more durable to do if a driver is pinned a lap or extra down and unable to struggle for his or her observe place.

Marshal with a blue flag, 2017
F1 drivers should react rapidly to blue flags

This turns into pertinent within the case of Pedersen – who is probably not preventing for a championship, however who does want all of the factors he can get with a view to be certain that his crew can end excessive sufficient within the standings to safe considered one of 22 IndyCar Leaders Circle bonus funds on the finish of the season. That one-million greenback bonus might, in some instances, be the distinction between a crew having the price range to run a automotive full-time subsequent season or not.

Is there a greater means of doing issues? Two years in the past, whereas speaking about his encounter at Indy with the lapped automotive of Hinchcliffe, Energy steered an alternate that might be much less of an irritant to the race leaders whereas additionally being truthful to these drivers who could be preventing on-track to remain on the lead lap .

“Simply bloody give them their lap again if it goes yellow,” mentioned Energy on the time with attribute bluntness. “Give anybody who’s a lap down their lap again. Give them one easy repair.

“I don’t even suppose the blokes which might be attempting to remain on the lead lap prefer it, as a result of they don’t need to be a ache within the ass. They want to get out of the way in which, and it’s such a easy repair.”

Whereas F1 drivers have raised the recognition of borrowing some guidelines from IndyCar – comparable to stopping drivers who trigger purple flags in qualifying classes from benefiting from them by deleting their lap occasions – the stream of concepts might work each methods.

Till there’s a change – if there’s a change in any respect – Pedersen gained’t be the final backmarker to get beneath the pores and skin of IndyCar’s prime drivers as a result of they exercised their proper to struggle for each place that they’ll.

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