IndyCar has modified the activation delay to the overtake assist for next weekend's GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, trimming the interval from 5 to 3.5 seconds. A total of 90 seconds will be afforded drivers, with a maximum of 15 seconds per activation. There's no recharge time between activations.
"All parameters of the Push-to Pass system can be tailored to fit any circuit that play host to IZOD IndyCar Series races," said IndyCar Director of Engine Development Trevor Knowles. "Sonoma has shorter straightaways than what we had at Mid-Ohio, so we've adjusted the parameters of push-to-pass to fit this particular circuit. But the principles for use that were in place for Mid-Ohio have remained the same for Sonoma."
The overtake assist feature, introduced to the series in 2009, allows a driver to add turbocharger boost and additional RPMs with the press of a button on the steering wheel. When the system is engaged, the turbocharger boost increases to 161 kPa with an additional 200rpm on the 2.2-liter V6 engines supplied by Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus.
Drivers had the chance to experiment with the 3.5sec delay at last week's test at Sonoma. The push-to-pass system was reintroduced to IndyCar in Toronto last month, although the activation delay was only tried for the first time at Mid-Ohio. The delay was met with a cool response from drivers, with some pointing out that it could no longer be used defensively, and others complaining that the system is too sensitive to throttle changes for the delay to be workable.
"I think it was stupid, honestly," said Penske's Will Power at Mid-Ohio. "Because the way they got it, you have to have a certain throttle percentage. You'd hit it and get in the corner and it would unclick itself and then you've got another five seconds... it was useless. Honestly. I didn't find it useful at all."