IndyCar drivers are predicting an eventful race at Long Beach on Sunday, with no fewer than 14 cars from the 26-strong entry having been issued with 10-place grid penalties for unauthorized engine changes.
Chevrolet ordered all of its 11 cars to change their engines after the failure of James Hinchcliffe's unit during testing at Sonoma last week, while Lotus-powered drivers Oriol Servia (Dreyer & Reinbold), and Dragon Racing teammates Sebastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge have also had to swap units since the previous round at Barber Motorsports Park. No Honda-powered cars have been affected.
Bourdais said that the combination of a mixed-up grid and a difficult street circuit layout would likely result in a chaotic first few laps.
"It's going to make a pretty dramatic change to the established order," he said. "It's not an easy place to pass, and starting in the middle of the pack is a good way to get caught up in some pretty good carnage around here. It's not an easy thing to deal with. All you can hope for is that it doesn't skew the results too much, but for sure it is going to be a Honda display at the start of the race."
Marco Andretti, whose Andretti Autosport team is one of those affected by the Chevrolet engine changes, is also expecting an unusual afternoon on Sunday.
"It will be tough, and there will be some interesting strategies," he said. "It's going to make for a fun race, because there will be some quicker guys towards the back. It will be fun to watch, I'm sure."
IndyCar regulations stipulate that engines must be run for 1,850 miles before they can be swapped without penalty.