Sebastien Bourdais is one of the drivers penalized 10 grid positions for a pre-race engine change in advance of this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Although he was the fastest Lotus driver in the rain on Friday, 11th overall, Bourdais was asked about the rule, upheld earlier Friday by IndyCar vp of technology Will Phillips. Bourdais, who starred at Barber with a ninth place result and also was on course for another top-10 finish in St. Petersburg before a late race mechanical issue, did not mince his words.
“If it was just up to me, I wouldn't have changed it,” Bourdais said. “But, it's not my call. To be honest, I'm a little skeptical about the whole thing – whether there's fairness in penalizing because the engine supplier decides to change the engine before it pops. We all understand the rule, but still.”
Although the Chevrolet engines have the largest number of changes – all 11 of its cars – Bourdais deadpanned that this meant Team Penske would merely need to start “only 11th, 12th and 13th.”
“We might as well draw for grid spots,” Bourdais continued. “On a day like this, with such an outcome, changing all the units just changes the order in advance. You're put in a position, when you're that far back, where you could have pretty big carnage. It will be a Honda fair for the start of the race – for us, Oriol and Katherine had their engines changed too, and I don't know about Tag and Simona. We might as well just penalize everyone and call it good.”