IndyCar announced Tuesday that the Firestone 550-winning car of Helio Castroneves was found to have an out-of-compliance underwing in post-race tech inspection at Texas Motor Speedway. The punishment, however, was light.
Castroneves' No. 3 Dallara-Chevrolet was found to violate Rule 22.214.171.124, which states: "The exit of the underwing height is 7.600 inches with a tolerance of plus 0.050 inches and minus 0.000 inches." IndyCar declined to state how far the No. 3 exceeded that tolerance.
Like last year's winner at Texas, Justin Wilson, whose car was also found to be in breach of the rules after the race, Castroneves will keep the win. Unlike Wilson, however – who was docked five championship points while his team was fined $7,000 for a different violation involving unapproved bodywork – IndyCar Race Director Beaux Barfield opted not to deduct points from Castroneves, who opened a 22-point lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings with the win. Instead, Team Penske was fined $35,000 and fined 15 entrant points.
RIGHT: Diffuser braces in yellow were incorrectly fastened, Team Penske says. (Marshall Pruett photo)
In a statement, Team Penske President Tim Cindric said the issue was due to an oversight by the team and had not conferred any performance advantage.
“Obviously we are very disappointed that the No. 3 car did not pass post-race inspection after Saturday's race at Texas," Cindric said. "The rule in question (126.96.36.199) states that the diffuser exit must measure 7.600 inches. After the race, ours was 7.575 inches because we neglected to tighten the braces that position the rear of the diffuser following pre-race inspection.
"The way Helio's car raced did not provide any advantage, as a lower diffuser height actually adds drag and reduces downforce. To ensure this is the case, we ran this configuration in the wind tunnel on Monday morning and found that the No. 3 car actually raced with three pounds less downforce and one pound more drag than what it would have had if we tightened the underwing braces properly.”