Dario Franchitti has reiterated his complaints about Team Penske's pit crew, underscoring that he felt he had done nothing wrong in the incident during last Sunday's IZOD IndyCar Series race in Milwaukee where he clipped a tire man for Will Power's crew during a yellow-flag pit stop. IndyCar ruled it a case of incidental contact and declined to penalize Franchitti, who felt that the crewman involved had been out of line.
“I've looked at it on tape a number of times now , because there's obviously some questions about that,” Franchitti said. “In the pit lane, there is an etiquette, and it's something that [IndyCar president of competition] Brian Barnhart actually talked about in the drivers' meeting and frequently talks about it, especially in tight pit lanes like Milwaukee. In the situation where we were, the car behind us was Will. Now, the etiquette is, if it's not going to affect Will's pit stop – which in both instances in the last two pit stops, it wasn't – Will's right-front guy should lift the tire and allow me an easier entry into my pit box. And we, my right-rear guy, would do the same for Will on the exit to allow him an immediate exit out of his pit box. That's something that goes on up and down pit lane; regardless if we have been fighting for championships or whatever, with the Penske guys, we have always done that with each other.
“For some reason on Sunday, in two stops, the tire was left out there. And that was, I believe, the reason there wasn't a penalty because there was no need for the tire to be out there. I think there was some gamesmanship going on there, which is not something we have seen from those [Penske] guys before, and hopefully it's the last we'll see of it. Because if one starts doing it and the other starts doing it…pit lane is dangerous enough without playing stupid games like that.
“I believe it was a six‑second difference between when I made my pit stop and when Will did, which is more than enough time to move it [the tire].”
Franchitti added that he was not satisfied with IndyCar's explanation of its non-penalty of another Penske driver, Helio Castroneves, for what the Scot considered blocking on restarts. The sanctioning body indicated that the Brazilian complied with the give-and-take nature of the double-file restart rules.
“No, I don't,” Franchitti said when asked if he felt differently about Castroneves' moves after hearing IndyCar's explanation. “Because on the one hand, I think Helio was actually on the inside on a double‑file restart, so, yeah, definitely, he was correct. Took the whole back line. At that point, I was wrong. So I chose to go to the outside, and had a run on Helio and was alongside him and started to become further alongside him as he then saw me and swerved toward me on the outside. So I don't change my view on that.
“You know, it's something that we all grew up in series throughout the world, where blocking was allowed for years. We watched guys like [Michael] Schumacher do it. And then, at some point, the IndyCar Series and Champ Car, actually, made a stance that blocking is no longer allowed; it spoils the race, blah, blah, blah.
“We have all had to adapt. And, in a lot of cases, the first instinct is to block. But we have all managed to adapt, I would say. Helio has not, really – he continues to do it, and it's frustrating. I kind of voiced my frustration after the race, and that has not changed, and it needs to stop.”