Two former Long Beach winners – Champ Car three-time race winner Sebastien Bourdais and 2010 Indy Lights race winner James Hinchcliffe – will each incur 10-spot grid penalties this weekend.
Hinchcliffe's Chevrolet engine developed an issue during the IndyCar open test at Infineon Raceway on Monday, while Bourdais' Lotus was changed after the last race at Barber.
Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus engines can only be replaced without penalty when they reach their mileage limit of 1,850 or if they sustain a failure during a race.
"Basically, it's a self-imposed penalty that (the three manufacturers) decided would be appropriate to keep them from trying to outspend each other," IndyCar president of competition and IZOD IndyCar Series race director Beaux Barfield said.
Penalties also have hit Simon Pagenaud, Oriol Servia and Alex Tagliani this season. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who tested alongside his Andretti Autosport teammate Hinchcliffe, gave his take about the engine situation during a conference call Wednesday.
“To tell you the truth, I hadn't even thought of it prior to the last couple days because it hasn't been an issue, right?” he said. “It's just not right there sitting in your face and now it is.
“It's tough. I mean, the series is at a place where it has to put some type of restriction on the manufacturers from just going out and running through miles, testing. It has to somehow police the manufacturers from pushing the engines harder than the next and just creating a spending race.
“But the downside to it is you're penalizing a driver. The series is so tight, it's so competitive, that a 10-spot grid penalty on a street track like Long Beach, that's a pretty hefty penalty, especially since we're in our first round of engines.
“These engine manufacturers have done an amazing job in such a short amount of time to not only put the performance on track that they have but the reliability, as well. These things are just bound to happen. You're bound to have an issue with an engine here and there, especially with a new product.
“I don't know. I understand IndyCar's side of it, and I have some sympathy for James and Simon from St. Pete. I mean, it's tough, it really is. I hope they'll come up with a fair solution to it.”