Aero kits, engine upgrades, more technical freedom and improved safety measures are among the key features of the long-term technical development plan announced by IndyCar on Sunday.
Derrick Walker, who took up his role as the series' president of competition and operations this week, outlined plans that form the basis of IndyCar's efforts to increase the level of technical innovation in its cars and continue efforts to enhance safety standards.
Aero configuration kits will be introduced and used for all races from the 2015 season onward, with manufacturers being granted the freedom to develop both speedway and road/street specifications. Areas that will be open to development are still being finalized, but could include sidepods, the engine cover, and front and rear wing endplates.
Potential to also develop the wings' main planes will depend on the effects of work that will commence this year to modify the underbody of the cars to reduce the potential for lift.
"This is the first step in making incremental changes to our cars towards further enhancing speed, innovation and safety," Walker said. "As we continue to look at all methods of advancing safety and competition, our initial task is to prepare our current chassis for the further increases in speed we hope to see with the addition of new aero configurations in 2015."
Major features of each step of the plan include:
2013: IndyCar will work with Dallara to reduce the surface area of the underfloor to reduce the potential for lift.
2014: Engine upgrades will be introduced in line with the current homologation process. Downforce adjustments will be made to enhance racing, overtaking, and safety as needed.
2015: Aero kits will be introduced in conjunction with potential changes to the underbody.
2016: Opportunity for tire development with Firestone if needed, as well as engine enhancements if required.
2017: Possible engine and aero upgrades, and the potential for areas of the car to be opened up for the teams to develop.
2018: Competition enhancements, which will be based on how the 2017 package performs.
2019: The potential introduction of an entirely new engine formula and body style.
2020: Competition enhancements based upon the performance of the 2019 package.
2021: Possible aerodynamic upgrade.
Walker said that teams, manufacturers, suppliers and drivers would be consulted through every stage of the development process.
"Our long-term competition strategy is designed to build on the foundation of our current package with progressive and methodical enhancements in conjunction with our manufacturers, teams and drivers," he said.
"Always with an eye toward safety our timeline will build on our already exciting product and create opportunities for us to move the performance barrier forward through enhancements designed to balance the longevity of our current car-engine platform as we build toward the next-generation IndyCar package."