IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard confirmed on today's IndyCar Open-Wheel Weekly magazine show on Versus that IZOD IndyCar Series car owners held a meeting during this past weekend's race in Sao Paulo and voted unanimously (with A.J. Foyt reportedly abstaining) in favor of delaying the planned aero kit alternatives to the new-for-2012 spec Dallara chassis until 2013.
Team owners have been increasingly restive about the cost of the planned kits, slated to cost $75,000, alongside the all-new Dallara chassis – which Bernard said would be officially revealed next week – and new engines from three manufacturers (Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus). The owners are also concerned about the rapidly closing window of time needed to develop the kits for introduction next season. While Jimmy Vasser was tipped last week as being among the leaders in favor of delaying introduction of the kits, Bernard said the unanimity of opinion made a strong impression on him, although he continues to back the aero kit concept as a means of increasing car diversity.
“The owners voted Saturday in Brazil that they didn't want to do the new bodywork kits next year,'' said Bernard. “IndyCar's position is that we want it for our fans and our manufacturers but I guess we can't make the owners do it.
"Having different looking cars is something that has been true and blue to IndyCar. The ICONIC Committee [which devised the new rules] has told us that is important, but we also have to listen and understand the concerns of our team owners as well. The biggest thing about our team owners is that we are hitting them with a lot of capital outlay next year. We want to make sure that we are listening to everyone right now."
Lining up in opposition to the owners' consensus, however, Target/Chip Ganassi Racing general manager Mike Hull told SPEED.com that he had voiced a strong dissenting opinion at the meeting in Brazil.
“I told them I think we're making a big mistake here,'' Hull told SPEED. “I want bodywork kits. I don't care what it takes, because I'm tired of racing spec cars."
Hull added that what the owners want shouldn't necessarily carry the day. “This isn't CART, this isn't an owner's organization – we don't make the rules, the sanctioning body makes the rules,'' Hull said. “The owners should sit in a room and listen to Randy and Tony [Cotman] and get ready for whatever they decide.''
In his appearance on Versus, Bernard emphasized that he had not made any final decisions regarding the aero kits, and suggested that he may bring the ICONIC Committee back into the process as well.
“I'll listen to our owners – I want and respect their opinions – but I want more feedback from the manufacturers and the fans," Bernard said. "I'm not voting yea or nay until I talk to more people and think this through.''