Rossi keeps Indianapolis win despite car ballast violation

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In the round-up: Alexander Rossi has kept his victory in the Brickyard Grand Prix after his car was found not to comply with the regulations.

In brief

Andretti fined over Rossi’s water bottle

Four days after Rossi’s victory on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, IndyCar announced his Andretti team had been fined $25,000 (£20,580) and had 20 points deducted over a violation relating to his car’s water bottle.

While acknowledging Rossi’s car “met minimum requirements” for weight, which is set at 771 kilograms (1,700lbs) for road circuits, IndyCar president Jay Frye said “from a technical perspective, the way they achieved the weight is not allowed.”

“To meet minimum weight, the drink bottle and its contents were used as car ballast, which is not permitted and why the team is being fined and penalised.”

Rossi won Saturday’s race by 3.5 seconds ahead of Christian Lundgaard and Will Power, the latter moving into the lead of the drivers’ championship.

Mercedes explain Hungary strategy

George Russell, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2022
Mercedes split their strategies in Hungary
Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin explained how the team avoided the difficulties Ferrari faced in the Hungarian Grand Prix by starting pole winner George Russell on a different tyre to their rivals and committing to a more aggressive strategy in a race that presented them with many options.

“We looked at each case separately. With George we wanted him to be out front leading the race,” Shovlin explained. “The conditions were quite tricky, there was a bit of rain in the air, it looked like it was quite cold, could be quite slippy and that soft tyre would give him the best chance of getting off the line cleanly because to keep George’s hopes of winning the race alive we had to be leading that first stint.”

They took a different approach with Lewis Hamilton, who lined up seventh on the grid on medium tyres.

“The argument with Lewis was quite different. We had that DRS problem in qualifying that had meant he was well out of position so the medium tyre gave him better range, it allowed him to overcut, we could go longer and that put him on fresh rubber at the end of the race and ultimately that’s what allowed him to have that pace that could take him all the way to second place.”

Indy Lights temporarily loses a team

Indy Lights, the main feeder series to IndyCar, will be without one of its five teams for this weekend’s support race in Nashville as a driver has defect to a rival squad.

TJ Speed have lost James Roe Jnr to HMD Motorsports, leaving them with no drivers signed. Kyffin Simpson left the team in the previous round to also join HMD.

“I am extremely excited to be joining HMD this coming weekend,” said Roe. “It is a great opportunity for me to immerse myself in their championship-calibre Indy Lights programme.”

Tim Neff, team principal of TJ Speed, will still be in the paddock this weekend and will provide engineering support to another rival team, Abel Motorsports.

McLaren’s Ugochukwu joins Prema for ADAC F4 debut

McLaren junior Ugo Ugochukwu, currently racing in British Formula 4 with Carlin, will make his European racing debut this weekend at the Nurburgring, taking the place of Rafael Camara at the crack Prema team in Germany’s ADAC F4 series.

Camara has been ruled out of racing for the time being as he has tested positive for Covid-19, but is due to return, while Ugochukwu has signed a multi-event deal with Prema that will mean he will race for the team again either in the ADAC or Italian F4 championships on race weekends that do not clash with his British F4 campaign. He is currently third in the points in that championship.

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Comment of the day

Daniel Ricciardo wants a break, but he may spend the summer sorting out his future position in F1. Some suspect that won’t mean remaining in a cockpit:

I think Ricciardo has a fantastic future as part of a race broadcast team but I don’t see how he fits in at the top of F1 anymore.

That is quite hard for me to write because I have been a fan of his for his entire career but I don’t think he has “it” anymore as a driver in a top team. Sure, he could go to a backmarker team and rake in some money for a few years, but I’m not sure I see him going down that route. He wants to fight for wins at the very least.

If whoever picks up the TV broadcasting rights in the US doesn’t use the Sky feed in the future, they would be absolute fools to not hire Ricciardo for their team. He loves the US and the US loves him.

Happy birthday!

No RaceFans birthdays today

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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13 comments on “Rossi keeps Indianapolis win despite car ballast violation”

  1. I don’t like how Indycar often don’t hand out race altering penalties to race winning cars despite them not complying with the regulations in some way as that to me sets a dangerous precident. Teams could now start using the water bottle as ballast knowing the penalty is just a fine.

    It reminds me of a race at I think it was Texas that Sebastian Bourdais won a few years ago. His car had been sparking significantly more than anyone else all race and it was obviously running super low. Post race the plank/skid blocks were worn down more than allowed but rather than throw Seb out the race they simply fined the team when it was clear running the car lower than allowed would have given an advantage.

    I like the FIA’s more hardline approach to things like this as for as miniscule an advantage as some of this stuff may be, It’s still an advantage gained by not complying with the regulations. And by been strict with it and disqualifying the car it will make it unlikely that any team will risk intentionally running the car in a way that doesn’t comply with the regulations.

    1. How much lead did he have in his bidón? Maybe the whole thing was made out of depleted uranium lol.

      Reminds me of Brundle getting a DQ in (85?) when the team (Tyrell?) we’re topping up the car with fluid that happened to hold a bit of metal in the last pit stop to make weight.

      A kilo can mean seconds over a race distance. I’m surprised they gave a wrist slap for this.

    2. Rules are rules, but I doubt the placement of the water bottle had any performance factor with the outcome.

      Alex Zanardi for some reason is the unluckiest human on earth. How much more can he endure?

    3. Ha! Neither IndyCar nor F1 like to overturn race results after they’ve left the track. That much was obvious in Abu Dhabi.

      Red Bull was found to have used a hand-operated ride height adjustment for several races in a row– were they fined? No. Did they have any races taken away? Of course not. But as soon as they were forced to fix it, Vettel’s race pace slacked off, compared to his qualifying pace. Coincidence, of course.

      1. NASCAR just did it (Pocono) and third place won the race after post-race tech. It was far from satisfying for everyone involved, including the driver who picked up the win. It’s just a bad situation for all parties when the winner fails tech.

    4. There was more than a fine. 20 driver points and 20 entrant points (Car #27) for Rossi and and team. That’s enough of a deterrent and seemingly fair. Especially if this was a team negligence rather than some attempt to blatantly cheat.

      1. Agree, those points removed are going to play a huge impact at the end of the year, the win is now more of a hollow win and the money lost & lower ranking at the end of the year is going to felt hard by team and driver.

  2. While no doubt against the rules, using a water bottle is a pretty elegant way to adjust the weight.
    Not just adjust it, but to hit the minimum bang-on.
    Almost like BAR when they got busted for using fuel as ballast. Even I knew that was specifically identified in the rules of the day.

  3. I vividly remember that hungarian gp but I totally forget that Nicky look.. :D

  4. It is brilliant to hear that (possibly, but probably not, because I informed them) Indycar recognised that in his accident earlier this year, Jack Harvey hit his helmet on the structure of the halo/aeroscreen, and are doing their best to mitigate this risk next year by heightening the head rest as much as possible without blocking the driver’s view (as I suggested to them). Hopefully in later years, for the next generation of car design, they can further distance the aeroscreen from the helmet, particularly where the headrest can’t be heightened due to visibility restrictions.

    Meanwhile F1, despite their far larger budgets and more frequent car design cycles, continues to dozily ignore Leclerc hitting his helmet on the halo in Saudi last year, preferring to wait for a fatality to kick-start the safety improvement.

    On the other hand, it looks extremeley unfair that Rossi was not disqualified from that race. The rule states that: “The minimum weight shall include the car in ready-to-compete condition excluding driver, driver equivalency weight, fuel and drink bottle content.” The statement that “the drink bottle and its contents were used as car ballast” implies that the minimum weight rule was broken, but they found that if you ignored that rule’s explicit exclusion of the water in the bottle, and instead added it on, then suddenly everything is OK! The reason that disqualification is the only correct penalty is because it’s impossible to know where the car would have finished if it hadn’t been underweight. Basically by docking him 20 points, they guessed that he would have finished 5th. This sets a bad precedent for future rulings.

    1. The Indycar decision is baffling as the precedent it sets is absolutely terrible. This kind of thing should be stamped out with a disqualification as it is a technical breach, not a sporting one.

      The penalty says they know that Andretti broke the rules but just didn’t want the short-term PR problem. Just kicking this can down the road.

  5. I think most motorsport teams decided to cut costs by firing their lawyers. That’s the only explanation I have seeing all that’s happening during this silly season.

  6. Regarding COTD, I still believe in him.

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