IndyCar bans drivers from public criticism

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    IndyCar has added a new regulation which would certainly deserve a place on last week’s Top Ten Ridiculous Rules F1 Doesn’t Have Yet.

    In short, drivers are no longer allowed to be critical of the championship:

    9.3.8 Detrimental Competitor Conduct – Competitors must be respectful, professional, fair and courteous to others. At all times, Competitors must not, attempt to, or engage in conduct or statements that in the judgment of INDYCAR:

    a) Threatens or denigrates any Official, fellow Competitor or the IndyCar brand;

    b) Calls into question the integrity or legitimacy of the Rules or their application, construction or interpretation;

    c) Denigrates the IndyCar Series racing schedule or Event(s);

    d) Threatens or denigrates any IndyCar business relationship, including those with sponsors or broadcasters;

    e) Otherwise threatens the integrity, reputation or public confidence of the sport, IndyCar, or IndyCar Series.

    In an article on the series’ website CEO Mark Miles says the rule is not aimed at incidents such as “the exchange between Ed Carpenter and Sage Karam last Saturday at Iowa Speedway”.

    It would seem to me this is a response to the criticism the championship received after the Fontana race, where there was widespread concern from the drivers over the potential dangers over the increase of pack racing in the championship. This is a legitimate safety concern and gagging them from speaking out about their fears is downright irresponsible.

    As a long-time admirer of IndyCar-style racing it pains me to see the series stoop so low. This is an absolutely shameful decision and I hope the drivers flout it en masse until it is rescinded:


    And then we wonder why we get “no comment” type reactions on questions. Boo Indycar. We saw this rule misused in F1 too often under Max Mosley, certainly not looking forward to seeing that happen in the US.


    I found it typical of the sort of rule that Indycar clarifies what new rule means evening after issuing it … though that also only functions to make it less clear as the clarification contradicts the plain reading of the rule. As you say @bascb, reminding of F1 Max Mosley era:

    “We feel it’s our responsibility to distinguish between irresponsible statements that damage the sport or its competitors and the intense competitive nature of the series. This rule is to ensure we have authority to act when we feel it is required,” Miles concluded.

    right, that really helps make it not arbitrary then. As you say Keith, shameful and sad.

    Craig Woollard

    After F1 gets slammed for drivers being PR-friendly robots, IndyCar forces their drivers to become PR-friendly robots.

    Shocking, stupid and ridiculous. Denying the right to voice an opinion on something just because it might upset somebody who handed out a penalty which was probably not required is just crazy.

    I wonder what random points deduction I will get for this comment.


    @bosyber I don’t see what’s new in that article?

    Minus 50. You’re lucky it’s not the last race of the season or it’d be 100…


    We actually have a very similar rule in AFL football in australia, where current players and coaches are not allowed to publicly criticise umpires (referees) and their on ground decisions. There have many incidents when the wrong call has been made that affected the outcome of a game and players and coaches just have to suck it up. On hte flip side, past-players and coaches quickly jump all over the umpires… Has it worked for AFL? imo I don’t think it has, as fans are still unhappy about bad decisions, regardless if their players/coaches can’t comment, the commentators constantly ridicule the AFL governing body about it, and raise it often as a negative each time they get a “no comment” or “can’t comment” response from a player/coach. It just doesn’t make sense to me.


    NASCAR has had something similar for a while now. When NASCAR began racing the new Gen 6 car a couple of years ago, Denny Hamlin complained (correctly) that the old car produced better racing than the new one. NASCAR fined him $25,000.



    @keithcollantine, no nothing new, but they still felt need to say it…

    R.J. O’Connell

    Indiana columnist Bob Kravitz may have penned the worst defense of the new rules you’ll read.

    Two words: Echo. Chamber.

    Craig Woollard

    There’s only one thing worse than random points deductions, and that’s random double points deductions… *shudders*



    Correct mate but gagging AFL players has made our sport more sterile that ever, its not good!!
    But the rule changers over the years more so.

    So for those that don’t know Australian Football League it WAS a very tough sport in the past (like rugby or Gridiron) that has been “over ruled” to take out its “toughness” to make it more friendly to sell TV rights to those occasional viewers in an effort to increase revenue- the die hard fans don’t like this as there are “novelty” rules introduced to make the occasional viewer interested (for the time being at least) while your die hard AFL fan is looking for another sport to follow.

    I find this sad mate, god I only hope the same does not happen to our beloved Formula One………………………………………….Hmmmm………….


    @rjoconnell You could almost read that article as an example of ‘proof by contradiction’. Whoever wrote that is so drunk on the Kool-Aid they can’t see how utterly unreasonable their position is.

    I mean, he literally makes the case that drivers should be shushed when they feel the need to warn people that the sport is risking a fatality. How can you place loss of face above something as serious as that?

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