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April 25th, 2012
IndyCar has scheduled a hearing for the protest filed by Chevrolet over the series decision to allow Honda to make a parity-based change to its turbocharger ahead of this weekend’s race in Sao Paolo.
The hearing will take place in Indianapolis on Thursday, and will consist of a three-person panel made up of a representative selected by Honda, a representative selected by General Motors, and a representative mutually agreed on by both manufacturers.
Randy Bernard, CEO of IndyCar, said: “It is IndyCar’s job to review, enforce and uphold the current rules. It must be our position to make the best decision possible from the rules that we all established.”
IndyCar’s engine rules are frozen, however Honda, which is the only manufacturer in IndyCar to use a single-turbo layout, was granted permission to introduce a new compressor cover in accordance with a verbal promise made by the series some time ago to ensure parity between single and twin-turbo configurations.
Chevrolet’s complaint is grounded in the fact that the promise of parity was never enshrined within the regulations.
Honda Performance Development technical director Roger Phillips told AUTOSPORT at Long Beach two weeks ago that Honda simply wants what it believes it was promised by the series.
“Certainly we don’t feel that we have done anything wrong,” he said. “We communicated clearly with the sanctioning body, we had approval from the sanctioning body to apply this change. We were operating under the belief that there was a commitment with both IndyCar and the turbocharger provider to provide equal components, regardless of configuration, to all engine manufacturers.
“If Lotus had decided to go single-turbo then we’d both be in the same boat. I think that’s the message that we want to get across, that there was a commitment to provide equal parity regardless of your chosen solution. And that’s what we’re seeking.”
Honda had initially fitted its new part at Long Beach before protests from its rivals forced it to revert to its original part. Mark Kent, director of Chevrolet Racing, said at the time that he believed the rules should be applied as they were written.
“The date for the engine homologation was prior to the start of the 2012 season,” he said. “Speaking for Chevrolet, we feel this change in turbocharger specification violates the IndyCar rules. Therefore, we have subsequently communicated our concern to IndyCar.”
All of the turbo units in IndyCar are supplied by Borg Warner.