IndyCar relaxes ”no blocking” policy

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    Keith Collantine

    New IndyCar race director Beaux Barfield has said the series will take a different stance on drivers defending position in 2012.

    Previously, due to the narrow confines of some IndyCar tracks, drivers have not been allowed to move off-line to defend their position – a much stricter rule on defensive driving than we have in F1.

    Barfield says that will be relaxed this year thour the rules won’t actually be changed:

    “A basis for the strong stance on blocking was that our cars have become sort of notorious for being difficult to pass so a little bit of defensive maneuvering leads to processional-type races.

    “I’ve revisited that type of no-passing racing. My opinion is that it is dealt with better technologically — either with power to pass or aerodynamics or whatever the case is — not in how a driver intuitively tends to drive or behave on the track.

    “That doesn’t mean I’m allowing this to be wide open with dangerous weaving. I’ll deal with dangerous moves, but the defensive-type moves that people I think are more accustomed to are basically being restored to our kind of racing.”

    More here:

    I could take or leave the old ‘rule’ as long as it was being enforced clearly (which it was, despite Helio Castroneves’ protestations to the contrary).

    If the new generation cars are going to make the racing closer on street and road tracks then allowing drivers more freedom to defend their position is probably a good thing.

    As ever, I think IndyCar should be commended for being so open about their rules of racing – it’s all too often a grey area in F1, though they are getting better (such as with this year’s rules clarification on defensive driving).



    I’m glad to hear this. Frankly, even though they were more clearly defined, the no blocking rule was completely against the spirit of racing in my opinion. It’d be like telling a goalie once a ball has been kicked, you are not allowed to change where you are to prevent the ball from scoring. And when questioned about it, the rule-makers would state it’s so that we’d have higher-scoring games to make a more exciting product. I say bull. Defense is just as much a part of racing as attacking is and that’s part of what makes it exciting. The ever-used chess match comparison is a good one because we don’t want people letting their pieces get taken down willy-nilly. We want a battle of wits and cunning between competitors. So I’m more than happy to see Barfield ease up on what was a silly way of officiating racing. Dangerous weaving? Yes, clamp down on that. Taking an inside defensive line? That’s just part and parcel of the game.



    @joey-poey The soccer analogy only works if you make the goal about double the size of the goalie.

    I agree about defending being part of racing though. How do you feel about F1’s new rules?



    I’m okay with it. All it essentially does is clarify that you MUST leave that car width of space. Otherwise it legitimately is weaving with an intent to block, not defend. It also doesn’t guarantee a slam dunk pass nor leaves the driver ahead invincible.



    Fantastic news.

    Given the tragedies of last year, you could understand if IndyCar went quite defensive with their rules in regards to blocking/manouvering, but instead they’ve allowed their racers to take responsibility and do what they do best.

    It was this rule last year that made me not want to watch the rest of the season. Seeing someone get penalised for defending was very difficult to watch as a racing fan.

    Unfortunately, I gave IndyCar another chance at Las Vegas. Wasn’t great timing in the end :(

    Saying that, i’m really stoked for the new season, what with the nice new cars (hey, just my opinion) and potentially seeing Rubens over there, along with Alesi for the Indy 500. Can’t wait!



    Good thing they had a thought about the rule, it really did not work for a good race in several instances last year.

    But as Keith writes, the best thing is they are saying this upfront and are clear about it so everyone knows what they can expect. IndyCar is really looking good for next years I think.

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