Rumours: Team owners vs. Randy Bernard and double-header races from 2013
23rd August 2012, 19:00 at 7:00 pm #131990
This searing article from Robin Miller is a terrific read and a view I have a lot of sympathy for. The last thing IndyCar needs now is another team owner rebellion and more political infighting.
Despite a committee process instituted by Bernard that was badmouthed at every turn, the new Dallara has been a winner and staged some of the best races we’ve seen in 20 years with a big assist from Firestone and the drivers. Randy’s choices to run Race Control and the technical department have also given the series a major upgrade in professionalism. He’s OK’d a reduction in testing next year which should help keep the smaller teams on a competitive curve.
Yet he’s constantly criticised and undermined by a few brave souls who hide in their hospitality tent. In a season that should be celebrated for its good, hard racing and 4-driver duel for the championship, instead it’s been one loud bitch session.
Miller also tips a major expansion of the calendar next year with double-header races:
One track promoter called me to say that Bernard has a great idea for 2013. He wants to run doubleheaders at all the street and road courses.
In other words, it sounds like practice and qualify on Friday, have one race Saturday afternoon and another on Sunday afternoon. The teams are already there, so are the TV cameras and more fans might be inclined to spend the weekend. Crash damage for a road race isn’t nearly as bad as an oval, so a wreck on Saturday shouldn’t put a team on the trailer for Sunday.
This one’s a must-read:23rd August 2012, 19:17 at 7:17 pm #207792
I think single races are better, because it means longer races. If the double-header races are long (like now), it would be a nice idea.24th August 2012, 0:10 at 12:10 am #207793
As someone who grew up loving open wheel racing in America when it was one single series (and a glorious one!), then had to watch it eat itself alive as it’s schism killed fan interest, I FULLY back Miller’s sentiments. Indy Car has had quite enough of this ********. And you’d hope that they’d take a lesson from the past and see there is no future in more squabbling from team owners to take the reigns like a greedy child. Where are their heads? Of all the times to pick to split into factions, why do so when the series is on an upswing and having the best racing in probably over a decade? I don’t know that I can bear to watch my first love fall to pieces for the second time in my life. If Indy Car ever wants to know why long time fans like me drifted away and eventually began watching Formula 1, it’s for reasons exactly like Robin has highlighted.
So this twin bill idea seems like an inexpensive yet creative way to have 20-22 races next season
I will disagree on this point, though. This does not seem like 20-22 races to me. A race is an entire weekend to me. It feels more like wins are diluted and less special. If the season has 10 races or 30 races, I want to watch because a win on Sunday means something. Double headers smack of lesser series which struggle for attention and aren’t even the main attraction of the weekend. This line of action is going to lead Indy Car farther into the territory of a “lesser” category of racing. It’s bad enough that it’s already become the location for former F1 drivers to escape to when F1 doesn’t want them anymore. It always makes me feel like our open wheel series (which has an incredible and rich history of it’s own with LOTS of incredible drivers, mind you) is looked down upon across the pond.24th August 2012, 0:40 at 12:40 am #207794
Ugh, more politicking in IndyCar? I’d argue Bernie has ruffled more feathers than Bernard, but you don’t see the teams trying to kick him out. I wonder what I’m missing.
The double-header is an interesting idea, but there is one major problem which I can see. Currently, we have five oval races and ten road races. Considering that Indianapolis is worth more points, that means that just over a third of the points are won at ovals. This allows oval specialists like Franchitti to perform, and also maintains IndyCar’s reputation as a multi-discipline series (which for my money makes it fundamentally better than F1). If we now have two races on each road course, it becomes 20 road races but still only five ovals, meaning only 20% (assuming Indy counts for the same as the rest) of the points are for ovals. This dilutes the multi-discipline nature, and hands the onus back to road course specialists like Power, Pagenaud and Wilson. It’s like the final years of Champ Car all over again.
The solution of reducing the significance of the road races doesn’t work either, because then a crash there would cost you significantly less than on an oval. This is even before you get into the issues that @joey-poey talked about. Moreover, the extra costs for Firestone and other suppliers may be seen to be too much. If the cars are getting through three sets of tyres in a race, that’s 78 extra sets to haul around, or 312 individual tyres, per weekend. Sure, there’s only one properly foreign round in Brazil, but if the supposed European expansion goes ahead that would be a massive extra cost.
It’s a shame, because they’re up against NASCAR which somehow manages to fit over 20 races onto the calendar, but the double-header idea isn’t the solution, unless I’m missing something.24th August 2012, 7:15 at 7:15 am #207795
If we now have two races on each road course, it becomes 20 road races but still only five ovals, meaning only 20% (assuming Indy counts for the same as the rest) of the points are for ovals.
That’s an excellent point, and one I think they should consider very seriously.24th August 2012, 7:52 at 7:52 am #207796
I’d argue Bernie has ruffled more feathers than Bernard, but you don’t see the teams trying to kick him out. I wonder what I’m missing.
The SPEED article shows some of Bernard’s shortcomings – his mistakes with the Qingdao event, the fall-out from the price of spare parts, and the way he mishandled Lotus – which have probably led to the perception of weakness by some of the teams. I don’t think Bernie Ecclestone has really made any errors in judgement like that. Certainly not when the sport was at a critical transitional period the way Indycar is right now.13th September 2012, 14:33 at 2:33 pm #207797
More on the double-header plan:
Detroit Grand Prix chairman Bud Denker says he’s interested, and there are signs he’s not alone among IndyCar’s road course and street circuit venues. Barber Motorsports Park and Sonoma Raceway have been contacted; it’s believed that Edmonton is a possibility, too.13th September 2012, 15:32 at 3:32 pm #207798
Before thinking of double headers, IndyCar have to sort out the Oval/Road course balance. Oval racing has been an American open wheel racing staple for quite some time. Especially with the two championships. It needs to be 50-50 or at least weighted towards Ovals before they try anything else.14th September 2012, 3:50 at 3:50 am #207799
@cstonehouse – I’ve heard that Bernard wants the series to expand out to 20 races in 2013 (and possibly as many as 24), and that he’s been in talks with the following circuits:
Michigan, Phoenix, Pocono, Kentucky, Richmond, Gateway, Kansas, Nashville, Homestead and Chicagoland.
Portland, NOLA (New Orleans), Virginia, Road America, Sepang, Sentul, Losail, Mexico City, the Circuit of the Americas and “former Formula One venues in Europe”.
Cleveland Airport, Surfers Paradise, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Providence, Marina Bay (Singapore) and Palm Springs
Undefined (but probably street circuits)
Vancouver, Calgary and Quebec City.
The overwhelming majority of circuits being considered are ovals. I don’t think an international expansion would work, unless it was to Canada, Mexico or Australia and New Zealand. I haven’t heard anything about the potential for expansion to Australia aside from the Surfers’ Paradise race, and there is no way V8 Supercars will relinquish their hold on the event.
The best way forward would be an eighteen or twenty-one round calendar, with the ovals, road courses and street circuits split equally (so six, six and six, or seven, seven and seven).14th September 2012, 4:49 at 4:49 am #207800
1/3 of your list are ovals – hardly an “overwhelming majority”
i’d like to see major racing series cover north america on a regular basis. maybe indy has a shot in south america, with all the s.a. drivers and support from brazil. if the anzacs desire more indy, that’s ok but i don’t have huge expectations for that.14th September 2012, 23:35 at 11:35 pm #207801
1/3 of your list are ovals – hardly an “overwhelming majority”
Did you not read my post? The likes of Sepang, Sentul, Losail, “former Formula One venues in Europe”, Surfers Paradise and Marina Bay are unlikely. NOLA is also out because it will be years before it’s ready. And a lot of the street circuits have been talked about for years, but none have really come to fruition; Providence seems to be the only one with a realistic chance of making the calendar.26th September 2012, 11:00 at 11:00 am #207802
Double-headers tipped to be Detroit, Sonoma and the new race at Houston:
Although I like there being more races I don’t think it’s a good idea to tip the balance further against the ovals.
Texas has run two races previously and the race there this year was a belter – perhaps that could be a double-header too? (Though – and I must stress this – without the horrible random grid nonsense they came up with last year. *shudder*)1st October 2012, 2:55 at 2:55 am #207803
Double-headers confirmed at Detroit, Houson and Toronto:
Indianapolis, Pocono and Fontana will form the “triple crown”, with a $1 million bonus on offer for winning all three (which is really a watered-down version of the $5 million offered to any rookie who could win the final race of the 2011 season at Las Vegas from last on the grid; Dan Wheldon was the only driver to take up the challenge).
Honestly, it does feel a bit like they’re articifially padding out the grid with these double-header events.
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