With just six races remaining in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule, Vice President of technology Will Phillips has announced IndyCar is bringing back Push-to-Pass.
The overtake assist feature that made it’s debut in 2009 will be featured in the next five races, which are all on road/street courses. Phillips said “It will be similar to what it was in the past because we know that model worked.” If you’re not familiar with the P2P, it basically allows a driver to add turbocharger boost and additional RPM with the press of a button on the steering wheel to assist with making a pass or defending a position.
The first race we will see it be used in this year will be next weekend’s race, the Honda Indy Toronto. Teams will however be allowed to test the system during the event weekend on the streets of Exhibition Place.
We saw how the P2P system worked in the series last year with the old Dallara machines. It has not been used with the new chassis or the new Chevy, Honda, and Lotus engines. The real question we have to ask is why it is being introduced now. We’re past the halfway point in the season, and the racing this year has been exceptional at every event. Quite simply, it’s not needed.
Most of the fans I’ve spoken to are against bringing the system back, and it’s understandable. Most fans want to see the drivers use their talent to make a pass and get around someone. Yes, you could argue that strategy comes into play as to when and where to use your boost during the race, but is that what the series really needs?
The passing has been present and frequent in every race this year. It was announced before the season though that they would “probably” bring it back at some point of the season. They also said they would try using standing starts in some races this year, but we haven’t seen or heard of any of that since the season began. It sounds like they want to test some things and see how it works under race conditions before they decide to use it full time or throw it away for good.
While I think the DRS system used in Formula 1 is ridiculous, I think the Push to Pass feature is even worse. Hopefully IndyCar will see the fans really don’t want to see it and that it isn’t needed to produce great racing. It will be interesting to see how this affects the number of blown engines though. Perhaps instead of implementing the P2P system, we should just add more horsepower to the engines and let the boys (and girls) race.