Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Champ Car’s New Rule Book!

There no doubt in this writer’s mind that Champ Car needs to do some work on the rule book for 2007 and beyond. There are two areas in need of serious change!

The idea that every track may have some special “ground rules” to be approved by the drivers at the drivers meeting is ludicrous. Come on this ain’t baseball. This was never more obvious than at Surfers this year.

Tracy got caught by the chicane Nazis and was penalized two positions, not one but two, as a result of a “ground rule” instituted by the so called competition gurus. Supposedly the rule was only for this track and this race and was approved by the drivers at the drivers meeting. What are the drivers doing approving rules?

Ok the rule book states in 6.29 Shortcutting he course during the race: During the race, any advantage or position gained during an off course excursion (four wheels off the racing surface) must be relinquished. Any reported shortcut or off course excursion that, in the opinion of the officials, improves a driver’s position during the race will resulting penalties per chapter 10. Event specific instructions that pertain to shortcutting the course may be issued as conditions warrant.

Event specific instructions........that is the problem here!

Additionally 10.3.5 states, the race director shall have the authority to assess as loss of position penalty of one or more position for any violation of a Champ Car rule.

Ok here is where subjectivity comes into play. How to decide the loss of position is purely a subjective matter. If a chicane is shortcut for any reason and positions gained then the driver should be put back to the running position before the violation, period end of conversation. No drivers meetings or special instructions needed. With this clearly stated rule, application would be the same for all chicanes no matter what track.

To carry this logic further all turns could be defined and racing violations therein could be written into the rule book with the penalties clearly defined. All race courses have the same elements, and a common set of rules can be applied to them. Why should the penalty for shortcutting be different at Surfers than it is anywhere else?

It seems to me to be quite simple, make the rules specific and apply them across all courses and drivers, what more could be asked.

Now let’s look at 6.29 further. Why is running up on the curbs allowed? Isn’t that shortcutting the course? Why must you put all four wheels over the curbing to be guilty of shortcutting? Why do these drivers insist on changing the design of the course?

Change the rule to any wheels on the curbing will be considered shortcutting and apply the new rules accordingly. This will have the additional benefit of helping the teams that can’t afford special shock programs. The racing should be even closer.

We still have to talk about avoidable contact; I have some things to say about that too. Come back later for my rant.