Michael Andretti has expressed concerns about how hard it will be to pass at Phoenix International Raceway when the series returns for the second round of the 2016 season.
The team-owner told Motorsport.com: “I’m worried that we’re gonna have a situation where the lead driver will come around to the back of the field and just stall. So I’m pushing for more downforce to give us more racing.”
Asked if he was concerned it could turn out like Richmond in 2009, when the cars circulated equi-distant and leaders Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti dared not make a pass on the backmarkers, Andretti said: “That’s exactly the race we mentioned, yeah.
“We can’t afford to put on that kind of a show. This is Phoenix, we’re returning here for the first time in 10 years, there’s high expectations for a good race.
“We’re not going to make a good show if we go with the downforce they have currently, so that’s why we’re pushing for more downforce for the race.
The former Phoenix winner and polesitter continued: “People will say we’re pushing for that because we think we have an advantage. But no – we as a series just can’t afford to screw up this race.”
Andretti also said it was unwise to use the evening sessions in these test days as a guide for what was needed to make a good race.
He said: “We only have three sets of tires for the session, so you’re only going to do short runs and you’re not going to put a lot of downforce in it because you’re not going to need to; there won’t be that many cars on the track at one time.
“So yeah, these evening sessions aren’t going to give us a good read on how the race will pan out. The passing problem won’t be exposed.”
Andretti went on: “These guys need to wake up. Certain people want less downforce because they couldn’t give a damn about the show. I’m looking big picture, looking from the fan perspective.”