Two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya’s conclusion regarding domed skids flies in the face of the theory that the IndyCars will be unable to run together and thus the racing at IMS will be spoiled.
Motorsport.com understands that several Honda-powered teams and drivers are lobbying hard for IndyCar to resurrect the underbody strakes, as used on the Dallara DW12 from 2012 to ’14 (pre-aerokit), in conjunction with the new-for-2016 domed skids, in order to improve drivability and car behavior in traffic.
Meanwhile, Honda Performance Development declined to comment on whether the company considered the domed-skids-plus-strakes combo as a workable compromise, and said: “Our preference would be to remain silent on this matter until we receive a definitive ruling from IndyCar.”
However, speaking after track action on both Chevrolet’s manufacturer day on Tuesday and IndyCar’s safety test on Wednesday, Team Penske-Chevrolet’s Juan Montoya told Motorsport.com: “The difference [between using the new-for-2016 domed skids and not domed skids] was not that big, honestly.
“The first time you try it, until you adjust the car, you think, ‘Oh my God, this isn’t working,’ but once you’ve adjusted it, it’s OK. It drives fine. I did a little bit of running in traffic at the end and that was fine too.
“It may be a little harder, but being harder is not a bad thing, you know? And actually I think the drafting will be better than last year. It's going to be very interesting."
Safety is paramount
The defending Indy 500 winner said the handling of the car with domed skids was less important than the improvements it's supposed to bring in terms of safety.
“At the end of the day, the big thing about domed skids is improving the safety factor," he insisted, "when you realize how much safer the car is now when it’s at big yaw angles. I don’t remember the figures, but when they showed me, I couldn’t believe it. They are big, big gains.”
Regarding running with strakes as well as domed skids, Montoya said: “To ours [Chevrolet’s] it didn’t really do anything.”
Asked if he could confirm that he was therefore not among the drivers lobbying for strakes being added to the underside of the cars, he said, “No, they’re Honda drivers!
“Look, I think both manufacturers knew there would be domed skids when they designed the aero kits. But I don’t want to get into the politics. IndyCar just needs to decide what is right and what is fair, and we’ll deal with it.”
Separately from the domed skids issue, Montoya said he was pleased with the Penske-Chevrolet team’s work over the two days at IMS.
“It was too windy, it had just started raining, and we’d tested most of the stuff we wanted to test, so we decided to stop early today,” he said. “But we got through a lot of work so I’m happy."