Pappas: Many things to be addressed before closed cockpits

IndyCar's new vice president of competition and race engineering Bill Pappas says that ideas for overhead cockpit protection are not yet the priority.

Pappas, who last year was technical director at KV Racing, addressed the media via teleconference and stated his primary focus right now is becoming integrated with the existing projects that predecessor Will Phillips left behind.

He said: "Priority Number 1 is to ensure what development has been done over the course of the winter translates on the racetrack. [It's about] reading through Will's briefs, trying to get up to speed as quickly as possible."

IndyCar's open test starts this Friday at Phoenix International Raceway, and the first race weekend is March 11-13 at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

When questioned about the successor to the current Dallara DW12 spec chassis, Pappas admitted "I haven't even gotten to that point yet.

"It's not like you come in and turn the boat over. It's about trying to look at what makes sense in the immediate future, then start to create a plan for long-term. That's where I'm at."

Quizzed on the closed-cockpit debate, Pappas stated: "There are a lot of priorities. That's definitely on the list of things to discuss, to try to come to some solution. Again, there's many other things before that needs to be addressed."

Pappas being "totally current" is crucial, say bosses

Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, and IndyCar's president of competition and operations Jay Frye joined Pappas on the teleconference with the media.

Miles said: "Bill has a long list right in front of him of changes for this year, from tethers to rear flaps to dome skids to strakes to push-to-pass power increases, fuel sensors. That's a partial list. If I were Bill, my head would be spinning trying to absorb all the things he's going to be confronted with at the end of the week.

"To have somebody who comes to us straight from the paddock with all his team experience, who is totally current, is important. We hope to harness the experience and the engineering and the expertise of our teams as we move forward.

"We are the sanctioning body. We are the people charged with the responsibility to ultimately make the decisions, but we believe that tapping into the expertise in the paddock will make all of our decisions better. I think Bill is remarkably well-positioned to help us do that.

Added Frye: "Bill is certainly a racer. We saw an immediate opportunity to make a personnel move that would make things stronger. We jumped on it.

"Bill and I have met and talked extensively over the last two or three weeks. I think the philosophy and direction and processes and procedures we discussed were very much in line.

"We're very excited about it. Couldn't look forward more to getting the whole process started. Actually we're starting today."

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