Team Penske's Will Power says it’s time for IndyCar to use road course horsepower and to halve the downforce for short ovals like Phoenix International Raceway.
The 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion, who was second fastest in yesterday afternoon’s session but ended his evening session early to reduce the risk of cut tires, told Motorsport.com: “I’ve always said that we need to make these tracks challenging in more than just a physical way.
“I think you’d have great racing if instead of our ‘oval’ horsepower limit [approximately 600hp] we were given road course power [730-750hp] and halved the downforce. That’s just not right to say we couldn’t run speedway-type wings. Yes we could. We just have to make the step.”
Power told the media earlier in the afternoon: “[Phoenix] is going to be the most physical race of the year, I'm pretty sure. The wheel is so heavy.
“I have to say, after the previous test, I was thinking I don't think it will be possible to do an entire race if it goes green all the way. It's the most downforce any open-wheel car has ever had. It's the most downforce ever run on an oval. That's why it's physical. It's as simple as that. It's an insane [G-force] number.”
After stepping from the cockpit following the evening session, Power reiterated his concerns to Motorsport.com.
“People are saying we need all this the downforce so cars can follow close behind. Well, yeah, they can do that here but I don’t think we see much passing, because we're all going the same speed and carrying it all the way through the turns.
“Taking 2000lbs downforce away would increase the speed difference between the straights and the turns.
It would also make the cars slide more, which would make it much harder to look after the tires through a stint. As they degraded, that would create variations in speed. There would be more mistakes and more passing.”
He concluded: “It depends what we’re trying to prove, right? We can hold it flat all the way around? Big deal. I want to see a package where the driver is put back into the equation.”