14 July 2010

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of the Chassis Announcement

The nice part about heading to Maine for vacation is the absence of some of the utilities I'm used to in Indianapolis.  Staying in a cabin with no Internet, nor TV forces one to do things like read.  Or hike.  Or venture 20 minutes into town to find Internet.

However, when the IZOD IndyCar Series makes their 2012 chassis announcement, it makes following the information difficult.  Thanks to the power of cell phones and Twitter, a steady stream of information flowed forth.

And after saying "One chassis" in my best Derek Zoolander voice roughly four times, I went to write some quick thoughts on the announcement.  But of course, without Internet, it could not reach the marvelous masses until I returned home, at approximately 4:30 this morning.

So without further ado, a speedy breakdown of the 2012 chassis announcement:

The Good

  • Cut costs.  Reducing the amount of money spent on a single chassis, down to $349,000.  Making cars affordable for all teams in a down economy is crucial.  And with the moneys saved - nearly 45 percent - teams can either pocket or re-invest in research and development, leading to increased competition, in theory.
  • A shortened contract.  Giving Dallara the exclusive rights for the chassis through the 2015 season gives the racing economy (and overall economy) more time to recover.  Should Lola, Swift, BAT and/or DeltaWing continue to chase a contract for an IndyCar chassis, three years is a fairly short amount of time to have to wait.
  • Building in Speedway.  With Dallara committed to building in Speedway, Indiana, the area around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway continues to grow.  The Speedway Redevelopment Commission has done an excellent job in rehabbing portions of the town already, and by bringing in Dallara, Speedway, along with IMS, continue to help make the area the Racing Capital of the World.  If the SRC can bring in an aero kit manufacturer or two, it would go a long way as well.  (They just need to get to work on the proposed Hall of Fame, as well.) 
  • Opening up competition.  Even with just one chassis, opening up the aero kits to multiple manufacturers is a great step forward.  Of course, this leads to...
The Bad
  • No announced aero kit manufacturers.  Yes, Dallara will make aero kits.  But if no one signs up, has anything really changed from the last few years?  Now Lotus is rumored to be on board to design aero kits, and if they join the fray along with a few others, then the IndyCar Series looks excellent in their decision-making process.  But if not, all the 2012 chassis change brings is just that - a new car, but a spec car.  
The Ugly
    • The lack of multiple chassis.  Yes, I understand the economy isn't good.  That doesn't mean that I didn't want to see a Swift design tackling Turn 1 at IMS in 2012.
    • The lack of internet in Maine.  It wasn't fun waiting four days to copy and paste something I wrote.

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