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No plans for IndyCar to get rid of standing starts, says Walker

May 16, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

IndyGP-Start-shot AP

INDYCAR president of competition Derrick Walker has said that the series will not abandon standing starts, but also concedes that it has work to do to make them come off cleaner.

Last weekend’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis began in chaos when pole sitter Sebastian Saavedra failed to move from his position on the grid. Seconds later, rookies Carlos Munoz and Mikhail Aleshin plowed into the Colombian, spraying debris everywhere along the front stretch.

The Verizon IndyCar Series brought back standing starts last season, but on Thursday at Indianapolis, Walker said “the system we have on our cars is not as good as it needs to be.”

“It’s tricky to set up. The manufacturers set that up, the way the system behaves. It’s enough to say it’s not foolproof. It needs a lot more work than we’ve given it,” he added to the Associated Press.

“Even if the standing start doesn’t work, there’s a function called anti-stall. The engine should always be running. I don’t think the manufactures have gotten that one correct yet.

“They’re trying to go fast and we’re trying to make sure the engine is running when something goes wrong. The car isn’t perfect.”

Team owner Ed Carpenter also noted the drivers’ difficulties with the current system in post-race last weekend.

“I can think of just two where no one has gone off the grid…It’s not that I’m against them,” he said. “Juan [Pablo Montoya] stalled and he’s done more than anyone else. But right now they don’t go off well. They’re exciting where they work.

“I stalled, Charlie [Kimball] stalled, and this one just happened to be where guys stalled up front. It’s not that we don’t know what we’re doing. But right now it’s hard to do with the system we have.”

In hindsight, Walker feels the series should have provided drivers more time to practice the standing starts, but noted that most of the drivers don’t want to get rid of them.

He also thought that the cars were spaced out on the grid too closely, and that both Munoz and Aleshin should have had dedicated spotters on the IMS Pagoda tower.

“We gave them permission to put a spotter on the roof, right on top of the Pagoda,” Walker maintained.

“Usually, only Christ gets to stand up there. There’s only so much we can do.”

The standing starts will return for the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader in June.

  1. indycarseries500 - May 16, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Just by watching Marshall Pruett and IndyCar’s on-board theatre videos of Long Beach and the GP of Indy, Honda’s anti-stall seems to be working.

  2. testover6370 - May 16, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    Flying starts are a key feature of Indycar, but some races like Long Beach make sense to have a standing start, and in fact the standing start there worked way better than the typical flying start. I’d like to see standing starts used very selectively (in one of the races for each double-header, Indy road course race, and Long Beach seems about right to me).

    More important than the standing starts is fixing the restart system. This should be a basic data-driven decision: double-file restarts had a much lower rate of incidents per attempt than the super-slow, super late single-file restarts of this year. Go back to the double file restarts. Fans want them and despite the claims that they created problems, they were much cleaner.

  3. techmeister1 - May 16, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    There is no advantage IMO to standing starts as they are unnecessarily dangerous.

    • crunge4461 - May 17, 2014 at 2:22 AM

      I think having some rolling starts and some standing starts kinda mixes things up a bit, I like it and I think they are exciting. Just because there is a big crash is no reason to question the format, these things happen, honestly, these types of things are supposed to happen it is racing…the risk, danger, anything can happen…that is racing’s best card to play. Nothing wrong with the standing starts.

  4. manik56 - May 18, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Rolling on ovals. Standing on the rest.
    They do standing starts every pit stop. That isn’t enough practice?

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