With the holidays in the rear view mirror, the competitors of the IZOD IndyCar Series will now be starting to ramp up their preparations for the 2013 campaign. One wonders what the new year will hold after a 2012 season that saw some of the best racing that the series has produced in recent memory.
Penske Racing president Tim Cindric, in particular, is hoping that more innovation will be on the horizon for the series. In a recent column for RACER Magazine, Cindric argues that INDYCAR's new leadership must open up the technical specifications on the DW12s and hand more control to the driver.
"If IndyCar is to garner the respect of the fans as one of the top forms of motorsport in the world, we need to get away from this mentality of having spec cars with limited testing," Cindric writes. "I am not advocating a free-for-all for our benefit; rather, we have to allow testing so new drivers have a chance in the sport and we have to allow teams to differentiate themselves beyond just having their own dampers.
"Fans want to see the teams generate evolutions, and if IndyCar continues toward making the rules suit the budgets of the lowest teams, it will soon take a backseat to not only NASCAR, but sports car racing as well."
Indeed, this is what a lot of people in the base have been wanting for a while. But how far can INDYCAR go in that regard considering its emphasis on cost containment and the current state of the economy at large? One might argue that the series took a step in this particular direction with the low-downforce 'speedway' configurations on the DW12, but those "one-at-a-time" movements within the current rules may be all that it can do for now.
As he states above, Cindric doesn't want a 'free for all'; he seems to want to stake a place in the middle between total spec and an open book. But how much money would that take? And how many owners for the smaller teams in the paddock could be able to afford such changes?