It's only 169 days to the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season opener, but the 2012 campaign -- and the next-generation IndyCar -- will also be here before we know it.
Tony Cotman is the man leading the 2012 IndyCar project and in his latest blog post for RACER Magazine, the former Champ Car chief steward is opening up about a variety of subjects from the aero kits that will be on Dallara's "safety cell" foundation for the new cars to the input he's gotten from teams and drivers to Dallara bringing in racers of different height to be fitted in a mock-up monocoque.
A couple of interesting things can be gleaned from this piece -- namely, Cotman's revelation of a possible anti-stall mechanism being put into the new cars in lieu of a regular onboard starter. He writes that the mechanism would consist of a two-pedal system with a hand-operated clutch on the steering wheel.
Cotman goes on to say that this is part of a bigger plan to cut the number of yellow flags due to spin-and-stalls and have the new cars capable of standing starts, which were utilized during the final years of Champ Car. However, the issue of deciding to implement standing starts is one that IndyCar has to decide according to him:
"Whether the series chooses to utilize that ability is down to them. I'd love to see it on the [road and street courses] -- I think it adds an element of excitement and this series boasts that it's the most versatile series in the world, so having to master standing starts as well as rolling starts on ovals works. But that's merely my opinion.
"There are a lot of fans who think we should have rolling starts, because that's the American way. Still, my job is to make sure the car is capable of doing all it can should the need arise. From there, fans can voice their thoughts."
Here's mine: I'm undecided on such a prospect. While standing starts can certainly be exciting (I still remember Will Power's charge from fourth to the lead on the start at Long Beach in 2008), Cotman's right in that a rolling start is something American race fans are used to. In a time where IndyCar's getting slagged for not being American enough -- especially in their driver corps -- is it advisable to take a cue from the Formula One bunch?
What do you think? Would you prefer that the drivers have a legitimate onboard starter for the new car? And would you prefer rolling or standing starts on the road/street courses?