Takuma Sato was twice reviewed by IndyCar Race Control in the closing laps of Sunday's Sao Paulo Indy 300 for his rather defensive tactics to protect the lead from both Josef Newgarden and James Hinchcliffe.
No action was taken against the A.J. Foyt Racing driver on both counts, who was eventually passed by Hinchcliffe on the final corner and came up second. One would argue that Hinchcliffe's stellar cross-over in Turn 11 to snatch the victory saved the series from a big heap of criticism regarding the rules of blocking (although some drivers, including Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon, still put in their two cents on the topic).
But race director Beaux Barfield has told The Indianapolis Star that Sato was following the curve of Sao Paulo's mile-long backstretch, where he repelled attacks on the inside from both Newgarden and Hinchcliffe leading up to the climatic conclusion of the race. In addition, The Star's Curt Cavin writes that camera angles were unable to give Barfield and his team clear evidence on whether Sato was moving along with his opponents or in reaction to them.
"He was aggressive [and] right on the edge,” Barfield said to Cavin. “We looked at so many clips after the race and to [discuss] specifically, they run together. A couple made it really difficult to call.”
And so, the race played out without impact from the officials -- an extension of Barfield's belief that a "hands-off" approach is working out so far.