Wednesday evening, Speed’s Robin Miller released an article hinting strongly that the team owners were on the verge of outright and open rebellion against the 2012 car. I read the article and had to pause to think about the veracity of the claims made within the article, or at the very least the commitment of the team owners mentioned to stick to their stated convictions. Here’s the meat of the allegations as told by Eric Bachelart.
“The league decided to do a new car and never consulted the teams and we’re all wondering how we’re going to be able to pay for new equipment given the current economy and value of the series,” said Eric Bachelart of Conquest Racing.
“We asked Tony (Cotman) what our investment would be for a new car and he wasn’t able to tell us so we’re all a little bit uncomfortable.”
Another owner, who requested anonymity, was more blunt.
“This isn’t a revolt and we aren’t going to start another series, it’s plain and simple, we don’t have the money to buy new cars. Roger (Penske) and Chip (Ganassi) are saying the same thing. But the IndyCar series signed a deal with Dallara to spend our money without us signing off on it and we’re the guys writing the checks.
“What are they going to do if nobody buys it?”
Read the rest of Robin Miller’s article at SpeedTV.com.
Reading the rest of Mr. Miller’s article, you’re lead to believe that all of the drivers with the exceptions of Foyt and De Ferran outright rejected the entire proposed 2012 chassis/engine package and that there’s a real chance of the 2012 season simply not happening due to the lack of teams being willing to purchase new equipment. Personally, this comes off as being akin to Chicken Little declaring that the sky is falling. It seems like a knee-jerk reaction designed to create a sensationalistic fervor meant only to promote readership. I can buy that teams may be anxious about purchasing new equipment, but if you think clearly about the situation for a moment, you’ll realize that the cost-savings on the engine lease alone will be enough to purchase a new chassis outright. Then you can factor in the reduced cost of replacement parts and the reduction of the inventory a team has to stock owing to the fact that the IndyCar Safety Cell has one configuration for both the road courses and oval tracks. There will no longer be a need to purchase and stock multiple suspension components, driveshafts of various diameters, and other sundary parts and pieces that the teams have now. I think what we’re really seeing here isn’t a genuine threat of outright rebellion, but a group of savvy team owners playing to Mr. Miller’s propensity for sensationalistic journalism in efforts to gain a bit of leverage with the league. In the end, this is really just a non-story and I’m not buying that there’s any genuine risk of teams not seeing the 2012 season open without the major teams and more ready to race. The economics just don’t support the gloomy scenario painted by Mr. Miller.
Agree? Disagree? Think I’m full of crap and Mr. Miller has the right of it? Let’s debate it in the comment section below.