The VW group has indicated that they will not be providing an engine for the as yet undetermined new specifications for 2012. Autosport quotes VW Motorsports Director Kris Nissen regarding a new IRL program, “I am not 100 per cent sure of the latest status. But I think it is not realistic for the moment that the VW group will do it.”
Kris goes on to indicate that the whole US market needs to stabilize and the IndyCar series needs to grow and develop before they would be interested in getting involved.
This could be a very big blow against the IndyCar Series who has been counting the VW group as three different potential new engine manufacturers (VW, Audi and Porshce) in their tally. Of those who have expressed interest, only Honda and FIAT are remaining.
At this point, it starting to seem less likely that a new engine/chassis package will be on the track for 2012. For most of last season we heard that a decision needed to be made on both fronts before the end of 2009 so that the engines and chassis could be fully developed, manufactured and ready to go for the start of the 2012 season.
There are two disparate paths for chassis development, an evolution of the current Dallara or a revolution with the Delta Wing concept, and there is a good chance that the chassis direction will not be decided until summer (when Delta Wing’s prototype will be ready for on track testing). The only way that this would work is if the new Dallara design also uses a non-stressed engine so that the same engine design could be used in either chassis, but that is highly unlikely since the chassis weights are going to be vastly different with the Dallara likely to clock in around 1500 lbs and the Delta Wing being described as a “900 pound motorcycle”. This would require very different engines.
If the chassis is left undetermined until this summer there will be no way that the chassis and engines will be ready for 2012. The IndyCar series may use the chassis debate as an excuse for the delay, but the real reason would be that they were unable to attract any new engine partners. Further, they were scared to pull the trigger on forcing the teams to spend new money when the series itself is on shaky financial footings.