Power warns against making push to pass like ‘brainless’ DRS

Will Power (#12) and Felix Rosenqvist (#10)

Will Power hopes that push to pass does not become a ‘brainless’, DRS-like system when IndyCar introduces hybrid engines in 2023.

IndyCar facilitates push to pass by varying the turbo boost of the current Chevrolet or Honda V6s, but the move to supplementary electric power represents an opportunity for change.

As it stands, the extra boost can be used to attack or defend, which places it in contrast to the entirely asymmetric nature of a drag reduction system.

Push to pass is also more strategic, given its activation is limited and far more discretionary than DRS.

While he has no indication as to what changes, if any, may be in store when hybrids come in, Power hopes that rules around push to pass might be varied depending on the characteristics of each circuit.

However, he is opposed to making overtaking too easy by use of the button.

“I don’t think they know how that is going to work until we get around the engine to see how it all going to work when it is actually physically on the track,” said the Team Penske driver.

“I’m guessing… I expect them to use the electric motor [to achieve] push to pass – not the engine, not the boost – because I think you will have plenty of options for push-to-pass in two different ways [and] obviously amounts of horsepower.

“What I’ve been for is when we go to a track like Mid-Ohio or St Pete[rsburg], where there are short straights, to me you should have a no reply system.

“Maybe on some of the bigger tracks where it is easy to get around, then you could tailor that to the amount of horsepower you get, because you don’t want to make it a brainless pass where it is easy like DRS in Formula 1.

“I think you want to make it where it is still difficult but you can get a legitimate run on someone.”

IndyCar announced new, multi-year agreements with Chevrolet and Honda in October last year, at which time it also advised that its new engines would be delayed a year to 2023.

It also reaffirmed at that time that the incoming specification would be 2.4-litre twin-turbocharged hybrid V6s, producing over 900 horsepower.

Power believes that using the extra, electric power for push to pass is the logical choice for the manufacturers.

“I expect them to use the electrical engine for push to pass for practical reasons and it has to make sense to the manufacturers,” declared the 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner.

“If they are talking about the electrical side being used as a device during the race, it’s good for the manufacturers.”

Supercars will trial push to pass this year in development of its Gen3 ruleset, although whether or not the concept makes it into competition remains to be seen.

Garth Tander is not supportive of having the initiative in racing, although another Bathurst 1000 winner and champion in Mark Winterbottom thinks it has merit if implemented in a thoughtful way.

Paul Morris, who won the Great Race in 2014, a year after Winterbottom did so, is of the view that “The only push to pass should be the bumper.”

IndyCar’s first race of 2021 takes place on April 18 at Barber Motorsports Park.

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