Last weekend was IndyCar’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park, and it was a long day. There was a two hour and twenty-six minute delay due to rain and severe weather. Because of the long delay, the race became a 100 minute timed race. The race finally started around 5:30 pm. But before the first lap even ended, there was a full course yellow after Takuma Sato went off course and stalled in Turn 11. Then, there was another full course caution on lap 21 when Mikhail Aleshin spun after contact with Sebastien Bourdais. During pit stops on lap 22, Helio Castroneves accidentally stopped in the pit of Justin Wilson. Castroneves later received a penalty on lap 26. Also on lap 22, Carlos Munoz stopped on course after making contact with the tire barrier in turn seven and climbed out of the car without assistance. On lap 26, Bourdais received a penalty for the contact with Aleshin on lap 21. On lap 27, there was a full course caution after Juan Pablo Montoya took a trip off course and was restarted. And on lap 31, there was another full course caution after Carlos Huertas stopped off course in turn seven. The last full course caution came on lap 66 when Mikhail Aleshin made contact with the tire barrier in turn 14. On lap 69, the yellow and checkered were waved, with Ryan Hunter-Reay winning the race. Marco Andretti, Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud, and Will Power rounded out the top five. On Friday, May 2nd, the crew for Carlos Munoz received a $2,000 fine for pit personnel not wearing appropriate attire and more than six crew members over the wall.
Holy caution flag usage, Batman. There were so many yellow flag periods throughout the race. It made the race seem so much more dragged out than it needed to be. However, I can kind of understand why there were so many cautions. If you look at it, the majority of people involved in incidents that brought out cautions are rookies, returning from a different form of motorsports, or known for crashing. Given that it was the first wet race of the year, you had to expect the unexperienced or crash-prone drivers would crash or go off track.
That was a totally avoidable fine for Munoz’s crew. I feel like they should’ve been able to count the amount of crew members jumping over the wall and make sure it didn’t happen. I also feel like they also should have been able to notice that at least one pit crew member didn’t have on the necessary attire and gotten it fixed. After all, it’s Andretti Autosports. You don’t expect a big team like Andretti Autosports to get a fine for something that could’ve been easily preventable. Here’s hoping they figure out a way to prevent the same thing from happening again.