By Amy Konrath
SAO PAULO – Heavy rain showers forced the postponement of the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle, scheduled for Sunday, May 1, until 8 a.m. (ET) Monday, May 2.
The IZOD IndyCar Series race will be televised live on VERSUS at 8 a.m. (ET). It will resume at the point of Sunday’s postponement on Lap 15 with approximately 1 hour, 19 minutes remaining in the two-hour race time limit.
“It’s disappointing to have to postpone any event, but especially one that we anticipated to be such a great event,” said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and racing operations for INDYCAR, sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series. “The city of Sao Paulo did an outstanding job on improving a circuit that produced 96 passes for position a year ago and had a lot of on-track action, but ultimately, it came down to a visibility issue and safety for our competitors is a priority.
“We thank the city and state of Sao Paulo and the event promoter and track workers for their efforts to dry the track. Hopefully, the great racing fans in Brazil who came today will come back tomorrow and fill the grandstands for the great event they came to see.”
Pole sitter Will Power led the first 10 laps on the 11-turn, 2.6-mile circuit before it was red-flagged for 2 hours, 23 minutes the due to treacherous conditions that limited visibility. After a brief attempt to resume the race, it was stopped for a second time at 4:25 p.m. local time.
This is the first IZOD IndyCar Series to be postponed by weather since the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in March 2010 at the Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., won by Power.
DAY 2 NOTEBOOK:
The Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle champion’s trophy is a work of art.
It was created by plastic artist Paulo Solarize, a São Paulo resident who in the 1970s competed in motorcycle racing, and will be presented for the second consecutive year in Victory Circle. For this year’s race, Solarize also created trophies recognizing the winning team and the driver who sets the fastest race lap on the 2.536-mile, 11-turn street course.
“The idea was to do a champion’s trophy to represent some characteristic of Sao Paulo,” he said. “As the city doesn’t have any geographical point that serves as inspiration, as Rio de Janeiro has Sugar Loaf, I found a good one intended to show what Sao Paulo symbolizes for the people. Therefore, the piece will bring family elements to the culture from São Paulo and also Brazilian, with references to the pioneers and the workers that built the richest state of the country.”
Solarize has published book of images and paintings and sculptures of Ayrton Senna, entitled “Art for Senna.” The 17th anniversary of Senna’s death was remembered during pre-race ceremonies, and some drivers had personal tributes on their cars or – in the case of Vitor Meira, his helmet.
Newman/Haas Racing rookie James Hinchcliffe is working with a different race engineer this weekend.
Craig Hampson, the Canadian’s regular engineer, had a family commitment in the U.S. this weekend, so general manager Brian Lisles is filling the role.
Lisles served as race engineer at Newman/Haas for drivers such as Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, Paul Tracy and Christian Fittipaldi.
Sebastien Bourdais, who joined Dale Coyne Racing two weeks before the season opener, will compete in his final IZOD IndyCar Series race until July at Toronto. Bourdais, who has 31 Indy car victories, agreed to run the road/street courses; he also has sports car commitments with Peugeot.
He heads back to Europe this week to race in a 1,000-kilometer event at Spa-Francorchamps on May 5-7. He’ll compete in June in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he started from the pole in 2010.
RACE POSTPONEMENT QUOTES:
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy): “What a disappointing day. We started the day 17th with the GoDaddy car and I just wanted to get through the start. The start was going to be chaos, I was pretty sure of that. I left enough room to negotiate if something happened. A car was on the outside of me and we entered turn one side-by-side and went side-by-side through the chicane. Two cars were stopped outside and I had time to react – I slowed down and then got hit and spun around. It’s a crash. Things like that happen on a start in a place like this in the rain; cars can’t see coming into turn one and there’s no room for error. It’s really unfortunate. Luckily the guys were able to fix the car during the red flags and we were ready to go again when the race got called for the day. We’ll see what tomorrow brings and how they decide to restart the race. Anything could happen at this point.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda): “Today was frustrating for us. I made a mistake on the first lap, it was the same mistake a lot of drivers made but we’re two laps down because of it. I think we’re starting tomorrow based off the end of the day today. I obviously would have been in favor of a full restart. The DHL/Sun Drop car is strong and can be a contender here so I’d like to get back on the front row. We’ll go back to work again tomorrow.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): “I think today was just about survival plain and simple. We tried to keep things clean and move up when we could with the Venom car. I saw the danger factor in continuing the race – the back straightway was really bad and there was no clear view. It sounds like we will start tomorrow how things ended up today which is good for us on the 26 side, but I obviously feel for my teammates that it’s not helping.”
MIKE CONWAY (No. 27 Window World Cares): “Obviously the rain affected our day. It’s a shame. We moved the Window World Cares car up to third and were looking ok but with heavy rain it was difficult to see and it would have been dangerous to continue. I’m pretty sure it was the right thing to stop, but at the same time you want to get the race in. Obviously a lot of disappointed fans today and it would have been nice to put on a show for the; hopefully they’ll come back out tomorrow. We had some issues with the car there at the end, possibly electrical due to the rain, and that’s why we stalled. We’ll take a look tonight and see what exactly the problem was.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Itaipava Team Penske): “I’m very disappointed for several reasons. First, we were involved in an accident on the first lap with Dario (Franchitti) where he went a little deep into the turn and he hit the right front of my Itaipava Team Penske car and we went straight into the wall. Fortunately, the No. 3 car guys were able to repair the damage during the delay, but we basically lost 10 laps. Then the race gets postponed. I feel very bad for the great Brazilian fans that were here today. It’s just a shame. Buit hopefully we can come back and run well tomorrow.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): “I’m definitely disappointed. I wanted to race and I thought we could get it in.l When the cars were out the second time the rain slowed down and I thought we could get the track in good enough shape to race. It’s unfortunate for the fans, but I guess we do need to think about safety first. The Verizon car was feeling good today and hopefully, we can come back and finish strong tomorrow.
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Penske Logistics): “It’s just really unfortunate that we couldn’t get in the race today. We’ve been happy with the Penske Logistics car all weekend. We were ready for an exciting race today, but unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate. I feel really bad for the fans – the stands were packed her today – and the stuck it out to the very end. It’s too bad for them and the people watching at home on TV because they’ve done an outstanding job with the changes they made to circuit and we were ready to put on a good show. The good thing is, we have two of the three Team Penske cars up front, so hopefully we’ll be in good shape when we do get a chance to run.”
RACE INCIDENT QUOTES:
TONY KANAAN (No. 82 Itaipava-KV Racing Technology-Lotus): “I got hit from everywhere. I don’t want to blame anyone because we couldn’t see anything. I’m pretty sure I got hit from behind and hit from the side. And Danica’s car came over top of mine and hit my hand pretty hard.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No 3 Itaipava Team Penske): “I thought bad things come in threes. In my case, one more. Four. Very upset because I gave plenty of room. I just wanted to get around the corner and Dario (Franchitti) went deep. His rear went sideways and when it did, he hit my left front and sent me into the wall. It was a violent crash. I probably helped him out because he was sideways and I probably straightened him out. Very sad for all our sponsors. Hopefully at Indy we will have our luck back. It’s just frustrating.”
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing): “Halfway through the main straight on the lap that I crashed, I felt a bump. I don’t know what I hit because I couldn’t see anything at all! And then I had no brakes at all. I tried to slow it down by downshifting but obviously I had no control. Later, we saw that whatever debris I hit, it cut the brake line. But the ABC Supply team is trying to fix the car so we can get back out there.”
The next IZOD IndyCar Series event is the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle on May 2 on the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The race will be televised live at 8 a.m. (ET) by VERSUS and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The next Firestone Indy Lights race is Firestone Freedom 100 on May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It will be televised live by VERSUS.