It’s been nearly one month since INDYCAR’s homologation deadline for the Aero Kits that will be used in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season but so far neither Chevrolet nor Honda has made those kits public.
According to Steve Eriksen, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Honda Performance Development (HPD) there is a good reason for that secrecy.
“We conducted our aero tests in hopes that nobody would see them because before the homologation date you didn’t want anybody else to copy it,” Eriksen said. “You aren’t allowed to test the Aero Kits after the homologation date until March 13. We wanted to work out a plan with American Honda to unveil them officially and get as much press out of it as possible because we are hoping that brings new attention to IndyCar. We have worked out a plan for that.
“Our opportunity to test the Aero Kits was only six days up to January 18 and then you are forbidden to test the Aero Kits until March 13. We are in ‘No Man’s Land’ until we get on the track.”
Teams will receive Aero Kit parts by March 1 but can’t start testing the Aero Kits until March 13. Chevy teams have seen what the new kits will look like and so has Honda. So far, those teams have honored the confidentiality of this project.
“We have shared the designs with all of our teams so they are aware of what the basics of the car look like and they can begin doing their sponsorship logo, layout and all that based on the new shapes,” Eriksen said. “We have done some track testing prior to the January 18 deadline and that was with our team supporting us on that. There will be a big splash that American Honda has planned.
“One of the things to keep in mind is even though the homologation date has passed – that seals our fate through the first kit design that comes out – but after the end of the Indy race this year and the end of the 2016 IndyCar season you can introduce three redesigned legality boxes.”
A “legality box” can best be described as a series of volumes that surrounds the subsections of the car. Each one of those is the “legality box” based on INDYCAR regulations.
“If you take a road course car and put a box around the front wing that would be one legality box,” Eriksen said. “If that is an area open for update as soon as you homologate your base kit you can start working on the next update. The sooner your competition sees what you have done the sooner they can start evaluating what you have done and consider if any of that should apply to their next update.
“From a competitive standpoint you want to keep things under wraps until you absolutely can’t avoid it.”
Considering how the IndyCar Paddock often has more leaks than a plumber on a bad day it is impressive that so far teams, officials and manufacturers have not had any leaks in any way, shape or form.
“The only leaks I saw were the very early ones of a Chevy test at Circuit of the Americas that somebody got some pictures from a distance,” Eriksen said. “Apart from that I have not seen any pictures and I am a bit surprised because many of the tracks are not very secure in reality. There are plenty of fencing on the outside where people can stand and take pictures. Maybe some pictures were taken but none have shown up on the Internet.
“What we saw in those grainy photos could have zero resemblance to what they finally homologated. That is the big guessing game that neither side knows what the other side has come up with their final design. The only folks that know are INDYCAR right now. Once we get on track from March 13 onward pictures will be all over the place but you want to largely keep your designs hidden so your competitors won’t see the design until as late at possible.”