Honda Performance Development boss Allen Miller says the automaker’s years spent as the sole manufacturer of IndyCar engines contributed to the performance gap between it and series champions Chevrolet this year.
This year aero kits were used on IndyCar racecars for the first time, putting more responsibility on the manufacturer to produce a competitive engine and aero kit package. The Chevy kit emerged dominant, and Honda believes that because it didn’t have to compete with other manufacturers in IndyCar for so long, their team was caught off guard by the new rules.
“There were years where there was one engine, we were it, and the whole goal was to make the engine safe and stable and make them all as much the same as they could be,” Miller told Autosport.
“Jumping back into competition, we had several guys who were only there when we were a sole supplier, so [the task has been] helping bring them up in their skills to develop.”
“And over this last year we’ve pushed quite hard on the guys to figure it out,” he added.
Also contributing to the disparity between the Chevy and Honda packages was the engine. Because their aero kit wasn’t up-to-snuff, Honda turned the wick up on the engine, which contributed to a decrease in reliability. Honda has since requested IndyCar implement rule 9.3 in the rulebook, which would allow the team to develop their aero kit in the off season. The series has yet to respond.