Farewell to ‘the snake’ – Why contentious Indy 500 move is banned

Even the Abu Dhabi Auto Racing League

The most correct. the Dragon. weave. It has had many names but the controversial move that was key to winning the recent Indianapolis 500 has been banned for 2024.

This move – shown in the video below – is when a driver uses an aggressive weaving motion to break the slipstream into the car behind them so they can't approach. Now IndyCar has a plan to stop him.

Last year's winner Joseph Newgarden believes the origin of the move dates back to 2015, but in 2019 when it was used very aggressively by victor Simon Pagenaud, it became a popular source of discussion in motorcycle racing.

Drivers who don't win and can't use this move regularly criticize it for being dangerous for fairly obvious reasons; Weaving around the track at speeds in excess of 200 mph is a high risk.

The move has been allowed so far because it did not strictly violate any IndyCar rules. The movement is initiated by the lead driver, so it cannot be considered an obstruction because the lead is deliberately moving away from the car behind him rather than towards him.

There is also the 'reading between the lines' issue which is that since this move usually decides the race, the penalty will come after the race and that presents a problem for the show. Especially when emotions are running high at the end of the 500th and there are so many celebrations and traditions to uphold.

This move is becoming more common in this rule set as the car in front can be a sitting duck for cars trying to overtake from behind.

Newgarden's explanation of the defense against Marcus Ericsson last year makes this clear, suggesting that he felt hesitant about using the move but was convinced he would lose the race without it – and knew he wouldn't be penalized.

“I knew straight away when I went into Turn 3 and saw where Marcus was, and he was sticking to me so tight, I thought, man, he has a chance to get back behind me before the line gets too high.” Newgarden recalls.

“I knew the rules at that point with the line. They weren't marking it. You had to use it.

I think the response to change is unanimous among everyone. We all wanted it to change. Good thing they will do it now.

“I don't know that it's going to change the style of racing that much, but it's definitely going to change that little bit.”

Erickson isn't entirely convinced she'll change this part of the race.

He has used the move to win in 2022, and speaking earlier this week before drivers were to be informed of details of how the move would be monitored, he said: “When it comes to the last lap, I think all bets are off.” this place”.

In terms of how IndyCar intends to monitor this move, there is a dotted line from the pit wall extending toward Turn 4.

Newgarden is the car on the far left that executes the dragon/snake/weaving move to break the stream flowing to the Ericsson behind it.

Under the new rule, any driver who crosses this white dotted line with his left wheel will be subject to a penalty. IndyCar has the option of a drive-in version, which is a time penalty equivalent to driving if the move is on the final lap of the race, or if it occurs under yellow flag conditions, the driver must drop to the back of the restart-up line.

There are exemptions, which are: You can cross the line if you are stopping, if you are avoiding an accident, or if you are making an apparent attempt to return to the racetrack if the pitlane suddenly closes.

It seems simple in practice, and drivers have been well made aware of these changes.

There is another rule change for this year's event. IndyCar introduced the restart line this year at other races to try to avoid crashes and aggressive racing back into the group on restarts.

This will not be the case for the 500 where the traditional rule remains of being able to race wherever you are on the track once the green flag is waved.


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