MAY 28, 2002
Controversy across the water
FORMULA 1 is not the only racing series in the world to get itself in a tangle over its rules and regulations. Following on from the recent Austrian GP team orders debacle there is a huge fight going on in the United States of America after the Indianapolis 500.
The race, which is the biggest open-wheeler event in the US, ended with Helio Castroneves winning behind a Pace Car. This followed an accident two a couple of laps to go. As is usual at Indianapolis as soon as the crash happened the race organizers brought out yellow flags and the race was neutralized. At almost the same moment Paul Tracy of Team Green made a bid to overtake Castroneves and take the lead. Tracy and Team Green argue that this happened before the yellow; IRL and Castroneves say it happened after the caution began.
"The only reason he passed me is because the yellow came on and I lifted off" Castroneves said. "There was no way he could pass me on the outside of turn three if were still racing."
Tracy appealed the decision but the appeal was rejected and Castroneves was confirmed as the winner.
The IRL argues that there is conclusive evidence that Castroneves won the race.
"It was very close, there is no doubt about it," IRL's Brian Barnhart told pressmen. "It was a very strange set of circumstances."
The dispute is not just about the prestige of winning the Indianapolis 500, it is also about money. According to the figures released by Indianapolis on Monday Helio Castroneves won $1,606,215 and Tracy will go away with only $489,315.
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