While the Push to Pass system is nothing new to American Open Wheel Racing, having first been used by Cart/Champ Car in the split years, it has been a relatively recent addition to the Indycar field. The system, which gives a car a brief horsepower boost for a prescribed number of seconds per race, has been an artificial overtaking aid since 2012.
But with new Dallara chassis and aero kit set to make their appearance in 2018, the old Push to Pass system may be rendered invalid. The cars are said to produce significantly less wash, allowing for drivers to follow closer to the driver in front than previous seasons thanks to reduced drag. An ability to follow closer behind produces better drafting a better passing for the series as a whole. As a result, the entire Push to Pass system is being reviewed for 2019 and onward.
Indycar President of Competition, Jay Frye, said in a recent interview with Autosport, "From what I've read of the new kit in our tests and in manufacturer tests, the drivers say the car feels like it has more horsepower because of the drag reduction."
Talking specifically about Push to Pass, he added, "Do we need push-to-pass going forward? We have it in 2018. But in '19 and '20, it may not be needed. If we get to the point where we have more horsepower overall and we have these cars that are much quicker in a straight line because of reduced drag, is push-to-pass still necessary?"
For Indycar purists, the loss of Push to Pass is sure to cause much rejoicing, pushing the series back to 'purer racing.' But if it comes at the loss of on track action, the gains the sport makes by eliminating it may be negated.
As with many things with Indycar these days, at this point it's all a matter of wait and see.