Huge IndyCar scandal development as ex-F1 hopeful’s engineer amongst suspensions

Oliver Harden
Josef Newgarden speaks to the media

Josef Newgarden is at the centre of a scandal rocking IndyCar

The race engineer of ex-F1 hopeful Josef Newgarden is one of four senior Penske employees – including the team’s president and managing director – to have been suspended in light of the huge controversy unfolding in IndyCar.

Newgarden claimed victory in the the opening round of the 2024 IndyCar season in St Petersburg in March, but was disqualified from the results last month – along with Penske team-mate Scott McLaughlin – for using the push-to-pass overtaking aid at restarts.

Latest development in IndyCar controversy

With push to pass – which increases the engine’s power by roughly 60 horsepower – forbidden at restarts, Penske pointed to a mistake in leaving erroneous software in the car from pre-season testing.

After Newgarden’s emotional explanation for his illegal use of push to pass, Team Penske announced on Tuesday that four key members of the team – including Newgarden’s race engineer Luke Mason, team president Tim Cindric and managing director Ron Ruzewski – have been punished following an internal review. Senior data engineer Robbie Atkinson has also been suspended.

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A two-race suspension will see all four individuals miss this month’s prestigious Indianapolis 500 race, widely regarded as the highlight of the IndyCar calendar.

A statement read: “Following the penalties to the Team Penske INDYCAR team and drivers after Long Beach, Team Penske has completed an internal review.

“After a full and comprehensive analysis of the information, Team Penske has determined that there were significant failures in our processes and internal communications.

“As a result, Luke Mason [No. 2 Race Engineer] and Robbie Atkinson [Senior Data Engineer] will be suspended from Team Penske for the next two INDYCAR races including the Indianapolis 500.

“In addition, Ron Ruzewski [Managing Director, Team Penske INDYCAR] will also be suspended for these two races, along with Tim Cindric [President of Team Penske], who has accountability for all of Team Penske’s operations.”

A statement released by Mr Cindric via Team Penske read: “For Ron and I as leaders of this team, it’s not about what we did, it’s about what we didn’t do.

“It is our responsibility to provide the team and all our drivers with the right processes to ensure something like this can’t happen. For that, I apologise to Roger [Penske, team owner], our team and everyone that supports us.”

“Our number one job is to protect and enhance the reputation of our brand and that of those that support us. In that regard, as the overall leader, I failed and must raise my hand and be accountable with the others.

“This is a team, and in my position, it’s the right thing to do.”

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