HOUSTON (AP) — IndyCar fined Marco Andretti $2,500 on Sunday for failing to heed to an order from race control during the Grand Prix of Houston.
Andretti ignored a blue flag during Saturday’s first race to give way to leader Takuma Sato as Andretti tried to stay on the lead lap. Race control could have perceived that Andretti was holding up Sato to allow Andretti Autosport teammate James Hinchcliffe to catch the leader.
Because Andretti ignored the blue flag, he was given a black flag and a drive-thru penalty.
In addition to the fine, IndyCar placed Andretti on probation for three races beginning with Sunday’s race. Andretti Autosport was also fined $2,500.
Andretti vehemently disagreed with the penalty following Sunday’s qualifying session.
“My question was, what would have happened if James was leading?” he said. “It’s the 20th lap of the race and the facts are I finished ahead of Sato. Because you have to fight. It’s early in the race. If it’s late in the race, I would have moved over, they wouldn’t have had to tell me to move over.”
Andretti had been spun by teammate Carlos Munoz earlier in the race to put him in position to be lapped by Sato. But his car was not damaged, and he went on to an eighth-place finish.
Sato was involved in a later accident and finished 22nd.
“I wasn’t off the pace,” Andretti said, arguing he was only in position to be lapped “because I got spun. If (the leaders) caught me by a whole lap, then they have a point. But I was one of the top three fastest cars out there.”