IndyCar has followed through on a promise to curtail criticism of the series with the creation of a new conduct code.
The five-point bulletin issued Tuesday is labeled under "Detrimental Competitor Conduct" and stems from last month's race at California, when many drivers were critical of the racing. IndyCar CEO Mark Miles vowed after that race to start policing conduct he believed damages IndyCar.
The new code bars comments that call into question the integrity or legitimacy of the rules or their application, construction or interpretation. It also prohibits comments that denigrate the IndyCar Series racing schedule or events; threaten any IndyCar business relationship, including those with sponsors or broadcasters; or otherwise threaten the integrity, reputation or public confidence of the sport, IndyCar or IndyCar Series.
Miles insisted Tuesday that the rule is "not a gag order" and won't limit content for media coverage.
"We recognize that controversy, tension and drama all have a place in motorsport today," Miles said in a statement. "Our drivers are competitors and we have no interest in eliminating the emotion and passion that is an integral part of our sport."
Miles also said a heated exchange after Saturday night's race at Iowa Speedway would not be penalized under the new rule. Ed Carpenter confronted Sage Karam after the race to complain about the way Karam drove in the closing laps.
Karam was unapologetic and Carpenter ultimately walked off, but said afterward that IndyCar should have penalized Karam.
"We feel exchanges of that manner do not cross the line and instead highlight the intensity," Miles said. "We feel it's our responsibility to distinguish between irresponsible statements that damage the sport or its competitors and the intense competitive nature of the series.
"This rule is to ensure we have authority to act when we feel it is required."
Miles said the rule change was coming in the days after the June 27 race at Fontana, California. Many drivers complained about dangerous pack racing conditions and were critical of series management for the rule package.
It led to discord between competitors who are leery of pack racing since Dan Wheldon's death in the 2011 season finale, and others who don't mind the close racing. Carpenter had no issue with the pack racing and tweeted those who don't like the product should retire.