IndyCar officials will spend the next few days gathering information and collecting advice on how to improve aeroscreen visibility for races held in the rain.
Many drivers in the series complained over the weekend that they had fought to see other cars late at the Indica Grand Prix – although each had a red light. Alabama’s Motorsports Park has had the heaviest rainfall in the series since 2018, two years before the installation of a shield designed to protect drivers’ heads from debris.
Jay Fry, president of Indicar, acknowledged that previous tests had indicated that holding water on the screen would be more severe when running at slow speeds. But that weekend, those tests were not held with 27 cars on the track like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
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“When you move it, the water will just fly away, it will go away. Now there are different things involved with a group of cars, “Fry told the Associated Press.
“We need to find out where we are, who had the biggest problems and come up with the best practices.”
One possible solution is to make better use of tear-offs that cover clean screens
Race winner Colton Harta said he struggled with visibility – until his team pulled a used tear-off screen. Fry said he spoke to an unidentified driver whose team never removed it.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
But that has not changed the outcome.
After finishing the season-best fifth, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Connor Daly told reporters that he finished the race by climbing to the top around the cockpit because the water was frozen in the middle of the slope. He was not just a struggling contestant.
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Changed weather and a track that caused other obstacles such as dry in some parts and wet in others. And when heavy rain covered the front stretch in less than five laps, Daly said he relied on his spotter, instinct, and muscle memory to navigate the braking zone and traffic.
“It certainly was a tough race like that,” he said.
“Even under the yellows, I couldn’t see the cars, so it’s very disturbing. Hopefully, we can get it out. Hopefully, we can keep the rest of the year shiny.”
Complaints about aeroscreen are rarely new. When initially launched, drivers complained about a variety of problems, including vision, cockpit temperatures, and hot drink bottles. Officials in the series have found a solution, some relatively simple adjustments such as transferring beverage bottles.
Indie GP runner-up Simon Pagenwood has come up with an idea – to add a windshield wiper like a sports car.
“It was very difficult to see without a wiper. It was the first wet race with aeroscreen, but in this case, you really need a wiper, “said the three-time French race winner.
“Having a wiper in this situation is possible and probably necessary.”
Fry said the series would consider Pagenad’s advice, but the curve of the aeroscreen could present a challenge.
However, the historic Speedway may now return to its traditional roots as a test track where everything from seat belts to rear-view mirrors to safe barriers were introduced.
Rain is a common occurrence in May and has resulted in many Indianapolis 500 practice and qualification rounds being delayed or canceled. In 1915, 1986 and 1997, bad weather forced the marquee race to be postponed. In 1967 and 1973, it took more than a day to complete and seven 500 ended prematurely due to rain, most recently in 2007 when Dario won the franchise for the first time.
But since IndyCars doesn’t compete in the wet oval, the cock tail made by the car spray was an amazing sight for an estimated 65,000 fans and a real panic for the toughest drivers in the series.
“The biggest problem for me was spraying other cars,” said Will Power, a poll-winner and third-place finisher.
“It simply came to our notice then. We were really right about whether we should run there in the end. ”
Officials at the series monitored radio calls and team messages about visibility throughout the race, especially when heavy rain began, Fry said, but no one thought the situation was “uncontrollable.”
The series is also investigating whether visibility could play a role in the late crash between Christian Lundgaard and Callum Ilt.
Either way, it wasn’t easy for anyone.
Seven-time cup champion Jimmy Johnson said in a video posted on his Twitter account, “I’m glad to say now that I ran in the rain even though it was a scary experience, especially with a lot of laps for the end.”
“I hope I don’t have to do it again soon.”
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