Tuesday was supposed to be a huge day for the NTT IndyCar Series. It marked the opening day of preseason testing for the teams as we’re a month away from the opening race of the 2020 season on the streets of St. Pete. The two-day test session being conducted for a second straight year on the COTA road course was also the first “official” test for all the teams to run on the same track at the same time with the new Aeroscreen.
Unfortunately, mother nature didn’t cooperate with that plan as Tuesday’s schedule day that was slated to have two separate test sessions was abbreviated due to rain and cooler temperatures.
See, these cars can run in the rain, but not in the amount of rain that the Texas road course got. When puddling becomes an issue, the Firestone Rain Tires will still lack grip. Mix that with the air temps being in the 40’s and you get a not very ideal day for on track activity.
It’s a shame too because the wet conditions would have actually been beneficial to the drivers, teams and the series itself to see how the new safety device does in the wet weather. While they did get a test in the rain with Simon Pagenaud at Barber last Fall, having a pack of cars running in tow with the rooster tails out the back would have been the best indication on how the Aeroscreen would handle.
We did get to see a few cars get on track on Tuesday and other than some leaking into the cockpit from moisture, there wasn’t really any issues with fogging or visibility says Will Power.
“Yeah, it was,” said the Penske driver on if the Aeroscreen was helpful in wet conditions on Tuesday. “Actually, I really wish someone ran in the wet-wet so we could know where all the water gets in.
“We already saw areas where the water was getting in. Seems like it needs a lip around the top because water drips in as you drive. The windscreen is great. It just clears. So, yeah, that’s sort of the things we were trying to find out.
“No fogging for me. Obviously didn’t run that long. Definitely water leaking in the bottom of the screen, up into the inside of the screen. There’s some water dripping in on your steering wheel and on your visor that would be an easy fix.
“Yeah, it would have been nice to run when it’s really raining.”
Rookie driver Pato O’Ward didn’t get to turn any high speed laps on Tuesday but he does have a history with running with a halo overseas and has tested the Aeroscreen at Sebring this past winter, so he does have a good sense of comparison between the two.
“The halo, to be honest, you see around it identical to every other car that’s been manufactured, like the Super Formula, the Formula 2. I guess your eyes just see around it,” said O’Ward. “Obviously, if you’re thinking about it, Do I notice the halo? Obviously you’ll see something. When you’re in the car, the last thing you’re going to think of is, I can see halo. A lot doesn’t bother me.”
Power, said that he doesn’t even seen the Aeroscreen portion because he’s focused way up the track, not immediately in front of him. O’Ward agreed.
“Yeah. The screen, it eliminates some of the view that you have from, like, the near sides. Anywhere like in front, kind of around where you actually usually see, there’s nothing different at all, which was to me impressive.
“If you think about it, it’s basically bulletproof glass. You would probably think you would see, like, the picture.”