The Red Bull Advanced Technologies-made aeroscreen made its official debut during the IndyCar Open Test at Circuit of the Americas with some mixed reviews.
While the IndyCar aeroscreen has been tested with before, at tracks like Sebring, Richmond, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and others, the most recent test at the Circuit of the Americas was the first time all drivers got a chance to use it in official capacity.
The reactions from the IndyCar drivers were mixed, with some mentioning a leaking issue and some stating of heat problems. On top of this, a few drivers struggled to get to grips with the new balance of the car, which has become a talking point.
Here’s what some of the IndyCar drivers have said:
Marcus Ericsson: “It was the first time for me with the aeroscreen in IndyCar. It was a new experience. I think it worked really well and did what it should do. There were no issues whatsoever driving with it.
“Obviously, it feels a bit different compared to when there is nothing there, but you quickly get used to it. I think INDYCAR has done a really good job there to implement it on all cars for this test – it’s very impressive! I look forward to continuing with it.”
Felix Rosenqvist: “I think mainly the Aeroscreen worked really well. In terms of cooling, it was better than expected. Also, visibility was really good. The only thing was when the sun got low there was a lot of glare going on, which will be something to look at.
“We have to see what the other IndyCar drivers’ feedback will be. I think honestly the biggest difference is the way it affects the car handling in terms of weight and aerodynamics. Otherwise, it was a really smooth day.”
Charlie Kimball: “I think there are still some cooling issues to work through. It is not particularly warm today but at the same time, I didn’t have any vision issues and it’s a lot quieter in the car. There is a lot less wind noise, and I think the radio is clearer.
“So if we can figure out how to stay cool on a really hot day we’ll be in good shape. Even with the puddles and the dirt and all the other stuff that’s been on the Aeroscreen, I haven’t felt like I lost any significant vision in the IndyCar.”
Takuma Sato: “The experience was very interesting and quite cool actually but very different from anything I drove before. It was a lot quieter with no air moving inside the cockpit. Overall, I think it is very positive. I felt really safe and protected. The visibility is better than I expected.”
Graham Rahal: “So far, so good. The Aeroscreen has been no issue. Little bit warmer on the car but not too bad. Visibility is great. I followed someone through a puddle and actually a ton of water came up on the Aeroscreen and it dissipated immediately. Better, better than what we would have experienced honestly before this.”
Zach Veach: “Honestly, I think the first real test day with the Aeroscreen was a complete success. The cooling was adequate for the conditions – and a little too good for as cool as it is. I think we’re going to be in good shape when we get to St. Pete for Rd 1 of IndyCar and it’s hotter. We got to run in the rain, and I had no visual issues with the Aeroscreen at all. As different as it is for the car look, I was very happy with what I saw from the cockpit.”
Sebastien Bourdais: “No particular complaints at all, you just have to get accustomed to the new environment. We ran somewhat in the wet, a tiny bit, (there were) projections dirtying up the screen when you follow someone, but it seemed under control, so no major complaints. Obviously, it is very cold, so it was actually not a bad thing that it was warmer than usual inside the car.”
Will Power: “I really wish someone ran in the wet-wet so we could know where all the water gets in [with the leak]. 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. You don’t even recognize the screen. As soon as you’re out there, you’re focused on way up there, not right here.”
Patricio O’Ward: “I was pretty impressed with it honestly because it’s a first try. It is an add-on to the car. It’s not like it’s built into it. It was done very well. I think it was done the best way it could have been done.
“I’m excited to see whenever the new car comes out how it really incorporates into a car that’s developed around the aero screen or with the aero screen. But I think safety-wise obviously it’s going to be safer.
“Not that it’s such an issue, but we’ll definitely feel quite a bit of difference whenever it’s hot and humid because it is quite hard to get air into the area we’re at to circulate. We have to be going quite a bit faster to really feel anything.
“Usually the sensation when you lift your visor and you’re sweating, you would lift it to clear out the sweat or something. It didn’t seem to be the case when I tested in Sebring. There’s going to be some things we’re going to have to work through. I think as a first try, it was pretty remarkable.”
Max Chilton: “I’m a big advocate of it. We just looked like sore thumb out there. I would have been happy with just the halo, but it’s nice that IndyCar went the next step.”
In addition, Red Bull Advanced Technologies’ Andy Damerum gave his views as well: “The first on-track test with all 25 cars here at COTA has been very positive. The Aeroscreen is working well and the driver feedback around visibility in a variety of weather conditions has been excellent so far.
“We are always learning and evaluating, so hearing comments from all drivers in the series is an important part of the development process. The key objective from the outset of this project was to increase driver safety without reducing visibility or significantly changing the driver experience.
“I feel proud that Red Bull Advanced Technologies and IndyCar have achieved this objective together and we look forward to seeing the Aeroscreen in action at the first race of the season in St. Petersburg.”
Here’s all what happened during the two-day IndyCar test