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IndyCar still working on improved aeroscreen vision in wet

The NTT IndyCar Series is honing in on a solution to the vision problems that several drivers suffered due to the aeroscreen in the rain-soaked Grand Prix of Indianapolis last year.

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda checkered flag team celebration

There were reports from several drivers that over the final 15 laps, down the front straight of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – and in the last sequence of corners – standing water was causing major vision issues. In particular toward Turn 1, certain drivers reported having to use the braking markers at the side of the track to gauge where they were on the track as they couldn’t see directly ahead. 

While this might be expected in a wet race for any type of vehicle, water was described as pooling or bubbling around the central wicker which extends the length of the nose and up the middle of the screen. 

At the time, feedback from drivers was inconsistent, since some had run with anti-drip rails at the top of the screen, some were utilizing the tear-offs and some were not. Further investigation since has narrowed down IndyCar’s choices of remedy.

“We're looking at some things that could bolt onto it for next year that would help in a situation like we had,” IndyCar president Jay Frye told Motorsport.com. “What happened at the Grand Prix last year was something that's pretty hard to go test, right? It was a monsoon.  

“We learned a lot from that, which was great, and it was amazing that through a lot of the course, it was no problem. Then they would get on the straight and we had a big sheet of water that created this backwash that was just a massive spray, and was probably almost to the point where it was too much anyway. There was a red flag consideration; it was raining hard, aeroscreen or not.

“But we did learn some things. Like we always do, we talked to almost all the drivers. Some of them were fine. Some of them were, 'I couldn't see anything'. Some of them had this bubble, in the middle of windshield that wouldn't move.

“We were able to duplicate that bubble, we figured out how it happened. And that's one of the things we were trying to solve, this bubble that wouldn't move.

“It's a good collaboration with Dallara and PPG, and we think we might have a couple of things we could do that would make the bubble anomaly go away. Because it did happen and we were able to duplicate it. Now, we are working on a solution to fix it.” 

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