IndyCar with red Bull's Aeroscreen and Halo, 2019

IndyCar to use Red Bull’s Aeroscreen and Halo-style device from 2020


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IndyCar will introduce a new version of Red Bull’s Aeroscreen, which was originally developed for use in Formula 1, in 2020.

The revised Aeroscreen includes a structure closely resembling the Halo, which F1 introduced last year.

“Since the first prototypes were developed and demonstrated in 2016, the potential of Aeroscreen to improve the safety for drivers in the event of frontal impacts in the cockpit area of cars has been clear,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who is also CEO of Red Bull Advanced Technologies.

“This new partnership with IndyCar gives us at Red Bull Advanced Technologies the go-ahead to fully explore that potential, and to deliver a protection system that will help prevent serious injuries and potentially save lives in the US’s premier single-seater series. Over the coming months, we’ll be working closely with IndyCar and its drivers to refine and perfect Aeroscreen, and we’re looking forward to seeing the results race in 2020.”

The polycarbonate laminated screen has an anti-reflective coating on the inside to minimise glare and can be heated to prevent fogging. Crash helmet-style tear-offs are also being considered for use when the screen is introduced.

The new Aeroscreen incorporates a titanium framework which was not present when the team tested it during practice for the 2016 Russian Grand Prix. The new structure closely resembles the Halo and IndyCar says it expects it can withstand a load of 150 kilonewtons, giving it Halo-equalling performance.

Earlier this year IndyCar introduced its Advanced Frontal Protection, a titanium strut on front of the cockpit design to deflect debris away from the driver.

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IndyCar with red Bull's Aeroscreen and Halo, 2019
IndyCar with Red Bull’s Aeroscreen and Halo-style structure, 2019

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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43 comments on “IndyCar to use Red Bull’s Aeroscreen and Halo-style device from 2020”

  1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    24th May 2019, 15:59

    I like this hybrid solution, looks a lot more elegant than the thong, and provides superior protection.
    Previously IndyCar said they couldn’t run a Halo on ovals due to vision impairment, I wonder how they plan to square that circle.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      24th May 2019, 16:21

      Apparently ‘the horseshoe-shaped top frame is designed to be out of the drivers’ sightline even when looking around turns on a banked oval’.
      Will be interested to see how this works in practice

  2. Oh wow, I like this better!!!!

  3. That looks pretty good actually, but I will reserve judgement until we start seeing RBAT/IndyCar testing them in the real world. I’m starting to get the feeling that the chassis which succeeds the DW12 will be required to have a fighter jet style canopy…

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      24th May 2019, 16:30

      Going to refer to the Red Bull X2010 as the RBATmobile from now on

  4. While I am more concerned with safety, this does look fairly decent too and seems to be a logical progression.

    This may not be enough to prevent death or injury in an accident similar to what happened to Justin Wilson, but it should go a long ways to protect drivers from an incident similar to Felipe Massa’s and many others as well.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      24th May 2019, 16:33

      Its tough to know if this would stop a Wilson incident, in the sense that he was travelling forwards, so it didn’t come straight down.
      Above the head protection then means sacrificing extraction time, so I reckon we might be zoning in on the optimum solution now

  5. This looks fantastic and F1 should adopt it.

    I cant believe they dismissed the screen concept after one run of a few minutes causing a driver to feel a little dizzy. They could have refined the concept until distortion was eliminated.

    1. But I’m quite sure the distortion issue was just one of several. For example, I would think that trying to slap this aeroscreen on a car not meant for it aerodynamically, would greatly affect the aero and cooling for the car. This screen put on an existing F1 car (and I suspect IndyCar as well) will have a big ripple effect on how the back end works aerodynamically which of course would then cause them to redesign the front too. The halo is not some big piece of polycarbonate being hit by air at speed…it is quite ‘see-through’ and so has been able to be added to the existing design of cars without much negative ripple effect for the rest of the car.

      1. I would think that trying to slap this aeroscreen on a car not meant for it aerodynamically, would greatly affect the aero and cooling for the car.

        Sounds like a great reason to implement a screen solution for the wholesale 2021 redesign with the dual function of also fulfilling the ‘better aesthetics’ brief.

        1. @RB13 Exactly. If they did want to use an iteration of aeroscreen and halo, a ground up restoration would be the time. Can’t recall any hints of such a thing being pushed for the new cars though. Will have to have another look at some of the concept pics they’ve shown us.

    2. I can’t agree, to me it looks bad.
      I don’t like Halo either, but at least it is indeed quite unnoticeable.

      This thing is a Halo + Glass. And too big

    3. First of all, this screen is not as tough a construction as the halo – that is why it basically wraps around a Halo, something quite different from what Ferrari tested. And the screen seems to be quite a bit wider than F1 cockpits (and far wider than what Red Bull tested on their F1 cars) which could help avoid or at least lessen some of the issues with distortion.

      As @robbie mentions, this will have a huge effect on air flow too, something that is said to have been another factor against introducing a screen in F1.

      Latest point – with Indycar being a spec series, it is far easier to introduce something like this. Also, they haven’t conclusively solved the fogging nor dirt buildup on the screen, they only EXPECT to have a heating on and use some form of tear offs, but will have to test those on track to see how they work, as the text above mentions.

  6. Also, is anyone else a little curious of Red Bull’s growing involvement in Indy? First O Ward and now they are helping to refine the formula…

    1. Several teams (Williams, Mclaren for example) have engineering groups within the company that use F1 technology for other projects (Olympic bobsledding, Tour de France bike and helmet design) so this isn’t that far out of the norm for F1 teams. Mclaren was making the ECUs for NASCAR last i heard.

      1. Looks good!

        McLaren makes the ECU for IndyCar also.

  7. A couple of outstanding questions about this for me will be how much this will affect the aerodynamics of the whole car, which I suspect it will do so quite a bit, and also I can see a driver(s) needing to pit at certain times just to have a tear-off taken off due to lack of visibility…ie. I’m not convinced that they will always be able to wait until their next pit for a tear-off to come off.

    1. @robbie Regarding drivers’ sight, technology came up with several layers of film on their helmet, so I guess there will be something similar -and safe- there too.

      1. Yeah, on helmet they can peel off the layers as they need… and who will be doing the same on this screen outside of cockpit at 200mph?

        1. @dallein Oh boy, let’s repeat this in case you didn’t actually see or did not understand it at all.

          “so I guess there will be something similar -and safe- there too.”

          Do you want me to translate into something easier for you to comprehend or should I start being ironic and sarcastic? Let me just say that “similar” DOES NOT mean “the same”.

      2. @ioannisk Yeah I agree there will be some sort of film on there that might even be quite slick and hydrophobic like ceramic coatings provide, but I still wonder about things like a smattering of oil or brake dust from a car in front and all of a sudden the only option is to do an unscheduled stop merely for a tear-off. With respect to rain, they don’t race in the rain on ovals, but they do on road/street courses, and I wonder how that would go. Of course, they will be testing for all this.

        1. @robbie

          “Of course, they will be testing for all this.”

          Well, that sums up everything. The people involved on F1 evolvement, will not release anything until proven safe for all sides. And I think that this is the only possible -and plausible- answer to all of our logical questions.

  8. It is a halo with “glass”

    1. Exactly!

      RBR invented Aeroscreen. Now they can claim they invented Halo as well… juat retrospectively… it was just not covered by glass back then ;)

  9. So is F1 headed toward open wheel closed cockpit designs?

    1. This is not F1.

      And no, hopefully no closed cockpits in F1 anytime soon.

      1. I’ll suggest that we have closed cockpit F1 cars now…they’re called P1 WEC cars. To me, that’s what it would take for F1 to enclose the driver. Accommodation wrt width of aeroscreen for a wiper blade, and interior room for a fan system. Impossible in F1 cars as we have known them to be designed, for decades now, and not about to change in terms of general dimension and layout philosophy with the new 2021 chapter, or ever imho.

  10. petebaldwin (@)
    24th May 2019, 18:42

    Looks much more professional than F1’s attempt. You’d understand it if Indycar had been first with the halo and then F1 developed this but somehow, it’s the other way around.

    1. Looks are not indicative of professionalism or quality.

      Aeroscreen has not been adopted by F1 for multiple reasons.

      1. Yeah, and it is not like aeroscreens are new to F1 either. They have been considered as much as several decades ago. As well, CART cars of the 80’s and 90’s, the ‘real’ and best iteration of open wheel cars in North America many would agree, have had more of a windscreen than currently, albeit I believe always below the drivers sight line to the track.

        My bottom line on these things is that they can’t just slap something fairly invasive aerodynamically onto a car, be it F1 or Indy, without ideally considering redesigning the whole car, as adding it will change the behaviour for which the car was designed. The halo is minimally invasive to the existing aero work and cars the teams have been sculpting for years. 2021 will be their ideal opportunity to integrate the halo even better, or if they wanted more, like an iteration of aeroscreen too, then they can have that on the car in the wind tunnel and build for it, not just adapt to it as an add-on.

        Was just thinking too, as to aeroscreen changing the aero behaviour of the car(s), even once they tweak wings and the side pods etc to maintain a balanced and competitive car that now it has this different and sizeable object ahead of the driver, how is the racing in a group affected at 200mph in terms of drafting and the side-draft? Would it make for suitable racing? Dangerous racing? I think that is a reasonable outstanding question to consider. Processions aren’t desirable, nor are dime-a-dozen passes.

  11. @petebaldwin, it was Red Bull who developed this particular aeroscreen/halo hybrid, not IndyCar.

    IndyCar did trial its own version of an aeroscreen but it failed to meet safety requirements.

  12. I like it. Hints at what might have been if GM had modded the El Camino for a future single seat pleasure boat racing class.

    Half way measures have almost fully enclosed open wheel racing.

  13. Stunning! Formula E and Indycar are really making F1 cars look like lumbering dinosaurs!

    2021 is F1’s last gasp reply, but like usual they’ll probably stuff it up…

  14. I often think to myself asthetically the halo on the Red Bulls looks good. Maybe the matte paint job and lack of winglets help the look, as well as a slightly more sculpted shape than other halos. Probably the only F1 car that I think possibly looks better with than without halo. Curious to see if F1 with give ‘Red Bull screen’ another go now.

  15. Hate it, The worst of both worlds.

    Also guess it means that Indycar isn NOT open cockpit anymore which is a shame since I guess open cockpit racing will be going away if other categories start adopting similar.

  16. Not sure if it looks cool or not. The basic shape looks pretty cool but the cockpit makes it look very much out of proportion. It looks like a kid version. I can’t help seeing the rear of the car and imagine that it would look like a pickup truck if you just extended the bodywork over the rear wheels. I think the color makes it look much better than it is.

  17. Few notes.

    The original screen only concept was shelved as they couldn’t get it to pass the impact test’s. It was consistently failing when larger/heavy were fired at it & impacted it closer to the top.

    They initially ruled out the Halo because they felt visibility would be too badly impacted on high banked ovals. However Scott Dixon tested an FIA/F1 spec Halo on an Indycar chassis on the Dallara simulator & found that this was actually not a problem.

    However they then found they were unable to run an FIA/F1 spec Halo because the Indycar tub wasn’t able to withstand the load’s at the mounting points at the rear/sides of the cockpit. So they ended up having to make it higher in order to mount it onto the existing roll hoop structure which would be able to withstand the required loads.

    They looked at adopting just the Halo but felt this failed to meet what they wanted which was something that would be able to protect against smaller pieces of debris & this is why they started looking at a Screen/Halo hybrid where the screen will help with smaller objects with the structural straight of the Halo behind it.


    There are however still some concerns & some in the paddock feel they may have announced it for next season too soon.

    There are still questions about visibility in the rain as they won’t have wipers & solutions like RainX aren’t a 100% reliable solution, Especially when factoring in that they will run tear off’s.

    And in terms of tear off’s there are also questions about those as these will only be able to be removed by the pit crew during pit stops so we may end up seeing drivers races affected by having to stop to clear the screens.

    And there is also a concern about the screen shattering if hit by large enough objects & sending shards into the cockpit which may cause injuries.

    And with it been higher there are additional concerns about extraction, Especially if a car goes upside down which with the current car on ovals is more common than it should be.

    The feeling is they should have done more test’s with multiple cars/drivers on different types of circuit in different conditions/weathers to get as much real world data as possible before writing it into the regulations. With them announcing it for next year there’s little time to test it & fix any problems that may arise with the worst case obviously been something comes up during a race weekend next year which they can’t quickly resolve.

    1. Very interesting, thank you!

    2. @gt-racer, Excellent precis, but 1 point, polycarbonate does not shatter (@life supporting temperatures) it deforms, anyone who has tried to break an “unbreakable” polycarbonate drinking vessel will attest.

      1. PS, I like the retro style, please add a large “sharkfin” for perfection.

      2. It does shatter when you have high speed impacts:

    3. Great insights @gt-racer

  18. That’s a fine looking race car, smooth, elegant, not covered with F1 pointy bits.

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