Scott Dixon, Ganassi, IndyCar Aeroscreen test, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2019

Rain and tear-offs could pose problems for IndyCar’s Aeroscreen


Posted on

| Written by

Wet weather conditions could pose visibility problems for IndyCar drivers when the championship introduces its new Aeroscreen next year.

The Red Bull Advanced Technologies-designed structure is similar to F1’s Halo but includes a screen in front of the driver.

As it is not possible to add a wiper to clear the screen, as on sports-prototype racing cars, the screen will be fitted with tear-offs similar to those already used on drivers’ crash helmets. However drivers will not be able to reach the tear-offs, meaning they will have to be removed during pit stops.

Scott Dixon, one of two drivers who tested the Aeroscreen earlier this year, said visibility could be a problem in some conditions with the Aeroscreen.

“I think the hardest situation would have been like maybe Detroit race one this year where it was misty, but they had re-ground the back straight, the concrete, so there was a lot of white dust. When that got on the visor it was a bit annoying.

“It’ll be interesting. We race with visors, you have tear-offs. It’s a similar kind of deal. We’ll just have to, I think, see where that one goes.”

Will Power, Penske, IndyCar Aeroscreen test, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2019
The Aeroscreen changes the drivers’ view
Will Power, who joined Dixon in the test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, added “some of the areas with tear-offs and stuff and where they seam in the middle will be sort of fixed kind of down the road, too, to make it even better”.

IndyCars do not race in wet conditions on ovals but do on road and street courses, which make up 12 of next year’s 17 races. The championship’s president Jay Frye said they are conducting a wet weather test before next year’s season begins on March 15th.

“We’ll look at that like we are trying to look at everything to go through the process,” he said. “Even Tim (Baughman) is here with the AMR Safety Team. There’s been talk about that. The Safety Team has been part of this entire process, too, so he’s done a great job advising and guiding us as we go through this process.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free


Browse all IndyCar articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

27 comments on “Rain and tear-offs could pose problems for IndyCar’s Aeroscreen”

  1. As it is not possible to add a wiper to clear the screen, as on sports-prototype racing cars,

    Um how about they redesign the screen then? They are so stubborn that they refuse to just make it a covered cockpit? with the current solutions we can only see the top of the drivers helmet now. Until a transparent material strong enough to withstand high speed strikes that is light enough to satisfy F1, we are stuck with the semi closed/closed cockpit.

    1. Closed cockpits (a canopy) have been researched, but getting in and out is a problem. I don’t think it’s feasible in an open wheel car. IndyCar’s solution is probably the best concept and would be surprised if F1 doesn’t follow suit soon.

      1. I think a screen like this is what should be fitted to F1 cars. I guess the question is would one have prevented that spring from hitting Felipe Massa? I think it would have. It is quite common to see front wings being shattered, and again a screen like this would add some additional protection for the driver.
        We already have debris getting onto the overhead camera, and it seems to me they have some sort of scrolling film in front of the camera, so maybe they could have something similar in front of the windscreen.

      2. Well it is taking F1 about 20 years to follow F1s lead on ground effects. So I wont hold my breath.

  2. A rain shedding product can be used to aid with this. Cleaning during pitstops would be better than tear offs IMHO. I would think they would add more distortion.

    Weird how flat and square the screen looks from the front views. It’s obviously very curved and sleek from the above pic.

    1. I was going to comment this, I’ve used products that allow me to drive at highway speeds in rain without wipers on. However I don’t know how effective this would be for situations like Dixon mentioned, where water is mixed with conrete dust or other fine particulate.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        5th October 2019, 1:25

        I think at the speeds they go, rain would be fine. The problem will be when the rain stops and you’ve still got spray from the track that is mixed with sand, oil, dust and other debris… That’ll stick to the screen and without rain falling to wash it off, they could end up with a problem. Pitting to have it cleaned won’t work because as soon as you go back out into the spray, it’ll get dirty again.

  3. Some plane solve this with a small eletric current passing by the “glass” as it repulses water drop.
    I understand fogging, but would this screen be worse than rain on helmet visors?

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      5th October 2019, 1:18

      It’s worse because you can reach your arm out and wipe your visor. You can’t reach the screen. It’s like driving a car without windscreen wipers – something that happened to me a couple of years ago when mine suddenly stopped working whilst travelling down the motorway at night in the rain. Genuinely one of the most scary minutes I’ve had in my life!

  4. Rain and tear-offs could pose problems for IndyCar’s Aeroscreen

    Wait, what?!
    This can’t be true! Clearly engineers and decision makers couldn’t overlook such glaring problems!
    And surely no one raised these silly points before!!!

    Oh, wait… *facepalm*

  5. That’s one of my concerns with it, I don’t like the prospect of a drivers race been ruined because he has to pit from the lead to have the thing cleaned or something.

  6. It has been a while for me but Indy cars generally don’t run too much in wet weather. They certainly don’t at oval tracks, and are not very good on street circuits with their many slippery surfaces. There could be an issue at wet weather road coarse races, but it’s still early for the Indy car application.

  7. ”IndyCars do not race in wet conditions on ovals but do on road and street courses,”
    – But how can they avoid the rain if it happens to hit shortly before the scheduled start, LOL? You can’t control weather conditions, so no way to ‘avoid’ racing in wet-conditions on ovals.

    1. they postpone/reschedule the race on ovals when it rains that’s how they avoid it. when the rains gone they dry the track so they can go back out.

    2. @jerejj If it rains before the start on an oval they will delay the start, If it starts raining during a race they will stop it & if it stops raining try to dry the track to carry on.

      They will try to get the race in that day if possible but if it isn’t they will reschedule the race to the next day, If it rains that day they will try the following day if possible & if not they will look at running the race later in the year.

      A few years ago it began raining after 71 laps, They couldn’t get the race in that night & due to races the next weekend they ended up delaying the remainder of the Texas race until late August. On August 27th they picked up the race from lap 72.

      1. @stefmeister That’s a bit messed-up approach there, LOL. Delaying a race over and over just because of some rain no matter how long it might take.

        1. Living in Daytona I went to see a Nascar race once at the track there. It took 2 days to do the race due to sporadic rain. If several drops of rain land on the track a mile from where you sit the race will stop. If black clouds appear heading to the track they stop. They have these massive track drier vehicles that spend half hour minimum each time a rain drop hits the track somewhere drying it out. Most boring motor race I ever saw and never again. They wouldn’t race under lights either which bought even more frustration as the rain had gone away by late afternoon 1st day and everyone was desperate to see racing for more than 10 laps at a time!

  8. “As it is not possible to add a wiper to clear the screen”

    Right. The technology of mechanically wipe a single axis curved surface has been forever lost. Bummer.

    Seriously though. It might be more difficult to satisfyingly wipe a curved surface with a smaller radius compared to one with a larger radius, but to simply say that it is outright impossible is just laughable to me. A bigger problem, as I see it, with adding windscreens or canopies to Indy or F1 is that they are always just trying to find a solution that can be bolted onto cars that where never designed to have them in the first place. They need to change the underlying technical regulations to allow for a closed cockpit design solution – as a complete package. Cars can be designed to simultaneously have the driver enclosed but the wheels in the open air stream, but they obviously won’t look exactly as the classic style open cockpit cars of the past. Lets just get it over with and bring on the future, it will be awesome.

  9. Running out of time?

  10. petebaldwin (@)
    5th October 2019, 1:13

    My worry about the aeroscreen is that there is a real potential (if an engine blows or if someone goes off and kicks up lots of dirt etc) that visibility could be severely reduced and the last thing we need is drivers having to pit so someone can clean the screen off. You could also have drivers limping back to the pits unable to clearly see where they are going which poses as much of a threat to safety as debris striking drivers….

    I refuse to believe they can’t design a screen that can clean itself in some way to help reduce this issue.

  11. Tesla has just patented a new type of windscreen wiper that uses electromagnets instead of a normal motor assembly. One guy even built a prototype.

    Just because they can’t have an old fashioned wiper motor doesn’t mean the problem can’t be solved using a similar horizontal “wiper”.

    1. Adding wipers seems like a waste of time considering the added weight (minimal), cost and complexity to add it to a car that never intended having a screen or wiper to begin with. The cars driven at speed should shed and clear the water better than it hitting their visors. Rain X or similar product should adequately take care of the issue.

      Obviously, adding a screen to an open wheel car has never been done before. It is a ground breaking effort that will obviously give the drivers maximum protection despite the rain issue.

  12. they could hide a couple of wipers in the central pillar?

    1. That’s what I was thinking

  13. From a TV viewer perspective we may have just lost the helmet camera.

    We ran that on Will Power & the roll-hoop & mirror camera on Scott Dixon’s during the testing the past few days & while the 360 camera on the roll hoop is fine the camera on top of Will’s helmet was more problematic in terms of track visibility ahead as was the camera in the mirror looking back at the driver due to the glare in the screen.

  14. This is a just lot of BS from people who are against having any sort of windscreen. I think if you ask Massa, and he’ll tell you that a bit of spring hitting you in the helmet visor can impair visibility, as well. Before this, it was the hue and cry about how unsafe the halo would be and how it would not only impair visibility but ruin F1 completely, finally and totally.

    Dixon has done about a million laps with that windscreen, and his reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. To cherry-pick one minor criticism and make it a headline is just fishing for a story on a off weekend. It’s also one more opportunity for an F1 guy to run down Indycar.

Comments are closed.