Montoya shocked by cockpit heat in first IndyCar Aeroscreen test

2021 F1 season

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Juan Pablo Montoya said the hotter cockpit temperatures he experienced when he tested an Aeroscreen for the first time left him wishing he could use an open visor.

The former Formula 1 driver, who has chiefly raced closed-cockpit sportscars in recent years, had his first test in an IndyCar fitted with an Aeroscreen last month at Laguna Seca.

“It wasn’t too bad to get used to it,” said Montoya after rejoining McLaren SP for another test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week. “I thought it would be a little more intrusive.

“It’s definitely a pain in the butt to get in and out of the car, and it’s a lot hotter. Here it hasn’t been that bad in the oval.

“I did a test at Laguna. In a road course, you don’t get a lot of air. That was kind of shocking.”

The Aeroscreen is similar to F1’s Halo, but includes a polycarbonate laminated screen. That offers drivers extra protection from smaller pieces of debris, but the reduced airflow around the driver also increases cockpit temperatures. Montoya said he would have preferred to use an open visor while driving the car.

“It’s kind of weird because you’re really in a little bubble,” he said. “Once you’re driving it feels a little bit like a sports car.

“But you’re with a closed visor, I still don’t get why you have to run [one]. I don’t think you have to. I think you probably do, but I’m used to sports cars – same thing, you’re with the visor open so you get a little more air.

“It’s good, it’s fine, I think, from the safety point of view. It’s a great thing, it’s a matter of getting used to it more than anything else.”

Montoya said he didn’t find it any harder to drive the car with an Aeroscreen. “Because I come from a sports car and a closed cockpit car, for me, it’s the same thing. It doesn’t really change that much.

“For the guys that are used to the open cockpit, it might be a little harder. I’ve driven a lot of closed cars. Last four years, I’ve mainly been driving sports cars, [LM]P2 cars. It feels about the same.”

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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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7 comments on “Montoya shocked by cockpit heat in first IndyCar Aeroscreen test”

  1. Montoya has raced in the Indycar series over the last 4 decades (‘99,’00,’16,’21). He is a legend to me, someone’s to give him that Triple Crown LMP1 Hypercar shot.

  2. Yes, yes, even if he was not my top favourite during his F1 years, I really liked the excitement and skill he brought. And luckily he has a nice, long, and quite succesful career, like Kimi. I was so disappointed when I read that he will return to Le Mans, but at LMP2, instead of the top class. Obviously I expected a return in the top class, when I have seen the headline by that time. Although LMP1 had a quite small field in the recent years, scarce seats just like in F1.

  3. like in a car I would think having the sun hit the screen is also going to add to it.

  4. I’m not a racing car designer, but surely fresh air vents could be the answer. Sounds like a very simple problem to solve, or perhaps the lack of air is being used as the excuse by those who only want fully open cockpits.

    1. They do have multiple areas of venting air to the cockpit, including a cooling hose attached to the drivers helmet. They continue to refine the cooling during tests, but it is obviously a big change from being totally open cockpit.

      1. There have been many reports over the years on the effect of opening holes in the floor of an open 2-seater sports car. Either intentionally or by accident. Seems the low pressure in cockpit area draws air out and reduces the pressure under the car. Hence, adds downforce.
        Any opportunity, within the rules of course …., to utilize the cockpit and Aeroscreen induced low pressure area to draw air out from under the floor or from other areas.? All under the guise of cooling the driver, of course.?

  5. They’ve managed to combine the various elements of sportscars and open wheel to achieve the worst of all worlds, it seems to me: it’s unbearably ugly, you can’t see the driver, there isn’t enough space for a decent camera shot inside, and they still have a helmet and visor. I mean, just go enclosed, with low-reflection glass and wash/wipe. And ventilation.

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