‘The stickers were holding it on’ – Palou surprised to finish with damaged wing


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IndyCar points leader Alex Palou was surprised to reach the finish of yesterday’s Indy Toronto with a badly damaged front wing.

Palou, who took the flag in second place, spent much of the final third of the race grappling an ill-handling car as damage to its nose left the right-hand side of his front wing dragging on the ground. He first became aware of the problem when part of the wing dropped out of his field of vision.

“The right side started disappearing and the left side started coming up,” Palou explained. “I was like, ‘oh man, that’s not good.’

“It was really bad, honestly, and it was tough to drive because I didn’t really have the same grip to the right and to the left.

“Obviously it’s one of the bumpiest tracks that we have on braking zones, on curves. Turn 10 was the worst where I couldn’t do anything. I was just trying to go around, but I was losing quite a lot of grip compared to the following guy.”

He admitted he was surprised the wing lasted until the end of the race.

“I could feel it dragging in turn two, that it was flat-out, and you are turning right,” he explained. “Then also on the curve in turn five and in turn eight, but I didn’t think it was that bad. I could feel that it was increasing.

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“Barry [Wanser, race engineer] told me ’10 laps to go’ and I thought, honestly, that we were not going to end the race with that nose. I was pretty surprised. I think it was only the vinyl, like, the stickers that were holding it because there’s nothing else there. So [it’s] pretty impressive.”

The front wing deteriorated over Palou’s final stint
Palou recovered from 15th place to finish second and increase his championship lead over his closest rivals including Marcus Ericsson. In addition to his damaged car Palou also had to manage his fuel use carefully over the final laps.

“At one point I thought we were going to finish behind Marcus,” he said, “I saw in the mirrors that it was Colton [Herta], Power, and Marcus and I said ‘oOh man, I’m not going to be able to make it.’

“I was concerned about fuel, which was the biggest problem for our strategy. I was concerned on tyres because with the front wing I just couldn’t turn left. I was concerned by the wing. So I was a bit concerned about everything, to be honest.”

IndyCar did not use the black-and-orange flag to force Palou to pit for a replacement. After the race he wasn’t convinced the problem was so severe he needed to have it replaced.

“I didn’t think it was that bad when it started,” said Palou. “Let’s say when I got the contact, then it was just increasingly increasing.

“I think just because of where we were it was not really dangerous. I don’t know. I need to check the video, honestly.”

Herta, who was first in line to benefit if Palou had been forced to pit, joked the loose wing was “super-dangerous” and said he “can’t believe IndyCar left him out there – that was completely uncalled for.”

However the Andretti driver admitted Palou’s lap times were strong even with his damaged car as the pair came home 11 seconds behind race winner Christian Lundgaard. “Honestly the pace he was going wasn’t bad at all, especially for the fuel number that we had to hit compared to a lot of the other guys.”

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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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5 comments on “‘The stickers were holding it on’ – Palou surprised to finish with damaged wing”

  1. If he said is true it was very dangerous the stickers are strong but can tear at any moment. He should get a meatball flag to replace his front tyre…..
    This looks very bad for RC.

    1. @macleod All’s well, ends well but you are right that if it did let go and got stuck under the front wheels then a big smash would be close to unavoidable. You could almost see the crack getting bigger lap by lap, and I suspect fuel saving from the entire field prevented Palou coming under sustained attack which would have helped preserve the wing.

      I’m pretty sure front wing damage like that in F1 would have had the black and orange flag.

      1. Only if the car was a Haas.

  2. To observe the progression of that break was nerve-wrecking :)) I was surprised it held as well as it did.

  3. Kevin Harvick would say Palou has a horseshoe up his a$$.

    Sometimes it is just your year.

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