Indycar testing the 'aeroscreen' is the most important motorsport test this year

5w ago

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Open wheel racing has come under massive scrutiny in the last five years after a number of driver fatalities resulting from head trauma. Since 2015 there have been more and more calls for safety upgrades to ensure drivers are protected. Formula 1 implemented the halo device a few years ago as a result of these calls for action.

Currently, Indycar has no such head protection. That, however, will change come the 2020 season. And in my opinion, it should have happened a long time ago.

Of course, my opinion doesn't matter much here to be perfectly honest. What matters is the driver's safety. The halo is a great first step, but Indycar's aeroscreen is the future for semi-closed cockpit, open wheel racing.

As you can see by the hero image, and the image below, the aeroscreen takes the halo one step further by applying a windscreen to a halo-like structure. This will further protect the driver from flying debris, like the debris that knocked Felipe Massa unconscious during the 2009 Grand Prix at the Hungaroring where a rogue spring from another car was flung directly in his path. Massa was going around 175 mph when the spring struck him in the head and he came away completely unconscious with a skull fracture. This is something the aeroscreen would likely have prevented.

That's just one F1 example, but there are many more in that sport as well as Indycar that beg the case for the aeroscreen. Most notably, the late Justin Wilson when he was struck on the head by a flying piece of debris (a nose cone) after a crash occurred just seconds before on the track ahead of him. It was a freak accident and while the aeroscreen may have helped, we will never know.

So because of these instances, and because driver safety is under a much larger microscope than ever before, the aeroscreen will be the single most important test this year. It just underwent its most recent round of testing on October the second and Scott Dixon, a hugely successful series veteran, said that the testing "went well".

Will we see the aeroscreen in F1 soon? Maybe. All I will say is that there are driver injuries and deaths in all walks of motorsport, but we should protect any and all drivers by any means necessary which includes making open cockpit racing less open-cockpit.

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Comments (7)
  • looks better than the halo but is it as good ?

    1 month ago
    1 Bump
  • Growing up next door to and still living near the Indy 500 facility has been a great blessing in my life. I've got to see almost all the tire tests, car developments, new drivers -you name it- come and go. I've only missed about 12 races since 1964. I say all that to say this: from what I've seen this is at least as important as original implementation of an effective roll bar in the 1950s/60s. I witnessed the tests done this last week at IMs and while I think it's a very sleek looking thing, the only drawback I can see to it is some fans will say they can't see the driver good enough anymore. These last few years the race has likened unto the races of the 50s and 60s where every year multiple drivers were lost through the season. This is a necessary evolvement and kudos for Indianapolis Motor Speedway & the others for making it happen.

    1 month ago
    1 Bump

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