The afternoon session began late and ended early. Cold temperatures and rain caused the test to be red flagged after about ten minutes of running. About 12 laps were run. Rinus VeeKay had the quickest time of the six drivers who completed a lap.
The second round was scheduled to start at 1:30 CDT, but the cars sat on pit lane warming their engines. Firestone prefers a track/air temperature combination of 100 degrees, which was never reached. At 2:14 cars got on track. The rain began and the red flag flew at 2:24. The checkered flag for the day was around 2:45.
It has been a frustrating day for all involved with less than 20 minutes of cars on track. The abbreviated day hurts the smaller teams and the teams that hadn’t tested with the aeeroscreen. Tomorrow’s forecast is for warmer temperatures, around 65, with a 50% chance of rain. The rain tomorrow is forecast for early in the day.
Tomorrow’s schedule all times Eastern:
Will Power and Pato O’Ward spoke to the media. Power said water entered the cockpit. he wasn’t sure where it came from, but he doesn’t think it was the vents. O’Ward is impressed with the aeroscreen from his earlier test at Sebring. He says Indycar still needs to work on the cooling inside the cockpit.
I will be heading home tomorrow but will cover the session from there. It’s been fun being back at the track with Indycar. While I’m disappointed I didn’t get to see much track action, it was great hearing the engines running and being around the paddock again.
Photo: Robert Wickens talks to rookie Oliver Askew
Cold and rain have stopped the first practice session. Seven cars took one lap each and other cars just did installation laps. Josef Newgarden and Max Chilton were the only drivers under three minutes on a wet track. The cars ran under a yellow flag before the red came out at 10:45. There is one hour remaining in the morning test round, which likely won’t restart.
There may be new Brazilian blood in Indycar this season after all. I wrote a piece last week after Tony Kanaan’s announcement discussing how drivers from Brazil could be gone from Indycar in a couple years’ time. Carlin Racing must have read and decided to fix.
Felipe Nasr and Sergio Sette Camara will share the 31 car in NTT Indycar Series Spring Training testing at COTA tomorrow and Wednesday. Carlin Racing announced the pair as their drivers for the car, which had a TBA designation on the entry list.
Nasr drove for Carlin in the British Formula 3 and GP2 series. He won the 2011 British Formula 3 Championship. Nasr drove for Sauber in F1 in 2015 and 2016. He currently drives the number 31 Whelen Engineering team for Action Express in the IMSA Weather Tech Sports Car Championship. He was the 2018 series champion and finished second in the standings last year.
Sette Camara drove in Formula 2 for Carlin in 2018. He won three races. His best season finish was 4th.
It is not know if Carlin is looking to share the ride for 2020 or favors one driver. Nars would have some schedule conflicts.
I will be posting stories about some individual drivers from Media Day. A few common threads stood out.
It seems all the drivers are in favor of the aeroscreen and applaud the series for taking this step. Some expressed concerns about vision and cooling while others said it was no different than driving a sports car. The drivers who have had track time with the aeroscreen seemed the most concerned. Tomorrow’s weather will be a good test for some potential issues.
Several drivers, especially the ones from Andretti Autosport, were lavish in their praise of John Andretti. They loved his positive attitude, his passion for racing, and the kind, caring person he was.
All the drivers who were asked said they would prefer to win the Indianapolis 500 rather than a season championship. Those whop won the 500 want very badly to win another one.
Back in the morning with a preview of the day and the ;latest weather forecast.
Greetings from Austin. The crazy, turbulent off season is over. We have seen a huge change in ownership of the NTT Indycar Series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, champion drivers summarily dropped from their rides, new associations formed. But we are now past that and we are, I hope just one day away from cars running on track at Circuit of the Americas.
The weather may have something to say about that. The forecast from Indycar Weatherman Sunday night around 6 pm:
Wednesday looks more favorable, especially temperature wise. It is a wait and see game. Today is media day and a lot of stories and some livery reveals are on tap. Losing an entire day of running will be frustrating. There are several things teams were looking to find out in the two day test.
First Aeroscreen Test for Some Teams
Some teams have not tested with the aeroscreen as of yet. They were hoping to use these two days to gather a lot of information and get feedback from their drivers. I don’t know if lack of track time will be a huge setback for a team as far as the aeroscreen goes. Most drivers and teams who have tested with seemed to adapt quickly.
Aeroscreen in Traffic
COTA was to be the first time cars ran in traffic with the aeroscreen. Everyone wants to see how the new device affects passing and how air comes off the cars with the screen. Until the green flag at St. Pete, we won’t have an idea of how a closely bunched field will affect turbulence.
New COTA Track Limits
Drivers will get a chance to test the new turn 19 track limits this week. In last year’s race cars could go outside the track in turn 19, creating a wider arc. The new limits involve a timing loop which the cars must pass over, staying on the intended track surface. The result will probably be slower lap speeds. How will the racing be affected by the track limit?
In Car Cameras
Indycar plans to check locations of the in- car cockpit cameras during the test days. A place for a camera was built in to the top center of the aeroscreen frame. I don’t think it would be hard to change or add locations in the frame.
The rookies, Rinus VeeKay, Oliver Askew, Alex Palou, and Scott McLaughlin will get some on track experience against the series veterans. I will watch their times, keeping in mind this is still a test.
Arrow McLaren SP revealed their liveries for 2020. The number 5 car which Pato O’Ward will drive and the 7 of Oliver Askew have different color front end plates which will help fans tell the cars apart. The gold cockpit surround of last year has been replaced by papaya orange. I really like the number fonts. The majority of number fonts in the NTT Indycar Series have become rather generic, mainly block numbers in various colors. The fonts for this team are dynamic.
The orange and blue accents are a familiar scheme for McLaren, whose founder Bruce McLaren drove cars with these colors.
The design reminds me of Raul Boesel’s Duracell car of the early 90s, and it also has a hint of the MGD Light car. It’s always nice to have a bit of a retro appearance. The highlight of the reveal was when Mike Long said the new 5 year out plan is to get Robert Wickens back in a car. The technology is there and improving.. What an amazing day that will be for Indycar and Wickens.
The aeroscreen seems less intrusive on theses cars than it does on some other entries. I am anxious to get an in person look at all the cars next Tuesday at COTA.
Carlin, Chilton Return
Carlin Racing also announce today that Max Chilton will be back in the 59 car with Gallagher sponsorship. Chilton will drive all road and street courses and the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500. There was no mention of a second car or whether someone else would drive the other four ovals. Carlin plans to have two cars at Spring Training next week.
Spring Training Schedule and Streaming
Spring Training from COTA will be streamed next Tuesday and Wednesday on the Indycar Mobile App and Indycar.com.
The schedule (all times Eastern):
11 am-1 pm
2:30 pm-6:30 pm
10 am- Noon
1 pm-5 pm
I’m will be on site Monday and Tuesday. look for my Spring Training preview this weekend and updates Monday and Tuesday.