The weather has been clear through the Honda Indy Grand Prix weekend thus far – some gusty winds on Friday notwithstanding – but forecasts for rain on Sunday have the drivers uncertain over what to expect at Barber Motorsports Park, despite the consistent front-running pace of the Team Penske drivers throughout practice and qualifying.
For pole winner Josef Newgarden, though, at least the prospect of being in front of the spray was a comfort.
“If it’s going to be wet all day tomorrow, you’re going to want to be out front. There’s no guarantee for that. You can go backwards fast,” he said. “You’re relying on peripheral vision to get around the racetrack. Just depending on how aggressive the rain is, it will be a benefit to be all the way up front.”
James Hinchcliffe agreed that in the case of rain, “It’s a lottery what to expect. Obviously being in the top part of the grid helps a lot. We saw that in 2014. There was, like, five seconds in between cars!
“We’ll see. It’s a tricky track, fast corners. Also [we’re] not sure what to expect out of the tires,” added the Canadian, who starts fifth in his Schmidt Peterson Honda. “Part of the team did a test here weeks ago. It’s definitely beneficial having a teammate.”
Asked whether the effects of whether would be tempered by having strong teammates like Newgarden – who bested him for pole – Will Power replied: “No, I just think it’s going to be difficult for everyone.
“I mean, we’ve run a dry setup in the past. We ran a rain setup, then it dried up. Rain obviously changes the strategy a lot. Just have to concentrate more…”
Dale Coyne Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais, who starts third behind Power, noted another addition to the uncertainty factor:
“No one’s run this aero kit in the rain, so it’s gonna be a massive guessing game,” said Bourdais. Hey, we’ll take it – see what comes our way!”