The IndyCar field will have to wait until tomorrow to do any meaningful running after the first day of the Open Test at COTA was brought to an early end by bad weather.
After an abbreviated morning session produced just 10 laps between seven drivers due to the cold temperatures, the green flag time for the afternoon segment was pushed back in the hope of finding a better window of weather. But only a handful of cars tiptoed around during an initial 10 minute exploratory period, and the decision was made to call it a day.
Even so, that was enough time for the combination of a cold, wet track and a car not moving fast enough to generate significant downforce to catch Zach Veach out, the third-year Andretti driver looping into a harmless spin halfway around his installation lap.
Team Penske tried to make the best of what they had to work with, sending Will Power (photo above) out to run behind Scott McLaughlin and try to get some sense of how the aeroscreen performed when running behind another car in the rain.
“It was [helpful], actually,” Power said. “I really wish someone ran in the wet wet, so we know where water gets in [to the aeroscreen]. We already saw that the water was getting in, and it seems like it needs a loop around the top because water was dripping in. The windscreen is great, it just clears. But that’s the sort of thing we’re trying to find out.
“[There was] no fogging for me. Obviously didn’t run that long. But, yeah, definitely water leaking in the bottom of the screen –up into the inside of the inside of the screen; you had some water dripping onto the steering wheel and onto your visor. But those would be easy to fix.
“It would have been nice to run when it was really raining, when there was a lot more water than when I was running behind Scott.”
As with the morning, though, drivers who stuck around for more than an installation lap were few and far between. ECR rookie Rinus VeeKay topped a session for the first time in his young IndyCar career with his 2m41.8165s crawl around the Austin layout. But for the likes of Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward, there was little to gain from venturing out of the garage.
“We did one lap to try and see if we could get any heat into the brakes,” O’Ward said. “It was really tough. It obviously got a bit warmer than when [the car is] just sitting there, but not enough to push or get any grip into the tire. It was pretty hard.”
Although some rain is expected for tomorrow morning, the prospects for a more productive day are a lot brighter with temperatures forecast to be in the low 60s.