The NTT IndyCar Series’ investigation into the multi-car crash in Iowa involving Colton Herta and Rinus VeeKay has been completed.
With the findings produced on how the new aeroscreen driver protection device performed in its first significant incident, IndyCar president Jay Frye said VeeKay’s aeroscreen served its basic purpose, and was successful at stopping portions of Herta’s car from entering the Dutchman’s cockpit.
“It did prevent an entry inside the cockpit, there’s no doubt,” Frye told RACER. “We know it stopped an intrusion with the nose and front wing, and the right-front tire. Preventing such things is what it was designed to do.”
After a restart went awry in the first of the Iowa doubleheaders, Herta’s No. 88 Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Honda rode over the back of VeeKay’s No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy, and in the impact sequence, the front of Herta’s car struck the aeroscreen on the left side of VeeKay’s cockpit. Herta’s car was redirected upward by the screen, and hit the titanium halo that provides the rigid structure behind the laminated screen.
“The frame on VeeKay’s car was checked for safety and is back in service,” Frye said. “The screen looked fine; there were no marks on it that were readily visible. They took off the tear-offs off and found a little bead, like if a rock hits your windshield [from the Herta impact]. So the screen got taken out of service, just to be overly cautious, but it was so minimal, you wouldn’t have noticed from a few feet away.”
Frye hailed the design and manufacturing team behind the aeroscreen, which he green-lit in early 2019.
“There were so many people that worked to make this thing happen,” he said. “And we’re really proud to have Red Bull Advanced Technologies, and Pankl, and PPG, and Dallara partnering with us on the aeroscreen, and our IndyCar teams, who’ve been really supportive of this program. It’s conclusive that it did make a difference in the outcome of the Iowa crash, and we’ll keep on looking for ways to make it even better.”
A field of 33 cars will make use of the aeroscreen for the first time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when Indy 500 practice gets under way on Wednesday.