IndyCar safety devices prove their worth at St. Petersburg

Phillip Abbott/Motorsport Images

IndyCar safety devices prove their worth at St. Petersburg


IndyCar safety devices prove their worth at St. Petersburg


“Thank God we have the aeroscreen,” four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves said after exiting the IndyCar Medical Trailer.

The Brazilian was feeling grateful after being knocked around in the big race-opening crash that claimed five cars in a massive pileup that triggered a red flag. Sure, Castroneves had some bumps and bruises, but considering the severity of the melee, the Meyer Shank Racing driver was thankful for the constant efforts by the NTT IndyCar Series to increase driver safety.

“Great work by the AMR Safety Group; it is a shame that I had to try them out so early in the year,” Castroneves added. “I have no idea what happened. I got hit from behind and then I saw a lot of cars flying around. It shows how the safety in these cars has improved, because that was a big crash and to see everybody come out of it OK is great.”

MSR teammate Simon Pagenaud was taken out in the same incident.

His car was launched into the cement walls on both sides of the track, crumpling his left and right front suspensions and flattening the nose and wings on the car before it came to a stop. From the aeroscreen to the cockpit padding to the fortified cockpit sides, each driver sits within a structure that has been the subject of dozens of updates to safeguard its occupants.

Just as Castroneves didn’t want to see IndyCar’s AMR Safety Team this early in the season, Pagenaud wasn’t looking forward to being brought to IndyCar’s new medical trailer to be evaluated, but nonetheless, he was enthralled by the quality of care and services that were rendered.

“I was very impressed with the medical truck and the way that every driver got handled to check for injuries and X-rays being done there in the medical trailer,” the 2016 IndyCar Series champion told RACER.

“That place is extremely well put together and the attention of (the) medical crew was incredible so it’s definitely a huge evolution — in the right direction from IndyCar — to take care of (injured and uninjured) drivers. That made me feel extremely good for the future of the sport for our athletes. It was a pretty big hit, but my body is in good shape, and definitely I would give a thumbs up to (the) safety of the car and the fact that it absorbs the shocks really well.”