With the first Grand Prix of Indianapolis set for Saturday on the combination speedway and infield road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we thought we’d give you a preview of what kind of a track IndyCar drivers will be competing upon.
We must admit, we like the layout — although it’s still kind of weird to see an IndyCar going in the reverse direction while on the fabled 2.5-mile oval part that comprises part of the road course layout.
Check out the video below to see how driver Sebastien Bourdais, who was fastest in Thursday’s first practice no less, puts his open-wheeler through its paces on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn track.
“It’s a challenging racetrack,” Bourdais told IndyCar.com. “You have to commit to it and the grip level, so you can challenge yourself in the car. The last section is very enjoyable. The left, right, left and right again, that’s opened up a lot more than it used to be, and they are all third-gear corners. It’s actually quite fun. The car digs in and goes side-to-side as you’re working the tires and pushing yourself. It’s quite fun and I see some passing areas. It will be interesting.”
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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.
Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.
Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.
“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.
“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”
Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.
“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.
“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”