Bourdais: IndyCar aerokit not to blame for 'difficult' oval racing

Sebastien Bourdais says IndyCar's 2018 universal aerokit is not to blame for the "over the top difficult" racing on ovals this season

Bourdais: IndyCar aerokit not to blame for 'difficult' oval racing

While IndyCar's race at Phoenix - where racing has often been dull - was entertaining, the Indianapolis 500 did not provide as much nose-to-tail running as previous years.

IndyCar chose not to alter downforce levels in the build-up to the race, which featured several crashes from drivers caught out by the new car's more unpredictable behaviour.

Bourdais called last year's Texas race "bullshit" for how dangerous it was, but the 2018 race was defined by the Honda engine's better fuel mileage and drivers avoiding tyre blistering.

The Dale Coyne Racing driver told Autosport that blaming the new car was too simplistic.

"So far we've not found the right amount of downforce to put on a good show," said Bourdais.

"Unfortunately it's nothing to do with the aerokit, people think it is 'aerokit this and aerokit that'.

"It's because we decided to run significantly less downforce than the last two or three years and ultimately that is what is hurting the proximity of the cars.

"Depending on what you are looking for in racing, you can argue that it's harder - so they like that better - and some say they like it when it's closer together.

"I can understand both perspectives and in the meantime, I think there is a fine balance to get and right now we just haven't had it.

"They've trimmed the cars far enough down the road that it is now over the top difficult. I think the cars are now too stretched out and it's tough to get close to make moves."

Bourdais said IndyCar has been conservative in reacting to oval racing concerns, but that it's approach was justifiable.

"It's alright [the racing on ovals], but it's one of those where they [IndyCar] almost need to miss [the set-up] on one end of the other and refine and find what they are looking for," he said.

"At Texas, for example, you are talking 100-200lbs of downforce and you have the baseline. Anything over that is pack racing, and anything below is a boring race.

"It's not like we don't have ways to put downforce on, they just haven't allowed us yet.

"It's fixable, but in the meantime, I can see why they [IndyCar] are tentative as they want to stay away from what happened at Texas last year, and could they have predicted the 100C heat at Indianapolis?

"Probably not. Should they have backed against the wall, with no way in the regulations, to put more downforce on and compensate for conditions? Probably not.

"It's all about judgements and miscalculations and not wanting to take risks and [not] getting us too close which is sensible, but they need to be careful not to hurt the show.

"The car needs a bit more downforce and needs to be more dialled in. I'm not worried about achieving it, it takes time to get there."

shares
comments
IndyCar stars warn against opening-up new 2018 car development

Previous article

IndyCar stars warn against opening-up new 2018 car development

Next article

IndyCar Road America: Josef Newgarden fastest in both practice sessions

IndyCar Road America: Josef Newgarden fastest in both practice sessions
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Drivers Sébastien Bourdais
Author Tom Errington
The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed Plus

The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed

Often unfairly characterised as a car-breaker, judged for his lack of an Indianapolis 500 win and a disappointing part-season of Formula 1 in 1993, Michael Andretti was highly respected by his rivals and only thwarted greater success by ill-fortune. When it all came together in 1991, he was a truly formidable force

IndyCar
Mar 6, 2021
How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite Plus

How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite

The second year of McLaren's full-time IndyCar return is looming, with Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up. Strong team personnel and work behind the scenes means that 2021 could be the year it joins the established elite

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart Plus

The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart

Flashes of brilliance amid spells of obscurity have been too common for Marco Andretti. While the third-generation racer has opted to bring his full-time IndyCar career to a close, his peaks and troughs have never been for want of trying

IndyCar
Jan 20, 2021
Why American racing's top dog is without equal Plus

Why American racing's top dog is without equal

A byword for success in business and in motorsport for over 50 years, Roger Penske's importance to the US scene cannot be understated. In an exclusive interview, the custodian of the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway reflects on his journey

IndyCar
Jan 11, 2021
The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete Plus

The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete

When founder Bruce McLaren died in June 1970, his team could have folded. Instead, his loyal band rallied to produce a string of winners - including an Indycar game-changer that won its third Indianapolis 500 five years after its debut

IndyCar
Dec 22, 2020
Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough Plus

Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough

Josef Newgarden feels he didn't put a foot wrong in 2020, yet his finest season-long run of performances failed to yield a third series championship. But in a warning shot to Scott Dixon, Team Penske's team leader has vowed to redouble his efforts in 2021

IndyCar
Dec 21, 2020
How Dixon held on in IndyCar's most unpredictable season Plus

How Dixon held on in IndyCar's most unpredictable season

Three wins on the trot gave the Chip Ganassi Racing superstar the cushion he needed to hang on for a sixth title in the face of Josef Newgarden's late challenge. Here's the rundown of a typically frantic IndyCar campaign in an extraordinary year

IndyCar
Nov 28, 2020
The balancing act required for improving racing at Indy Plus

The balancing act required for improving racing at Indy

Calls for an improvement in the racing spectacle at the Indianapolis 500 have been met with small aerodynamic tweaks from IndyCar on superspeedways. But where such high speeds are involved, even minor adjustments require significant planning

IndyCar
Oct 31, 2020