Hinchcliffe: New IndyCar aerokit will expose bad set-ups

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver James Hinchcliffe says the new 2018 IndyCar universal aerokit will remove a "band-aid" of downforce that helped weaker teams compete

Hinchcliffe: New IndyCar aerokit will expose bad set-ups

The new kit will replace the outgoing manufacturer-built spec and will lead to an overall reduction in downforce to help cars follow each other on track.

Sebastien Bourdais has said that the universal-spec aerokit means there are no excuses for teams that underperform, and Hinchcliffe expects the change to punish teams with poor set-ups.

"There's no doubt that the downforce we had before was essentially a band-aid for poor mechanical set-up," he told Autosport.

"As we take downforce away, teams with a superior mechanical package are going to rise to the top.

"If you've been using downforce as a crutch in the past then you're not going to have that anymore."

Hinchcliffe says that IndyCar's close qualifying times will likely disappear in 2018 as teams adapt to the changes.

"We've seen almost the entire field at Mid-Ohio covered by eight tenths of a second before and that's just not going to be the case in 2018," he admitted.

"OK, some people will be worried about the field being more separated but actually, once the green flag drops, the pockets of cars on the racetrack are going to be able to run closer together and race each other better.

"So even if the gap from the leader to the last-placed car is bigger than before, the spectacle will still be better than we've seen."

IndyCar veterans Will Power and Ed Carpenter said a test at the Phoenix oval emphasised that racing will be better at tracks that lacked action under the previous regulations.

Power expects drivers to be unable to "hide behind" downforce next year.

"When me and Ed were running together, once my car got loose, Ed could pull up and pass me," he said.

"There's no downforce to hide behind when your tyres start to go off, and it shows that the driver behind can deal with the turbulence now.

"So that should be a sign that the racing's going to be better."

Carpenter added that driving styles will have to change next year.

"The car's definitely different, you can immediately feel how much less downforce it has," he said.

"It's forcing a lot more lifting in the turns and a lot lower corner speed, it definitely accelerates faster, given as much drag reduction as this kit has.

"It requires a different style from us as drivers - the line we're taking is pretty similar, but we're working the pedals a lot more and going down a gear."

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