Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Aero kits, tires, weather all affect Grand Prix tactics

Honda chassis have new vents in the rear wings, designed to make the wings more efficient in directing air.

LUIS SANTANA | Times

Honda chassis have new vents in the rear wings, designed to make the wings more efficient in directing air.

ST. PETERSBURG — The Honda aero kits, which are changed for 2016, didn't break through in Saturday's qualifying for today's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. But drivers are confident that in race trim they can be competitive.

"I'd say they seem pretty competitive," said Graham Rahal, who qualified seventh on Saturday. "I'm proud of Honda for the work we've put in."

Chevrolets took the top five spots in qualifying, with Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport the top Honda in sixth.

The Hondas have redesigned end plates on both the front and rear wings, but perhaps the most noticeable aspect is the air vents in the sides of the rear wings.

"More downforce, less drag, they've closed the gap on Chevrolet, so it's a good thing," said Dale Coyne, who owns a two-car Honda team.

Once again the race will see tire strategy play out, with teams trying to get their timing right on when to use red-sidewalled Firestone tires, which are faster but wear more quickly, versus the black-sidewalled tires. Teams must use both.

"The reds have a lot more grip they are very nice and easy to drive on," pole-sitter Will Power said after Saturday's qualifying.

If it rains, the rule about teams having to use red and black tires is scrapped and teams would use grooved rain tires.

Winds of up to 20 mph are forecast during the race, which isn't as big of a factor as it is at a fast oval like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway but can still make a difference.

"The change you have is more in gearing, and in the brake zone," Josef Newgarden said. "The brake zone changes a lot. If you have a big tail wind going into Turn 1 you're not going to be able to brake as deep as if you have a big head wind going into 1."

As of Saturday afternoon the forecast called for a 40 percent chance of rain in the early afternoon. That's not ideal but it's a big change from a few days earlier, when an 80 percent chance of thunderstorms was forecast.

All of which perhaps lends credence to Newgarden's approach to weather.

"It's so unpredictable, I don't even look at it," he said. "That's my new philosophy on race weekend. I'll show up and see what we got."

Aero kits, tires, weather all affect Grand Prix tactics 03/12/16 [Last modified: Saturday, March 12, 2016 9:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Buccaneers WR Mike Evans previews 2017-18 NBA season, predicts Warriors will be dethroned

    Bucs

    Tampa isn't the greatest basketball market. In fact, it's just about the worst.

    Mike Evans and Jameis Winston celebrate after connecting for a touchdown against the Bears in September. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  3. Lightning's Steve Yzerman enjoying Nikita Kucherov's scoring run

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, of Russia, celebrates after scoring a goal on the New Jersey Devils during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  4. Bucs journal: Offense needs to get off to a faster start

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The past two games have seen the Bucs offense muster furious rallies in the fourth quarter of losses, with 229 yards against the Patriots and a franchise-record 27 points against the Cardinals.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  5. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues

    Bucs

    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]