Johnny Herbert was the first man to complete a lap of the new course at Indianapolis, but he was also the first man to hit the wall in the oval section. Fortunately for Johnny it was just a glancing blow when something appeared to cause him to go...
Johnny Herbert was the first man to complete a lap of the new course at Indianapolis, but he was also the first man to hit the wall in the oval section. Fortunately for Johnny it was just a glancing blow when something appeared to cause him to go out of shape under braking for the first corner. Damage was confined to a rear wheel.
"When it braked it went slightly left, and then I hit the wall after that and just broke the rim. But something went before that, just as I braked."
Having lost the last part of the afternoon session Johnny missed some vital track time, but he'd still seen enough to be able to form some opinions about the place.
"There's one section which is around Turn 9 and 10 which is a bit Mickey Mouse, but the first bit is not too bad, and the bit onto the banking is okay. It's just that Turn 9 and 10 that is a bit too tight. It's a bit slippery at the moment because there's no rubber on it whatsoever, so it's very, very slippery. It's interesting getting onto the banking into what is our last turn."
Before the problem that sent him off the track, Johnny was working his way through a programme of set-up changes.
"We were just playing around with wings. I started with our baseline, and then we dropped it a long way and gained a lot of speed on the straight, but obviously lost the speed round the back. Then we started putting wing on, and it seemed to be slowly improving, and then unfortunately we didn't really get any more time in the second session, because we only did three runs. So we were not able to add more wing to it to see what that would do."
Johnny has already discovered that higher downforce levels are preferable, because the gain in the infield outweighs any losses on the straight.
"The gain you get with less wing down the straight you lose round the back, but when you gain out the back with more wing, you don't lose so much down the straight. It's going to be a compromise, which is what everyone's trying to do. But unfortunately we didn't do as much as we could. We were slowly getting there, but the track is very green at the moment, and it will take time - especially with the weather we're going to have tomorrow."