for your iPhone
for your iPad

IndyCar Links

2018 Teams

2018 Schedule

2018 IC Rule Book

2018 Indy Lights Rules

2018 Pro Mazda Rules

2018 USF2000 Rules

2014 Scanner Freq

Race Car Comparison

History CART/IRL Split

2018 Point Standings
After Texas
Rank Driver Points

1 Scott Dixon 357
2 Alexander Rossi 334
3 Will Power 321
4 Ryan Hunter-Reay 308
5 Josef Newgarden 289
6 Graham Rahal 250
7 Robert Wickens 244
8 Simon Pagenaud 229
9 Sebastien Bourdais 218
10 Marco Andretti 213
11 James Hinchcliffe 209
12 Ed Jones 183
13 Takuma Sato 169
14 Tony Kanaan 157
15 Zach Veach 147
16 Spencer Pigot 147
17 Charlie Kimball 139
18 Gabby Chaves 138
19 Matheus Leist 133
20 Ed Carpenter 128
21 Max Chilton 121
22 Zachary De Melo 85
23 Jordan King 70
24 Carlos Munoz 53
25 Jack Harvey 53
26 Kyle Kaiser 45
27 Helio Castroneves 40
28 Rene Binder 39
29 JR Hildebrand 38
30 Stefan Wilson 31
31 Oriol Servia 27
32 Santino Ferrucci 18
33 Conor Daly 18
34 Danica Patrick 13
35 Jay Howard 12
36 Sage Karam 10
37 James Davison 10
38 Pietro Fittipaldi 7

Rookie of Year Standings
1. Robert Wickens 244
2. Zach Veach 147
3. Matheus Leist 133
4. Zachary De Melo 85
5. Jordan King 70
6. Jack Harvey 53
7. Kyle Kaiser 45
8. Rene Binder 39
9. Ferrucci, Santino 18
10. Pietro Fittipaldi 7

Manufacturer Standings
1. Honda 667
2. Chevy 564

The Delta Wing - Safety by Design

Part 6 of 7 by Scott Morris
Sunday, March 14, 2010


This is a short installment in our series on the Delta Wing, to simply address something that we also had concerns about when we first saw the design. With the long narrow forward section, it looks as if side impact protection would be inferior to today's car and current designs. Well, we have been assured to the contrary.

The Delta Wing has very thick tub-wall construction for side-impact protection
In our chats with Ben Bowlby, he first said "Well, let me tell you this. If you were to walk up to the Target Chip Ganassi Car today, and give the side of it even a half-hearted kick, your foot would go right through the body work, and likely hit the Honda ECU and some radiator hoses and other wiring. The sidepods, though having the appearance of a substantial piece of construction, are in fact inconsequential in an impact scenario."

In thinking about this, and having seen the bodywork off the sidepods of the current style of formula cars, this is absolutely true. However, when you see that bodywork, your mind just tells you that there is something there.

Ben told us that the tub of the Delta Wing design is much thicker than the current design, and though there has not been any real-world testing, the computer calculations indicate that the protection against intrusion, as well as fracturing of the tub, is much improved.

The side-intrusion factor is what presents one of the biggest threats to the driver. In combination with the current nose designs, the susceptibility of a tub to intrusion from the nose of another car, can cause a tub to be cut completely in half, which we have all seen in various accidents over the past several years.

So a stronger sturdier tub is a must, and the Delta Wing has been designed with this in mind, yet with lighter weight than the current car.

The lighter weight is also a safety factor as it decreases the over impact energy in an accident.

The Delta Wing nose section is located far ahead of the front wheels and is a deformable energy absorbing unit
Finally, it is easy to see that the nose design on the Delta wing has quite a bit of overhang ahead of the front wheels. This is an large energy-absorbing structure that provides significant protection in a frontal impact, and also provides protection to the other driver in a car-to-car perpendicular (or T-bone) impact.

The current design requires the nose to be built extremely strong to withstand a car-wall impact. This effectively make the nose of another car like a giant ice-pick at high speed, and can slice another car in two, at the right angle and speed. It can be like a knife cutting through butter at those speeds and forces.

With a longer, deformable structure ahead of the more stiff part of the tub that houses the drivers foot box, there is opportunity to dissipate energy. Combined with the thicker tub wall, and the fact that the driver sits further behind the centerline of the front wheels, this is a construction that is designed to be much safer for the driver.

Delta Wing wheels are flush with bodywork, making wheel-wheel launches unlikely
Another factor that is really born out of an aerodynamic purpose, is that the wheels are mostly covered, and flush with the bodywork. Without protruding wheels, there is no chance of tangling wheels or a car getting launched into the air when exposed to tire-to-tire contact.

Aerodynamically, this car is also much less likely to get airborne like the most recent nose-high designs of recent years. The lighter weight also decreases the destructive potential of the car against other obstacles such as fencing, which provides a certain level of reduced risk to the viewing spectator. The semi-enclosed wheels also greatly reduce the likelihood of a wheel departing the vehicle and threatening spectators.

This will also likely create a situation that is more like NASCAR, where drivers can get away with a little bit of contact. We are not sure we particularly like that notion, but it is what the majority of fans seem to like. Casual surveys of all types of racing fans seem to tell us that they don’t put much stock in the notion that it takes more skill to race other cars without hitting them.

Since this is about relevance, and about the show, this is something that the sport could use in attracting fans.

All in all, a safer car surely gets our vote.

Our final installment will be about the power-to-weight and power plant aspects of the Delta Wing concept, and we will close our series with a summary article that also talks about the other concepts of the Delta Wing philosophy, that really transcend the sole notion of chassis and car design.

Feedback can be sent to

Go to our forums to discuss this article