Opinion: why the IndyCar Series is better than Formula 1
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Kiwi Scott Dixon is in action this weekend at round 12 of the 2018 IndyCar championship at Toronto. Dixon is nicely poised at the top of the point's table with just six races to go.
Unlike the Formula One series, there are still probably six drivers who are in with a chance to grab the 2018 title.
On any given race day, there are 15 drivers who could cross the line first which makes the racing very interesting indeed. Not only is it hard to pick who will win, there is more passing that you can poke a stick at. For example, at the last round at Iowa there were 955 passes during the race. That's got to be more than a decade of Formula One racing.
One thing I have noticed with IndyCar racing, is they can race nose-to-tail and really close side-to-side, at times faster than a F1 car can go. On a good day with a tail wind an F1 car will reach maybe 330km/h, whereas an IndyCar will top out at just over 370km/h and they do that within centimetres of each other. Another reason an IndyCar is faster is they have less aero stuff on them than F1 cars with their overly complicated wings and various winglets that create more drag thus slowing them down.
IndyCars make by a country mile a much better noise from the 520kW twin turbo charged 2.2-litre V6 engine with far less electronic gizmos than an F1 'power unit'. IndyCars also have a push-to-pass button that adds around an extra 45kW to get past another car. Watching the racing it appears to be way more effective that F1's Drag Reduction System (DRS).
Just to add a bit of gravitas to this little comparison, let's have a look at what two-time world Formula One champion Fernando Alonso had to say about the difference between the two cars. Last year when getting ready for his tilt at the Indianapolis 500, Alonso was asked about the differences between his F1 car and IndyCar.
"You know, they ask you if you are ready inside the car, you say yes. You switch on the car, and you go. They put fuel, tyres, and you go," he said in an ESPN interview.
"While in Formula One, it takes maybe six minutes to fire up the car, because they need to check, re-check. There is so much technology there, electronics, the hybrid system that needs to be linked with the combustion engine, the brake by wire, and many things that slow down every run or every feel that you may have on the car."
Not only is the racing more exciting in IndyCar, it appears it's much more fun for the driver as well. Alonso went on to say, "Here is just more raw. Everything is more racing. It's definitely faster and different. But at the end of the day, we all started in go karts. We all started in the small categories that probably we miss that kind of feeling when you get to Formula One and you have everything under control, you know, every single millimetre or every single tenth of a second.
"Here it's more driver input, you know, in different phases of the corner or different runs."
And what's probably the saddest part of this comparison, is you can't even say with hand on heart any more that F1 even has the best drivers these days. Definitely the best bank-balance drivers, but not necessarily the most talented drivers.
IndyCar has in the past attracted some greats of F1 including Graham Hill, Jim Clark, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Nigel Manson, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve. It's not an easy transition as drivers have to cope with short track ovals, mile ovals, speedway and superspeedway ovals and road courses (race tracks) and street courses.
Let's just hope this weekend Dixon's pit crew remember which way round to put the wheels on!
- NZ Herald