When you look at IndyCars and Formula 1 cars, you might think they work the same. However, these are two series cars that are different in many ways. However, the question most people have is which would be faster?
We shall look at which series has faster cars and also other differences that would make someone fully understand how the two are different.
Top speeds can help see which car would be fast, but that is not the only factor. It comes down to the track design.
An IndyCar vehicle can do up to 240 mph when driving on an oval track. This is when powered by a 2.2-litre V6 engine.
The F1 car, on the other hand, can do up to 205mph from a 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engine. The F1 engines are hybrid.
Well, the F1 speed is not limited. This is because, in 2019, both Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel managed to get up to 223.5mph when racing in Mexico City and Monza, respectively.
One important thing to note is that IndyCars perform quite well in straight line speeds compared to F1 cars. This does not mean the car would be also fast around the road course lap as the F1 car.
We find that F1 cars will tend to accelerate faster and corner better than IndyCar vehicles. For this reason, an F1 car would always beat the IndyCar vehicle on an F1 track.
Besides the speed, the budgets between these two sports are quite different.
IndyCar is all about creating a level playing field for all the teams involved in the sport. This is because they have to use the Dallara chassis and choose between the Chevrolet or Honda engines. As such, the budget is not too high for some teams.
That is not the same thing you get with F1 teams. The teams rely on four engine manufacturers, and each team would develop different car parts to suit their racing styles.
Competition between teams can sometimes come down to the finances each team has. So, expect to spend a lot more in F1 racing.
In the car world, horsepower can mean a lot about which car is faster.
Looking at the numbers, expect an IndyCar vehicle to have from 600 to 800 hp. This depends on the turbo boost and other tweaking the team can make to the engines.
F1 engine manufacturers are not so big on sharing the details of how powerful these engines are. However, in 2019, Renault claimed to have a 1000bhp engine. This was when both the ICE and hybrid systems were working. It is rumoured that Mercedes, Honda, and Ferrari were also pushing similar numbers.
Here is a video on how a hybrid engine works
Assists in both cases
Each sport has tried to devise ways to improve the performance of the cars. An example is when F1 introduced DRS in 2011 to eliminate the aerodynamic disadvantage. This was to encourage overtaking whenever you hit the straight section.
This system improves the F1 aerodynamic efficiency without dealing with dirty air whenever you get to the designated straights.
It is not like IndyCar does not have its tricks too. As of 2009, the sport had introduced the push-to-pass system. This was to also help with overtaking.
The system would be activated by pushing a button mounted on the steering wheel. Whenever you push the button, it activates 50hp more temporarily. That can be enough power to overtake, depending on your timing.
IndyCar is mostly a national series in the US. This means that its viewership is lower compared to F1, which is a World Championship.
In 2019, we saw IndyCar get an average of 5.45 million views for each race. However, the F1 championship had 91.5 million views for the same period. This is quite a huge difference.
There is a difference in how the drivers qualify for their starting positions. Starting with F1, they are divided into three segments known as Q1, Q2, and Q3.
All the drivers are given an equal chance to compete in an 18-minute long session known as Q1. The bottom 5 from this race will be dropped out. Now it is 15 drivers remaining. These drivers now have to battle setting the fastest time so they can get close to the first place.
As for IndyCar, the qualifying will largely depend on the type of track or event. For the oval race, each driver has to do two laps and their time averaged. This would then count as their qualifying time.
The Indy 500 has three days of qualifying. Each driver gets their position by averaging the timed four laps they did on day one.
Here is a video of how the 2022 qualifying went
Are F1 cars faster than the IndyCar vehicles?
It depends. If it is straight-line racing, IndyCars are faster, but for cornering and acceleration, F1 cars are faster.
Is F1 faster than NASCAR?
F1 cars can reach their top speeds faster generally. For a 0 to 62mph timing, we find F1 cars taking an average of 3.5 seconds. The same cannot be said for NASCAR cars. So, F1 cars are faster.
Which one is cheaper? F1 or IndyCar?
IndyCar is a cheaper sport than F1. The teams are required to use cheaper engines and chassis. It is not the same with F1 racing. Here the teams would often keep their budget a secret which can be high most of the time.