Right? There’s not a lot to separate the two open wheel racing series, is there? After watching the IndyCar series race in Iowa, and Formula 1’s race in Austria this past weekend you’re probably asking yourself what’s really different between the two series. Hmm, that’s an interesting question let’s delve a little deeper why don’t we?
To do this we will look at several components; cars, chassis, engine/power plants, fuel types, wheels/tires, specific regulations, and so on.
Formula 1 IndyCar
|**Information contained within this table pertains to data available for the 2017 season using both series' official websites||Formula 1||IndyCar|
|Season||Most seasons consist of 19-20 races. The team will travel an average of 100,000 miles throughout the season for races and testing around the world.||17 races in North America. 16 races if you count the 2 day GP in Detroit as one stop.|
|Circuit||GP circuits (road courses), and temporary street circuits||superspeedways, short ovals, road courses, and temporary street circuits|
|Sanctioning Body||FIA (Federation Internationale De L'Automobile)||IndyCar|
|Special||Formula 1 employs the DRS system which allows drivers to alter the rear wing's angle of incidence in select locations of a track within a specified distance. DRS stands for Drag Reduction System. Formula 1 cars also employ Energy Recovery Systems.|
|Pit Stops||Tire change only, no refueling. Typically completed in about 2 seconds.||Fuel and tire change permitted|
|Car||Single seat, open cockpit, multiple chassis, and engine manufacturers.||Single seat, open cockpit, single chassis manufacturer, and multiple engine manufacturers,|
|Engine||1.6 liter, single turbocharger direct injected V-6. Supplied by Ferrari, Honda, Mercedes or Renault||2.2 liter, twin turbocharged direct injected V-6. Supplied by either Chevy or Honda|
|Fuel||Near unleaded pump gas (105 kilograms). No refueling permitted once the cars leave the garage onto the track for the reconnaissance lap.||Ethanol, Sunoco E85
18.5 gallon fuel cell.
|Top Speed||Undisclosed. F1 car set a record in 2005 attaining 231 mph although not achieved during a sanctioned race,||Can reach speeds of up to 235 MPH at Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
|RPM||15,000||optimized to run at 12,000|
|Horsepower||600 up to 760*|
*+160HP resulting from ERS, for limited use during a race.
|500-700. Tuned up or down depending on course.|
|Gearbox||Electronically controlled hydraulic activated. 8 forward gears, and 1 reverse. Gearbox changes are permitted after 6 consecutive races w/o penalty.||Assisted 6 forward gears, and 1 reverse.|
|Chassis||Chassis and Engines may be sourced together or separately. In a case of mix the name of the chassis constructor comes before the engine constructor. Currently chassis constructors include: Ferrari, Force India, Haas, McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull, Renault, Sauber, Toro Rosso, and Williams||Dallara|
|Suspension||Multi-link, front and rear.||Not specified, but appears to be multi-link|
|Steering||Power assisted||Not specified|
Tires: 305mm (12") FRONT, 405mm (15.9") REAR
5 dry condition compound options, and two wet weather compound options.
Tires: 11" FRONT 15" REAR
|Weight||722 kilograms + tires (1,591 pounds)||1,610 pounds for road courses, street circuits, and short oval configurations. 1,580 pounds for speedway configuration|
|Dimensions||Width: 2,000 mm (78.74") not including tires|
Length: approximately 5,000 mm (196.85")
Height: 950 mm (37.4")
Wheelbase: varies between 3,550-3,700 mm (139-145")
|Width: 78.5" maximum
Length: 203.9" (Short ovals, street circuits, and road courses) 197.3" (Speedways)
Wheelbase: varies between 117.5-121.5"
So there you have it, a side by side comparison of the two series and the cars racing in them. Now, no matter what your affinity or whether you think ovals and superspeedways are as if not more challenging than a street course or GP circuit it’s hard to deny that both series offer a great product for fans of wheel-to-wheel racing!