IndyCar to Formula 1: What is the better racing series?

The IndyCar are louder, cheaper and easier than Formula 1. They provide the more exciting races from. Is the US racing series therefore the better Formula 1?

20/12/2015 Michael Schmidt 1 comment

In Mid Ohio, the time has stopped. A godforsaken area with a track from the 60s. Bernie Ecclestone would rather go for a clear rounds at the Nürburgring, as to pitch its tents in this place, which reminds him of the time when Formula 1 was a sport for garage owners and adventurers.

The IndyCar Series has appeared on the first weekend of August at Mid Ohio. A 3.634 km long track in the woods with open boxes and garages, narrow as a Burrow. With archaic safety equipment. Gravel traps instead of asphalt surfaces, here and there a lawn to be rather faster than slower on the out of control car. Output curve 1 could get cars into oncoming traffic when it goes badly. Jumping hill in curve 4 with the evocative name of "Jump" should not exist in F1. In the FIA ​​rules, the limit values ​​for peaks and valleys are defined precisely.

Money machine Formula 1 vs. small IndyCar Series

The Tower of Mid Ohio is a 20 meter high wooden hut. No comparison to the airport terminals modern Formula 1 circuits. The audience sits in the grass on camp chairs, campers or Behelfstribünen. On many other routes it does not look better. It's a trip back in time. "Towards the" mock motor sports legend Mario Andretti, "is all in the formula 1, the Taj Mahal."

Mid Ohio is one of the traditional events in the IndyCar calendar. Porsche won here in 1989 with Teo Fabi his only IndyCar race. At that time the US series of the formula began to make 1 competition. With simpler cars, spectacular race, the Andretti, Fittipaldi's and Prayer in the cockpit. Nigel Mansell came in 1993 as world champions across the pond. Jacques Villeneuve moved in the other direction and was 1997 World Champion.

The war of the systems ended with the CART series, as they called themselves at the time, in 1996 fell into two championships. And thereby mangled itself. Since 2008 we are reunited. But not really healthy. The championship is playing a straight times 55 million US dollars, which are distributed to the eleven teams. A nose water against money printing press F1, which enters a turnover of 1.5 billion dollars a year.

Premier under fire

Nevertheless, the premier class is criticized, and its image in the US reaps restrained praise. The former Formula 1 driver Stefan Johansson, who both series has gone and now serves the triple champion Scott Dixon, also knows why: "IndyCar is racing Pure Simple to understand, not dominated by engineers, always exciting until the last lap.."

Mario Andretti contrast, holds: "If one can learn from the other, then the IndyCar of Formula 1." He finds that the formula is 1 denigrated without hardship and pleads:.. "She needs fine-tuning, but do not try to reinvent the wheel, we have it here in the US made often enough you are cheated, have denied their roots and things introduced that do not fit to the series. How can a race series to stop the end of August? For the fans this creates a huge hole in the winter, where no one talks about IndyCar. " Who is right? We make the Warentest in ten points.

IndyCar - Motorsports - Mid Ohio Photo: IndyCar
Track at Mid Ohio - Large run-off areas: None.

I. The drivers

In both cases, a good mix of young and old. The IndyCar pilots are three years older on average. Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves crossed the 40th Both denied its 18th season in 2015 and have more than 300 race starts under his belt. Kimi Räikkönen is 36 years of Methusalem of formula 1, Jenson Button 16 seasons and 284 starts the senior in the field. The Altersdruchschnitt of 26.70 years is the lowest in the GP history.

Max Verstappen broke all records with his 17 years in the debut. His counterpart in the US, the American Sage Karam, was established in March 20 years old. Had Verstappen on the other side of the world a chance? "Determined on the road courses. For the ovals but you need experience," said Juan Pablo Montoya. The Indy 500 winner went to 2006 in Formula 1. His old home he gives the advice:... "Give the drivers the command back Sensors can stay in the car, the engineers can read their data then only during the race they should not be available. Then the driver as here in our series is on your own. If you go too hard, you pay for it. Are you behave, do you give lap time. It makes the class a rider out to find the right balance . So you would end up much larger differences among the drivers to see. "

Fernando Alonso will earn 35 million euros per year. In the US, Scott Dixon is the big earners. Including prize money of New Zealanders comes to five million dollars. It was once again. In the 90's, when the money was still loose, the stars of the industry earned up to twelve million dollars. The IndyCar drivers are less media-shouldered and undiplomatic. Every now and then falls even a cross word or a flapsiger saying. What the series lacks is an American hero. The important priority in a country where patriotism. "Ryan Hunter-Reay is a great driver, but he has the charisma of a school teacher," blasphemes Johansson. "Josef Newgarden is a great talent, but no one knows his face."

II. The teams

Across the pond, everything is smaller by a factor of 10th The budget, the size of the teams. Top teams give each car from between ten and twelve million dollars. Some have up to five cars at the start. The small living on five million for the car. but still, you win races if everything fits in a day times. When did we see in F1 recent surprise winner? Right, 2008 Sebastian Vettel at Toro Rosso.

III: The cars

The biggest handicap of IndyCar is the car. Even the makers admit off the record that the Dallara win any beauty contests. Front-seater, rear sports car. There are hulking cars with simple design language. If the formula does worrying about the optics 1, then that's a luxury problem.

Since 2015, the IndyCar Series is no longer a unit formula. The engine manufacturers Honda and Chevrolet offer aero kits ranging wings, side pods and engine cover. They have invested together around 25 million dollars in the development, but they must cash in dollars only 75,000 per team. The output increased by 20 percent, but is inefficient. Higher cornering speeds preclude sharply lower top speeds. On road courses the cars were faster by 1.5 seconds slower in the Oval because of the greater air resistance.

As the rules allow a profiled subsoil, the IndyCar measure in fast corners with Formula 1 well. In slow them starve. brake 100 kg more weight and the worse response of the V6 Biturbo. It lacks the electric motor, which fills the turbo lag. The Aero kits are being criticized, even with those who actually advocate. "The mistake was," said Andretti, "that you have left it only Honda and Chevrolet. This has the field divided into two halves. Each weekend a the wrong Aero kit. Since you can remain the same at home. Originally, each team should build his own aero kit. No one would have had the package exclusively for themselves. If one were to consider would any other purchase it for a fixed price and can improve again. "

The engines IV.

Both series focus on turbo engines. The difference is in the price. Engine manufacturers of Formula 1 have invested 100 million euros in the development. Each year tens of millions sums are added. Chevrolet spent nearly seven million euros for the construction of the 2.2-liter V6 turbos. Honda probably more. The development devours four million euros per year. A team with two cars paid a flat rate of 1.3 million euros. In Formula 1, there are at least 17 million.

An Indy engine must hold at least 4,000 kilometers quite vergleichbasr with Formula 1. But the punishment mechanism is intelligent. If too many motors used, the manufacturer paid for by point deduction in a separate vote. Team and driver remain unmolested. The operated with E85 fuel US engines give off depending on the load pressure from 640 to 710 hp. In the Super Speedway are allowed 0.3 bar to 0.5 bar road course. Juan Pablo Montoya complained: "We have too much downforce for too little power I'd like 200 more horsepower.."

V. The routes

The IndyCar driver must be a universal talent. The 16 races spread over street circuits, permanent race track, ovals and the three Super Speedway Indianapolis, Pocono and Fontana. They are the highlight of the series. The archaic ride in the county reached in Indianapolis average speeds of 364 km / h. Wall contacts keep the thrill high. But this time brought a mysterious series of accidents, the famous Indy 500 to the brink of cancellation. Several cars were after a spin to the aircraft. Simulations of Chevrolet and Honda revealed that from an angle of 135 degrees to the direction of travel and a speed of 320 km / h much air came under the car, which then led to the lifting.

The IndyCar management prescribed more downforce to prevent the cars break out so early and abruptly. Ex-racing manager Derrick Walker sums up: "... Our racetracks allow a better show they are not as clinically, not so perfect you have bumps, the walls are close, the curves are spectacular not to be perfect, exudes a certain fascination." The IndyCar routes are more dangerous than the retort courses from Formula 1. Tecpro barriers are unknown. Fall space scarce. The fatal accident by Justin Wilson is not a typical IndyCar accident. The Englishman was hit by a car's nose. It was a bad combination like that of Felipe Massa in 2009 in Budapest with the spring.

IndyCar - Motorsport - Briscoe - Fontana Photo: IndyCar
To show there is no shortage in the IndyCar scene.

VI. The fascination

The hallmark of the formula 1 is the technique. And it is a curse. Because it costs too much and the evolution devours its children. And I will keep because any measure. IndyCar needs action, best every round. The American race fan is demanding, not so well informed, bored quickly. "Technical competition is still important because it attracts sponsors and manufacturers in the series attracts," says Derrick Walker but also limits, "but only as long as it does not make the race unpredictable. Therefore, the technology for all must be available. Allow exclusivity we only the dampers. "

The show VII.

IndyCar race last as long as a Grand Prix. 500 mile classic drive the average up. There are significantly more overtaking, which is because the cars are aerodynamically less sensitive. The rules allow tunnel in the subsoil. Which is more stable output. The front wings are less complicated, the flow pattern to the rear of the car was coincidental and not as well structured as in a Formula 1 car. So it can also be less disturbed. However, ex-F1 driver Sebastien Bourdais noted, "With the new aero kit that Afterward driving was difficult to produce more turmoil, especially the Honda cars with their jagged tail.."

IndyCar has push-to-pass, Formula 1 DRS. Fuel savings and tire management are not a big issue in the IndyCar. Who needs fuel goes into the pits. Sometimes consumption is the strategic weapon if you can save a pit stop for many safety car phases. The Firestone soles are frugal, show little wear. "If I had to take care of the first lap my tires, my racing would not make any more fun. We will more quickly if we are asking the tire. Because he comes to his work window," said Bourdais. In Formula 1, it is vice versa. Once too aggressive, and the surface temperature rises so strong that the tire never recovered.

VIII. The management

In Formula 1, there is a separation of powers. Bernie Ecclestone money rules, FIA president Jean Todt the rules. But the teams have a say. And that they use so that it comes to the reform deadlock. Mark Miles and Derrick Walker deployed by the IndyCar business independently. Teams are allowed to make suggestions, not more. So you are less blocked when action is needed. But even there, there are spat. Race director Derrick Walker had to take the end of his hat. "For the team bosses and my boss that I did my job not done well enough. Do not tell me what bothers them, but I believe it is the aero kits."

Stefan Johansson sees only one way out of trouble. "IndyCar needs an investor who touting a cash prize of $ 25 million. Then people also look down again." And the Formula 1? Mario Andretti has the solution: "If the driver should count for something again, prohibits the telemetry If the technology is too expensive, sets its limits.."

IX. equal opportunities

One could speak of heavenly states. In 16 IndyCar race, there were nine winners in six different teams, 19 riders on the podium, five pole positions. There are 16.0 Change of leadership and more than 100 pit stops per race. At the last race three drivers were still masters. The biggest outsider won. Scott Dixon passed Juan Pablo Montoya and Graham Rahal still thanks to the colon rule. "In Formula 1, you have not wanted", etched Bernie Ecclestone.

In the always wins only Mercedes, and when Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg or team allow enough mistake, once Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari. There were three different winners, three pole positions and as many as 10 riders on the podium. The world champion? He was already four races fixed before the end. With three lead changes per race and 37 pit stops per grand prix significantly less action is offered in F1. There are also less safety car interruptions. 0.74 per race on average to 4.63, with much of the oval race eliminated. The same applies to the change in leadership. Highlight was the Fontana 500 with 80 position changes at the top.

X. The Fans

A weekend ticket at Mid Ohio costs $ 75 miles. Five dollars more for a bleachers 30 dollars extra for the paddock, 175 US dollars for the all-around feel-good package with the motor home directly on the route. Children under twelve get in free. The highlight Indy 500 is relatively inexpensive with an average ticket price of 185 dollars. In Monte Carlo we start at 403 euros and ends at 805 euros. At Silverstone, the offer 270-625 euro moved.

Despite shrinking audience grandstands in F1 better staffed than in the US. well it has to be the attraction of the particular, the people leads them to invest a travel budget in three days Motorsport. Formula 1 Ferrari driving like a time. IndyCar's Opel. But to touch and many extras at no extra charge. Juan Pablo Montoya brings the difference in a nutshell: "IndyCar is made for the fans, formula one for television."

IndyCar - Motorsport - Dixon - Texas Photo: IndyCar
The IndyCar driver earn 1 counterparts not nearly as much as their formula.
seriesformula 1IndyCar
team10 (2 cars)11 (1-5 cars)
engine Manufacturer42
chassis Manufacturer101
Aerokit manufacturers102
Through age. driver26.7029.97
run19 (City 2)16. *
length season259 days154 days
⌀ starter19.324.4
⌀ of racing1: 37.10,010 h2: 03.23,921 h
⌀ lead winner7.798 sec.3.839 sec.
SC per race0.744.63 (4.00) **
Leading per race2.217.25 (5.50) **
Leadership changes per race3.0016.00 (6.90) **
Pit stops per race37,10104.75 (82.10) **
Drivers with wins39
Teams with wins26
Engine manufacturer with wins2 (Mercedes 16, Ferrari 2)2 (Chevrolet 10, Honda 6)
Driver with poles35
Driver with podium1019
Teams with poles26
Teams with podium67
highlightMonaco GPIndy 500
best visit140,000 (GP England)250,000 (Indy 500)
budget team€ 300 million - 905-60 million $
Cost motor (2 cars)€ 17 million$ 1.4 million
* City 5, section 5, Oval 3, Speedway 3
** (..) only street circuit