Indy Cars vs Formula One


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Puts the debate to bed which one is better as there was a 14 second gap between the two on just one lap. Indy car is about 2 seconds slower than a GP2 racing car which is very slow and watching this clip they don't even stick to track limits either.

I was watching the Indy 500 the other night and to be honest I switched it off. Like most American television coverage of sport it is ruined by advertising breaks. What is the point then as you watch for 5 minutes and it disappears for 5 minutes and then it returns again. I am not surprised why the rest of the world struggles watching their sporting events.

If we look at the differences between both types of cars it becomes fairly clear where Liberty Media (American) the owners of Formula One have got some of their ideas from.
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Having low budgets these are just literally racing teams with no research and development. Everything you see is bought in and not made by the teams. This to me would raise safety concerns more than anything else and not more competitive closer racing.


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Indy cars all have the same chassis which is a carbon fibre Dallara DW12 chassis and have a choice of two engines being Chevrolet or Honda. Not much scope for developing ones car and this is the point. Not one team builds their own car parts and buys everything in. A racing teams budget will be around the $15 million for the season which is peanuts and why they couldn't do their own developing and testing.

When we look at the braking systems on an Indy car we see they have to use metal drums which are bulky and heavy. In the last race a few days ago one cars wheel caught fire and exploded apart due to the heat. The overall weight of an Indy car excluding the driver is 715-730 kg depending on the type of circuit.
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Funny to think this car would lap and Indy car 6 times in the course of 1 race. makes no difference the Indy car has a 2.2 liter against a 1.6 liter engine.

What is interesting is both cars use a V6 turbo motor with the Indy car having a 2.2 liter and Formula One a 1.6 liter. The Indy car stores up power and they are allowed to have 10 boosts per race of 20 seconds each. I never knew this and to be honest I dread what is coming for Formula One as this makes sense now and I will explain a little further on.

Formula One teams as we know make and design their own cars including most of the parts. Some parts will be a crossover next season making racing a little cheaper. At least it is not the entire chassis and I don't think Liberty could get away with that ruling. Brakes are carbon composite fiber squeezed by a hydraulic caliper which helps recover energy that can be used as a source of power (ERS). As you can see already the technology is far more complicated and more advanced than any Indy car.

The Formula One teams are not restricted by engine choice and it is up to the team to choose what they want. Teams like Mercedes ,Renault and Ferrari use their own and also have deals with other teams that they supply. Honda who used to be in formula One supply Red Bull currently.

The one point that i don't like about Indy cars is the use of the 10 x 20 second boosts during the race. In Formula One teams turn up and turn down their engines and this is controlled by the drivers race engineer. Formula One is looking into this now as they feel it is an unfair advantage. Mercedes are light years ahead of the rest followed by Red Bull and both teams turn down their engines once they are well ahead of the field. If they are that good why penalise them? The other thought process was whatever the engine setting for qualifying has to remain the setting for the race which I find a little dumb.

Indy cars are used on oval circuits and some street circuits so the straight line speed should be quicker than Formula One cars. Where Indy loses out is on the corners as they don't have the same down force and aero dynamics. Last year there was a comparison in lap times at the Circuit of Americas in the States. The top Indy car pole time was 1 m 46.017 s lap at an average 115 mph. Nine months later Valterri Bottas did the same lap in his Mercedes Formula One car 1 m 32.029 s a huge 14 second gap averaging 133.5 mph. You just can't compare the two as one is a dinosaur on a budget and the other is now on a budget,but has the technology to back it up.

Formula One is all about development and pushing the technology barriers to eventually spill over into road cars. Why do you think Mercedes is suddenly becoming the car to have as they have so many cross overs today. Suspension is one of the key factors they have developed from the Formula One data over the last 6 years. This has made their cars more stable and safer as they understand the cars limits. Virtual garages and virtual simulation along with the wind tunnels have driven the business into something other manufacturers only can dream about.