Indycar vs Formula 1: What are the main differences between F1 and IndyCar?

If you’re new to racing you might be wondering what the difference between F1 and IndyCar are, and it’s perfectly valid. To put it simply, they are two different categories, and surely the second sounds more familiar to you than the first. Don’t worry, it’s normal, because one takes place mainly in America and the other in Europe.

Despite the fact that the two categories are the pinnacle of motorsport in terms of single-seaters for their respective participants, each in its territory, the cars are very different, and also the type of races that the racers face. if in Formula 1 speed is what has historically made the difference, in the Indianapolis 500, strategy is crucial. Knowing how to manage traffic, slipstreams, fuel, are factors that can lead a pilot to cross the finish line in the first place.

Also Indy cars and Formula 1 cars are very different, which makes it really difficult for drivers to adapt from one category to another. Someone like Fernando Alonsoa two-time F1 world champion, has needed several days of testing to get the ‘trick’ of the car he drives and squeeze it to the fullest.

Main differences between F1 and IndyCar


By regulation in Formula 1, each team must manufacture their own cars, they are only allowed to acquire engines and transmission, the rest is on their own so each car is different, while in IndyCar there are two fixed engine suppliers (Honda and Chevrolet) and one chassis (Dallara), so each team chooses what it buys, which obviously makes it cheaper and causes us to have dozens of cars with the same characteristics on the track.


Formula 1 cars are made for mixed circuits, that is, they are fast cars on the straight that accelerate very easily and can also take, thanks to their aerodynamics, curves at higher speeds, while IndyCars are made for constant speeds like ovals, so when they go to circuits, their aerodynamics require them to brake earlier and harder before cornering and they have a harder time accelerating. An F1 can go from 0 to 200 in just 4 seconds, an IndyCar takes twice as long.


In Formula 1 each circuit is different, so the teams choose the aerodynamics according to the track and once in the race, they can only change tires, while in IndyCar there are only two aerodynamic packages, one for the circuit and one for ovals, while in the race you can change tires and also refuel, which causes more creative strategies and equality between teams. Also, as if that were not enough, Formula 1 uses the DRS system that retracts the rear wing to overtake the rival, while IndyCar uses the Push to Pass button that for a few moments throws up to 40 extra horsepower to achieve overtaking.


Formula 1 has been using 1.6-liter V6 turbocharged hybrid engines ranging from 800 to 1,000 horsepower for a few years, while IndyCar uses 2.2-liter V6 biturbo engines between 550 and 750 horsepower, which is why they do not accelerate as fast. fast, but can achieve higher top speed.


In addition to the obvious safety measures, the drivers protect their heads in Formula 1 by a halo, while IndyCar, in addition to the halo, adds an aeroscreen which prevents any trash or debris from harming the driver.


For many years, IndyCar has used a mixture of 85 percent ethanol with 15 percent gasoline, which makes combustion faster, although there is a problem in case of fire, the flame is invisible. In Formula 1, high-octane gasoline is used at 99 percent and the rest are additives to the taste of the team.

One is the cradle of automotive technology, in fact Formula 1 has generated many advances for the automotive industry, while IndyCar seeks in a certain way to remain “pure” with the simple idea of ​​being faster than the rival, although the times have caught up with it and from 2021 it will integrate hybrid engines into its arsenal.

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