How fast are cars in Formula 1 faster than in IndyCar?August 25, 2019
This year, one of the stages of the American IndyCar series was first held at the Texas circuit circuit of the Americas in Austin, traditionally hosting the US Grand Prix, which allowed experts from Auto Motor und Sport to compare the speed capabilities of racing equipment of the two championships.
In the opinion of an unprepared person, the IndyCar and Formula 1 cars are similar, but such a judgment would be too rough and general. In fact, the difference between them is huge. IndyCar is a monoclass that uses standard Dallara chassis, while F1 is the championship of designers, and here everything is much larger, more expensive and more complicated in terms of technology.
In theory, performance in IndyCar requires riders to be more comprehensively trained, as the series will take place on regular racetracks, on oval, and on city roads with their bumps and other irregularities. V6 turbo engines with a working volume of 2.2 liters are installed on these machines, developing 550-750 hp. depending on the settings, plus a push-to-pass mode is provided, in which the power increases for a short time by another 60 hp.
Since 2014, the most complicated hybrid power plants have been used in Formula 1, in which the most modern technologies of engine building are embodied – these engines can be considered an example of efficiency, but at the same time they have an exorbitant price.
Both racing series have recently undergone reforms, albeit of a different nature. IndyCar machines became more compact in 2018, and the downforce that they generate was slightly reduced. In Formula 1, on the contrary, in 2017, cars became wider, and the level of pressure and, accordingly, speed increased.
Marcus Erickson held 97 Grand Prix with Caterham and Sauber, and since this season he has been playing at IndyCar, so he has experience in piloting both series of vehicles: “The Formula 1 car has much more downforce and you get more pleasure in qualifications. But during the IndyCar races, rivalry on the tracks is more acute and interesting. It’s easier to chase other cars here. ”
After the IndyCar stage in Austin, for the first time in a long time, it became possible to compare the telemetry data of the two series, and a very interesting picture was obtained. It turned out that the circle with a length of 5513 m, the car of modern Formula 1 overcomes 15% faster.
On March 23, 2019, Will Power, the racer of the Penske team who piloted a Dallara Chevrolet engine, won the qualification for the second stage of the season. His result is 1 minute 46.017 seconds. For comparison: last year’s pole position by Lewis Hamilton on this track, shown on October 20, was 1 min. 32,250 seconds. The difference is 13.767 seconds.
German journalists resorted to the help of Mercedes engineers, who analyzed telemetry data in detail and gave detailed information for each section of the route. It makes no sense to cite all these numbers, but it turns out that on average a five-time world champion covered each kilometer of the track 2.49 seconds faster. However, this should not be surprising, because the engines in Formula 1 are 260 hp. more powerful, and the aerodynamic body kit generates about 30% more downforce.
The greatest difference in speeds is manifested when cornering, on straight lines it is also very significant, but already smaller. As already mentioned, on average, Hamilton drove a lap along the Texas highway 15% faster than the 2014 IndyCar champion. But in three years, much can change, because in 2021 the clamping force in Formula 1 will be significantly reduced, while in 2022 the new generation cars with hybrid power plants that develop up to 900 hp will appear in IndyCar.
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