Is IndyCar better than Formula 1?

Reigning IndyCar champion Will Power has certainly not minced his words in the debate between the US series and F1


Formula 1 will always be seen as the most popular motorsport on the planet but is it actually the best?

It seems like a simple yes or no question and you’d think with the vast majority of motorsport fans having F1 as one of their main focuses, most would say yes. But the variety of racing around the world means it would be a lot closer than you might think.

One of the biggest motor racing series outside of F1 is IndyCar, which could loosely be seen as America’s equivalent. Both series have open-wheel cars and attract some of the world’s best drivers but the reigning IndyCar champion thinks F1 is not up to the US series’ standards.

“F1’s a joke as far as competition, but not as far as drivers,” Power told NBC Sports. “They have amazing drivers. And I feel sorry for them that they don’t get to experience the satisfaction we do with our racing because that is the top level of open-wheel motorsport.”

So which is better, F1 or IndyCar? Total Motorsport tries to find an answer…

F1 speed unparalleled

Let’s get this out of the way immediately, F1 is far faster than IndyCar around any normal road course and it always will be.

The best comparison would be in 2019 when IndyCar raced at Circuit of the Americas, home of the F1 United States Grand Prix. The fastest time set by Valtteri Bottas of 1:32:029 is 13 seconds faster than Felix Rosenqvist’s 1:45.454 set in qualifying at the IndyCar event.

F1 has unfortunately never raced on an oval so there can be no comparison in that regard but with IndyCar’s specially designed oval specifications, it’s hard to see how they could be beaten.

If the absolute fastest cars are all you are interested in, then F1 is the place for you.

Action central

One thing F1 cannot claim to have more than any series in the world is on-track action, especially when Max Verstappen clears off at Turn 1 and is never seen again by his competitors.

That’s where IndyCar thrives thanks to a standardised chassis and aero kit which leaves little for the teams to change in order to find gains in performance. That means that the drivers actually make the difference and they do not disappoint or shy away from a move when it presents itself.

Earlier this season at Texas Motor Speedway, more than 1,000 passes were recorded in a bonkers race eventually won by Josef Newgarden. There has been less than that in the entire F1 season so far.

F1 can have the occasional good race but the quality of action in IndyCar means it only occasionally has a bad one.

IndyCar all the way

There are some opinions in Europe that suggest IndyCar is inferior to F1 but those who actually take note know otherwise. Both series will be racing at the same time this Sunday on June 18 as F1 heads to Canada and IndyCar to the best road course in America (Road America) and the decision is an easy one, IndyCar all the way.

Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis is a motorsport journalist with experience working in BTCC. He is the resident IndyCar correspondent for and a top class F1 writer.
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