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Top speeds, horsepower, assists & more compared



However, the two series operate in very different ways. F1 has always been the pinnacle of engineering excellence, with a strong focus on design and development, while IndyCar prioritizes leveling the playing field on a lower budget.

While IndyCar may seem complicated to European racing fans, F1’s reliance on money and technology is equally puzzling to American audiences. But by looking at the key differences, and what each series does better than the other, it’s possible to appreciate the richness of top-tier single-seaters.

The main difference between Formula 1 and IndyCar is that while F1 is raced only on road circuits, IndyCar is raced on both road and oval circuits. That meant the two cars needed to be designed differently—both needed to maximize acceleration and cornering speeds, but IndyCars also needed to cope with the sustained top speeds on the oval.

Is the top speed of F1 or IndyCar the highest?

The twin-turbocharged 2.2-liter V6’s IndyCar machinery can reach top speeds in excess of 240 mph, while for an F1 car the turbocharged 1.6-liter V6 hybrid tops out at about 205 mph – although in In 2019 Sebastian Vettel and Sergio Perez both managed to hit speeds of 223.5 mph in Monza and Mexico City respectively. F1’s lower top speed can be explained by the priority given to downforce and cornering speed in its regulations.

However, IndyCar’s superior straight-line speed doesn’t directly equate to faster lap times for its cars. F1 cars can accelerate faster and are set up to lose far less time in corners. In 2019, IndyCar raced at Circuit of the Americas, the venue of the United States Grand Prix, for the first time a direct comparison was made. Will Power took pole position with a lap time of 1 meter 46.017 seconds, averaging 115 mph. Nearly nine months later, at the United States Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas did it in a time of 1m 32.029 seconds, 14 seconds quicker, at an average speed of 133.5 mph.

With such a different approach to motorsport, just looking at series speeds isn’t really representative. IndyCar places great emphasis on creating a level playing field, with all teams using the same Dallara chassis and choosing between Honda and Chevrolet engines. In contrast, F1 currently has four engine manufacturers, with each team developing its own components. As a result, the competitiveness of the car varies greatly between the front and rear of the grid, and the budget spirals as the battle for points progresses.

How much horsepower do IndyCar and F1 cars have?

According to its website, the IndyCar mechanical can use between 550 and 700bhp, depending on turbocharging. F1 engine makers, on the other hand, tend to keep quiet about the current power details of their machines, but this one produces around 830hp. In 2019, Renault announced that its internal combustion engine and hybrid system had achieved a combined power of 1,000bhp, suggesting that Mercedes and Ferrari have also reached that magic number.

What accessibility features are available in F1 and IndyCar?

F1 has been using DRS since 2011 to try to eliminate the aerodynamic disadvantage of following another car and encourage overtaking. The system works by allowing cars within one second of the car in front to raise part of the rear wing on a designated straight to create an opening that improves aerodynamic efficiency and allows the car to drive without dirty air.

IndyCar introduced a push-to-pass system in 2009 to help increase overtaking. Controlled by a button on the steering wheel, the driver can temporarily increase engine power for around 40bhp of extra power. In 2017, the rules were changed to give each driver 200 seconds of extra power over the course of the race, rather than an allotted number of uses, allowing drivers to withdraw from failed overtaking maneuvers without wasting extra seconds, and Deploy that time at a later opportunity. Oval races don’t allow this, though, which means no drivers in the Indy 500 are allowed to use push to pass.

How do F1 and IndyCar audience sizes compare?

As an essentially national series, IndyCar’s TV ratings are far lower than global F1’s. IndyCar averaged 5.45 million viewers per race in 2019 on all affiliated channels of the series’ official broadcaster, NBC, and 4.8 million viewers for the 2022 Indy 500. This compares to F1’s 2021 global average viewership of 70.3 million, with 108.7 million viewers tuned in for the spectacular 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

What is the difference between the qualifying format in IndyCar and F1?

As with all F1 races, qualifying is divided into three parts, called Q1, Q2 and Q3. All drivers took part in the 18-minute Q1 race, after which the five slowest drivers withdrew. The remaining 15 fight to create one of the top 10 fastest to enter Q1. In the final qualifying session, the drivers raced to set the fastest times to get as close to the front row as possible for Sunday’s race.

IndyCar qualifying depends largely on the type of event. For oval races, riders are out once and the average of the two timed times constitutes their qualifying time. For the Indy 500, qualifying is split over three days, with everyone setting their time from an average of four laps on day one. Those finishing in the top nine will repeat the process in the fast-nine duel, while those finishing below 30 in the final row duel will determine the final grid position.

For both road and street circuits, drivers work in groups and times are determined based on their best lap times. The field for the first session was split in two, with the fastest six drivers in each group progressing to qualifying for the next session, with the rest finishing 13th and below. The fastest 12 drivers have 10 minutes to complete a lap, with the fastest six going into a quick six-man shootout, while the rest of the grid starts from 12th to 7th. The final six had six minutes to set the fastest lap and secure pole.

How do IndyCar and F1 race formats differ?

For F1, the race ends when the race distance of 189.5 miles (305 kilometers) is reached. This usually takes about an hour and a half, but there is also a two-hour limit per race in case of bad weather or a prolonged safety car. For IndyCar, the situation is slightly more complicated. In oval races there is no time limit and all races are run to a certain distance, while for road and street races there is usually a two-hour time limit if the race distance cannot be met – although there are provisions in the rules to allow IndyCar will change time limits as necessary. That said, most last about an hour and three quarters of an hour when running nonstop.

One of the biggest differences between F1 and IndyCar is where they race. While the only time IndyCar will leave the US in 2022 is across the border to Toronto, F1 will travel from Australia through Asia, Europe and North and South America in mid-March and head to Abu Dhabi in late November/early December. So round-the-world F1 has a longer season, both in terms of the number of races and the length of the calendar month.

IndyCar still uses refueling as part of its race, something that has been banned in F1 since 2010. An F1 mechanic can now change a car’s tire in about two and a half seconds, while an Indycar pit crew changes a tire and tops up the fuel tank with around 84 liters of fuel in less than 10 seconds.

What is the difference between the points system of F1 and IndyCar?

In F1, the top 10 drivers get points, the top three get 25, 18 and 15 points, and the tenth place gets one point. However, IndyCar is far more generous when it comes to handing out points, with 50 points for the winner, 40 and 35 for second and third, and the points go all the way to the finishers on the field, down to 25th 5 points for each point from 1st to 33rd. Indy 500 and Laguna Seca season finale points are doubled, as are Indy 500 qualifiers for first through ninth catch points.

While F1 has recently offered bonus points to drivers who set the fastest laps (as long as they finish in the top 10), IndyCar has gone further in rewarding drivers again, with the fewest bonus points for pole and lead One lap, and two points for leading the most laps.

In F1, each team will also receive points of the same structure based on the races completed by their drivers (excluding bonus fastest lap points). In IndyCar, engine makers Honda and Chevrolet are fighting their way to once again earn the same number of points as the top two drivers. In addition, the winning manufacturer will receive an additional 5 points, while the pole position manufacturer will receive 1 point.

Things are a little different at the Indy 500, with two points awarded to the manufacturer on pole and one point awarded to the fastest manufacturer on the first day of qualifying. Engine manufacturers who reach the 2,000-mile threshold are eligible to receive a bonus equal to the number of manufacturer points earned in the race.


Vandoorne to drive Aston Martin F1 car in Pirelli tyre test at Spa




Aston reserve driver Vandoorne will share driving duties with team principal Lance Stroll, while Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri will each drive a day for McLaren.

It will be the Belgian’s first time driving an active F1 car on track since December 2020 when he represented Mercedes in Abu Dhabi testing.

While the Spa test will focus on Pirelli’s no-carpet tyres, it will give Vandoorne a valuable opportunity to sample the 2023 car, helping him correlate with Aston Martin’s simulator work.

If either Stroll or Fernando Alonso were unwell at any point for the rest of the season, his life would also be made easier.

The 31-year-old shared the Aston substitute with defending Formula Two champion Felipe Drugovich, and the two took turns on call.

Dubovic drove the AMR23 for two days during the Bahrain test in February, when Stroll was not present, and he had the opportunity to test drive the AMR23. Since then, the Brazilian has continued to rack up more miles in private testing of the 2021 car.

Stoffel Vandoorne, Reserve Driver, Aston Martin F1 Team

Stoffel Vandoorne, Reserve Driver, Aston Martin F1 Team

Photography: Mark Sutton/ motorsport pictures

As well as his role at Aston, Vandoorne is one of McLaren’s backup drivers and his performance at Spa will also make it easier for him to step into the MCL60 should the need arise.

As well as giving him a general feel for downforce levels for 2023, the two cars share the Mercedes powerplant and thus have similar settings on their respective steering wheels.

Also read:

Vandoorne made his F1 debut for McLaren in Bahrain in 2016, replacing current Aston team-mate Alonso.

He then completed two full seasons in 2017 and 2018, the first with Honda power and the second with Renault. He finished 16th at the World Championships in both seasons, with a best finish of seventh.

He was dropped by McLaren at the end of 2018, but has since rebuilt his career in Formula E, winning the 2021-22 championship for Mercedes and serving as an F1 substitute.

He currently drives for the DS Penske Formula E team and is also a substitute for the Peugeot WEC team.

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McLaren “true contenders” for F1 best of the rest tag




McLaren has only scored one point after three rounds in 2023 as it struggles to find the car competitive.

But both Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri have seen plenty of upgrades in recent races, allowing the former to finish second in a row, while Piastri has finished in the top five in each of his past two races.

Despite being 136 points behind second-placed Mercedes in the constructors’ championship, Russell believes McLaren is a real threat for the remainder of the race behind leaders Red Bull.

“Obviously they’re a real contender for second fastest team,” Russell said of Woking.

“Oddly enough, Aston Martin was clearly second at the start of the year.

“And they don’t seem to be that competitive now. Ferrari haven’t made much progress. McLaren has made huge progress.

“So without McLaren we’d be very, very happy with the progress we’ve made. Leading the midfield, widening the gap and closing in on Red Bull.

“McLaren has just fully embraced it. But that makes you optimistic that bigger strides are possible.

“I believe in my team. I think it gives us the confidence and optimism to take this step towards Red Bull.

“We’re not too focused on McLaren, Aston or Ferrari. We’re focused on Red Bull. We’re trying to make that big step.”

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Photography: Steve Etherington/ motorsport pictures

Russell fought his way back from 18th on the grid at last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, jumping to sixth at the checkered flag after Mercedes strategists told him 11th was his favorite.

Russell was pleased with the final result, but felt it was “proof” of a “missed opportunity” for Hungary.

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“The strategy tells me that if we maximize everything, the P11 is the most realistic, the P7 is the most realistic,” Russell told Autosport.

“Sixth place without a safety car, without a VSC, it’s a really great result.

“But it also proved that this weekend could be a missed opportunity. I believe I could have gone there with Lewis yesterday, it’s one of my favorite circuits and the car always does well here.

“When you have two cars out there, fighting for second gives you more options, and Lewis is also very strong. If things turned out a little differently, he would also be P2.

“So as a missed opportunity we will learn from it. But the positive side is we are leading Aston and Ferrari.”

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Top speed, car sizes, race weekends and more compared




Formula 1 has relied on junior classes to develop the next generation of drivers, and its teams are eager to snag their brightest talent.

The ‘old’ Formula 2 car was a ruleset rather than its own separate entity, sometimes sharing the grid with F1, and later rule changes made the two cars separate championships.

The second class was renamed the F3000 in 1985 as the series switched to a naturally aspirated engine formula and extended the life of the earlier Cosworth DFV lineage. Throughout the life of the F3000, different engine and chassis suppliers came and went, with companies including Reynard, Lola, Ralt and March among them, all producing cars before the championship became a single specification.

When the F3000 championship began to fade due to declining team interest and declining track quality, the second level of racing was reborn in 2005. Bernie Ecclestone tried to bring the junior championship to F1’s bottom line and, along with Flavio Briatore and Bruno Michel, helped build the GP2 series.

GP2 became the FIA ​​Formula Two Championship in 2017, but many key hallmarks of GP2’s early series have stood the test of time. The GP3 series, a third-tier category designed to compete with the myriad Formula 3 championships around it, was added to the F1 Act in 2010 and became FIA ​​Formula 3 in 2019.

There are major differences in the way F2 is run compared to F1, there are subtle changes in form and there are big differences in the overall performance of the cars. The following are the key areas of comparison between F1 and F2.

F1 vs. F2 – key differences


Formula 1

Formula Two

top speed

220+ mph

208 mph

Minimum weight including driver

798 kg

788 kg




engine size

1.6 liter V6

3.4 liter V6

Approximate Power

1,000 horsepower

620 hp

car size

5.63m x 2m x 0.95m

5.22m x 1.9m x 1.09m

tire size

18 inches

18 inches

game every weekend

One (two for sprint weekends)

Two (one sprint, one feature)

game length

305 km/190 miles

Sprint – 120 km/74.5 miles

Features – 170 km/105.6 miles






twenty two

2023 Pole Times – Red Bull Ring

1 point 04.391

1 meter 14,643

2023 Pole Times – Monaco

1 meter 11.365

1 meter 21.053

2023 Pole Times – Silverstone

1 meter 26.720

1 meter 39,832

Current single-spec F2 cars can be seen as simpler, smaller versions of F1 cars

Current single-spec F2 cars can be seen as simpler, smaller versions of F1 cars

Photography: Simon Galloway/ motorsport pictures

What is the difference between F1 and F2 racing?

In F1, each team designs its own chassis according to a set of well-defined technical regulations laid down by the FIA. For the 2022 ruleset, the FIA ​​has updated the wording of the rules to better define the bounding box within which bodies can be developed and build a system more in line with the proliferation of available CAD products.

It features a range of safety systems such as a roll cage, halo and anti-intrusion panels mounted around the monocoque. There are also anti-collision structures on the side, front and rear of the car to minimize the impact on the driver in the car.

F2 is a single-spec series with all teams using the Dallara F2 2018 model. The car and driver must weigh a minimum of 788kg and feature F1 standard safety features such as the aforementioned crash structures and halos. Use only parts supplied by Dallara, Hewland or sold by F2 promoters.

F2 cars use floor venturi tunnels, which F1 adopts in 2022, 40 years after banning ground-effect aerodynamics. These designs aren’t as extreme as those in F1, but they work on the same principle, and the car is also enhanced with front and rear wings to create downforce. Like F1, F2 cars are fitted with a Drag Reduction System (DRS), which operates on the same parameters as its parent series.

While F1 cars typically reach speeds in excess of 220 mph during a race, with DRS switched on, an F2 car could theoretically hit 208 mph at full low downforce.

What is the difference between F1 and F2 tires?

Pirelli supplies all championships on the official F1 ladder, and F2 and F3 also use the Italian company’s rubber.

F2 started using 18-inch tires in 2020, two years before entering F1. F2 tires are slightly narrower than F1 tires and generally have less grip because of the naturally lower speeds of the junior series cars.

There are four dry-weather tire compounds for the F2: hard, medium, soft and supersoft – with the first three using the same white, yellow and red color coding as the F1. Extra soft textures are indicated by purple text on the side walls. Each car is supplied with five sets of dry weather tires per wheel, consisting of two of the prescribed compounds, with a set of “premium” tires to be returned after practice. Three sets of wet tires are also available – the F2 has no intermediate compound.

Tire blankets are banned in F2, meaning drivers must warm up their tires naturally. This often creates a larger offset during the pit stops, with drivers leaving the pits vulnerable to those who have already completed laps in the new group.

The “primary” and “option” compounds (harder tires are the main tires and softer tires are the options) must be used during featured races, and pit stops are required to replace them. Tire parking is allowed during a sprint, but not mandatory. Since only two dry compounds are used each weekend, Pirelli and F2 decide which tire to use before the weekend. There may be a single step in the compound (for example, medium and soft), or there may be a larger step for greater excursions (for example, medium and extra soft).

620bhp Mecachrome F2 engine

620bhp Mecachrome F2 engine

Photography: Sutton Images

What is the difference between F1 and F2 powertrains?

F1 has used a turbo-hybrid system since 2014, with a turbocharger and a motor-generator set on the rear axle to form a hybrid package. The internal combustion engine is a 1.6-liter V6. By 2022, F1 engines run on E10 fuel, where 10% of the fuel composition consists of combustibles of biosourced origin.

The MGU-K in an F1 car can produce up to 160bhp for a total power output of around 1000bhp. Figures for F1’s current four powertrain manufacturers (Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Red Bull Powertrain) vary but are all believed to have efficiencies in excess of 50%.

F2’s single-spec powertrain is produced by French manufacturer Mecachrome, which briefly participated in F1 in 1998 and 1999, and took over Renault’s engine program. The Mecachrome unit was a 3.4-litre V6 engine, virtually the same one used in the F3, but with a modified turbocharger from Van der Lee. It produces around 620bhp and is driven by a six-speed Hewland gearbox.

To ensure fairness in powertrain supply, Mecachrome units are randomly assigned to teams, as there may be minor differences in overall power output.

F2 is currently being used as a test bed to assist F1 in developing more sustainable fuel, using Aramco-produced fuel with 55% of its content from sustainable bio-sources, with the aim of increasing this figure to 100% by 2026/27. The Saudi oil brand replaced longtime supplier Elf as the sole producer of the F2 fuel.

How much does F1 cost compared to F2?

In recent years, Formula 1 has been constrained by a cost cap of about $135 million through 2023, with some minor adjustments for inflation and other ancillary costs. The cost cap covers most development and operating costs, but excludes driver salaries, salaries of the team’s three highest-paid employees, travel costs and marketing expenses. As Red Bull found out in 2022, violating this cap carries a range of penalties depending on the extent of the overrun.

The bulk of this budget comes from the FIA’s prize money, investment and sponsorship mix. Some teams, such as Red Bull and Mercedes, are self-sufficient in terms of bonuses and sponsors and do not require direct input from their ownership structures.

F2 teams have much smaller budgets, and with the series’ fairly limited reach, teams will rarely start the season with a full sponsor portfolio ready to fund every race. As such, drivers should pay for their rides through their own sponsors or a driver academy.

Depending on the team, the budget of an F2 driver can vary from 2 million to 3 million euros, and can even exceed this budget to get a seat in a better team. To keep costs down, F2 limited the number of employees working on each car on race weekends and designed the cars to be relatively cheap. A team can buy a complete F2 car, without the engine, for around 500,000 euros.

George Russell, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc are recent notable F2 graduates entering F1

George Russell, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc are recent notable F2 graduates entering F1

Photography: Glenn Dunbar/ motorsport pictures

How do drivers get from F2 to F1?

To compete in F2, drivers must hold an A or B international FIA license. They cannot conduct private tests on F2 machines, only the group tests offered by the series. There are also restrictions on the single-seater cars that drivers can test in private, and if a driver is double-duty in another category, they must commit to racing in F2 in the event of any conflict.

Depending on a driver’s final standing at the end of the F2 season, they may receive Superlicense points to help qualify for F1. To obtain a super license to compete in F1, a driver needs to earn 40 points.

The distribution of Super License points is:

end of season position

SL points

first place


second place


third place


fourth place


the fifth place


sixth place


Number 7


number 8




No. 10


These can be applied cumulatively over the course of three seasons.

F1 VS F2 weekend format

F1 has been running in the same basic format for years, with FP1 and FP2 taking place on Fridays, each one hour long. FP3 races are also one hour long and take place on the Saturday before the three-stage qualifying format in place since 2006. F1 races must be at least 305 kilometers in length (excluding Monaco) and must not exceed two hours in duration, with a three-hour window if any red flags are raised.

However, sprint weekends are different and that changes for 2023. The only practice session kicked off with Friday’s race, followed by qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix. Sprint qualifying and the race are both held on Saturdays, with 2023 seeing six sprint weekends for added variety.

F2 has a practice session lasting 45 minutes on Friday, with a half-hour qualifying session later in the day. It’s effectively a time trial and drivers just need to maintain the fastest lap at the end of the race to secure pole for Sunday’s race.

Many F1 teams have junior drivers in F2 teams

Many F1 teams have junior drivers in F2 teams

Photography: Red Bull Content Pool

The sprint race takes place on Saturday, using the same grid as qualifying, but with the top ten swapped. The number of laps “equal to the minimum number of complete laps over a distance of 120 km (100 km in Monaco)”, according to the 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring system, the score is finally dropped to eighth place, and the fastest lap points are awarded to the top 10 competitors.

The F2 weekend’s featured race “should be equal to the minimum number of complete laps over a distance of 170km (140km in Monaco, 160km in Budapest)”. It features mandatory pit stops where drivers must use both primary and optional compounds during the race. If a driver pits before completing the sixth lap, the mandatory stop does not count. This information is also not recorded if a driver stops under the Virtual Safety Car unless they are already in the pits when the VSC is triggered.

F2 attempted three weekend races in 2021, but the practice was generally unpopular and canceled for 2022 due to gaps left on the calendar. Prior to this, the main race was held on Saturday, and the starting position of the sprint race was determined by the results and the reversal of the top eight.

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