IndyCar pretending to be F1?

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Jonathan at Sports Rubbish has spotted what looks like some downright cheeky behaviour on the part of Indy Racing League broadcaster Versus – and it’s happening on this very site.

Versus seem to be running Google ads using the keyword ‘Formula 1’ directing people to its coverage of the first round of the 2009 IRL season in Miami, Florida this weekend.

Jonathan notes:

There are so many mistakes with this ad that one has to wonder if Versus is staffed by chimpanzees.

First, there is the obvious fact that Formula One is not IndyCar.

Second, ??streets?? does not contain 3 instances of the letter ??E.??

Third, St. Petersburg is not spelled ??St. Petersburgh.??

Jonathan spotted one of the ads here on F1 Fanatic.

I like IndyCar a lot and I’ll be watching the race but what a damning indictment of its popularity when its American broadcaster is trying to sucker people in by pretending it’s Formula 1?

You can read more of my thoughts on IndyCar on my other site, Maximum Motorsport.

Thanks to Jonathan for the tip!

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “IndyCar pretending to be F1?”

  1. The IRL isn’t worth the electrons this article is printed on. A dead series since 1995.

    1. no argument here

  2. Is that a legal infraction?

    It should say something like : The closest you’ll come to F1 in America – Thanks, in part, to IRL owner Tony George.

    Watching an Indy Car oval race is torturous. I hope it dies and the spirit of champ car rises through its ashes.

    1. If cars going 200MPH inches apart from each other isn’t exciting to watch, then I have no idea what is. Just watch the race in Texas on June 5th and you will have to remind yourself to take a breath.

  3. What fully discredits IndyCar is the level to which they go to market Danica Patrick, who is the most overrated racing driver in the world today. She is a below-average talent in the IndyCar series- perhaps even the least talented of all of them- and yet she’s treated as if she has all this immense talent. The fact her name is even mentioned for the USGPE seat is a mockery. Words cannot express my level of disdain for her utter lack of talent, for which the English language currently lacks the proper words to describe. She is simply horrid to watch on the track.

    1. Can’t disagree here. Four years in a spec series and a single victory.

    2. She won in Motegi last year

  4. I will be at the St Pete race on Sunday, and I can tell you from good experience that the event is not that well attended. $40 to get into the circuit is not a great deal of money, pretty much highlighting perfectly the lean times open wheel racing is going through at the moment in the United States.
    We do a good job at times lambasting F1 for all of its faults but it is a hugely popular racing series, ‘the’ most popular one globally.
    As for Danica Patrick, you cannot blame Tony George and others for the hype that surrounds this young woman.
    Since her breakthrough performance back at the Indy 500 four years ago she has been one of Indycar’s biggest selling points.
    Does this make her a worldclass driver? To be brutally honest I would have to agree with alot of the other comments so far on this subject. A good example is Sebastien Bourdais. Four times Champcar champion, without question one of the most dominant drivers in American open wheel racing, yet has really struggled in Formula One.
    Sure enough Bourdais has driven for a Toro Rosso team still in its learning faze, but lets just remember that this is a four times champion we are talking about.
    The Indycar series really has its back against the wall in America, NASCAR has pretty much eaten away at alot of the sports core fanbase. The IRL drivers, Patrick excluded, are far less visable and attainable than those running in NASCAR.
    I would find it amusing to watch Scott Dixon doing a commercial for Big Red chewing gum, like Montoya did last year, or Weldon hammering in nails like Jimmie Johnson does for his Lowes DIY commercials. As cheesy and as corny as that sounds, exposure is what attracts people in the end.
    I find the IRLs attempt to hide in F1s shadow a compliment, and a sad indication into how far the Indy Racing League is lagging behind its rivals.

    1. Robert Dornbos in the minardi teams first year also almost beat Bourdais for the championship a couple years back…Robert was test driver for redbull.

    2. yeah a 4 time champion beaten by a cheerful german youngster named sebastien vettel, who has a bright future in f1 since he showed his talent last season up to now. go figure

  5. Eh. I enjoy IndyCar about like I enjoy GP2. The 500 is fun just because the history and how excited most people are about it. I like Long Beach too – that used to be a Grand Prix race.

    When it comes to the advertisements, I think that is fairly common. Louis Vitton (how do you spell that?) is suing Google for selling the name to people for Google ads selling fake bags and such. Advertisers try to catch people looking for similar items: F1 and IndyCar are both open wheel series, for instance.

  6. people complain about this years f1 cars, have a look at IRL’s cars, fn atrocious.

  7. Sad attempt by Verses – assuming they are officially behind it- to prop up their viewership of IndyCar. I was suprised when they got the IndyCar contract to begin with last year, as this was very much a step back from the ESPN deal that I am 99% sure IndyCar ran with last year.

    The new-look IndyCar series is a decent series, but it’s far from the popularity level of either F1 or NASCAR over here. Some unknowing fans may confuse IndyCar with F1, but for any real American gearhead (or “petrolhead” for some of you across the pond) F1 reigns supreme in terms of open-wheel series.

    As for Danica, IndyCar is the perfect outlet for her because she can be a big star in a semi-mainstream sport, maximising sponsorship and publicity chances while not being exposed as a poor driver. If she ever tried to move to F1 or NASCAR(another much-rumoured move) she’d be exposed for the low-talent backmarker she is.

    1. I agree about the Danica remarks. She is amazingly talented for a female driver. But that wont get u far in F1.
      Take a look at all the superstar CART drivers who went to F1 and failed and or were fired by their F1 teams. Cristiano de Matta, Zanardi, Michael Andretti. Even Juan Pablo Montoya didnt exactly live up to expectations. I doubt anyone would say Danica is more talented then the drivers I just listed. She would have to be more talented then those guys to make it in F1.

  8. “If she ever tried to move to F1 or NASCAR(another much-rumoured move) she’d be exposed for the low-talent backmarker she is.”

    Careful what you write about the princess Gman, you may invoke the wrath of the US PC police. But I couldn’t agree with you more on the talent assessment.

    On the other hand when struggling to keep a series alive one tends to grasp at whatever marketing opportunities present themselves. TG painted himself into this corner, and the sinking economy has made it even smaller. I hope the series survives and this year may be the ultimate test.

  9. Umm, in America, advertising as F1 would hurt you, not help. Given the multiple errors in this ad, I doubt Versus is trying to sucker anyone into anything–it’s probably just ignorance from some low-paid staffer who was assigned to write the coffee. Even self-described race fans in America are often not exactly clear on what F1 is. I have relatives in Texas who live near Texas Motor Speedway and go to every Nascar race and every IndyCar race and are quite knowledgeable about those series–yet when they told me the story of Champ Car’s aborted attempt to run a race there, they thought it was F1.

    1. Whoops, that’s “copy”, not “coffee.” Talk about a freudian slip! I’m tired after staying up for Malaysia. :D

  10. Who watches indycar??

  11. First of all Oval racing in “ANY” form is kinda boring. Yes the speeds are even higher, but who cares? The whole spirt of open wheel racing is ‘road racing’. Where a driver has to use more skills then just turning left and knowing how to draft. If u want to watch cars run around a big oval you may as well just watch nascar.

  12. For all your lambasting of Danica Patrick, please remember that there are no women racers in F1, and it looks as if Bernie will continue to have his way and there will none in the forseeable future either.
    Be glad that Danica is there to be used to promote the sport in America and promote the women drivers too.
    There are good women drivers here in Europe, but until one of them is allowed even to test an F1 car, be happy you have Danica to moan about!

    1. I must agree that F1 is about as male dominated a sport can get. With a few forgettable exceptions over the years.
      But I don’t know of any actual rules that disallow female competitors. In principal the opportunity is there if not the support of people that call the shots.
      To my knowledge the only motorsport that genuinely and consistently has female competitors on the same level as male competitors is drag racing. (A notable exception being Michèle Mouton, almost WRC in 1982.)
      Drag racing as ultra extreme as it is does not however appear to be a very physically demanding. 65yr+ old ‘pilots’ often maintaining success.
      F1 as we know is a very physical experience – maybe this is a reason for the lack of women in the sport?

  13. One thing they do have over F1 is some of the coverage. They broadcast up to 1080p at real 60fps and that looks damn nice indeed!
    Really sad that F1 does not broadcast in HD in this day and age.

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