IndyCar’s season-opening race in St Petersburg yesterday featured 366 overtaking moves according to the championship, a figure which dwarfs the total seen in a typical F1 race.
Sunday’s race was the first for the IndyCar’s new, lower-downforce aero kit on its standard-specification Dallara DW12 chassis. The series credited the new design for producing a lively race.
“The new car produced incredible racing throughout the field, as there were a record 366 on-track passes to break the old race record of 323 set in 2008,” said the championship in a statement. Yesterday’s raced was run in dry conditions whereas the 2008 race was affected by rain.
Last year Formula One saw an average of 21.75 passes per race and a total of 435 for the entire season according to data published by Pirelli.
Part of the difference between the two figures arises from the different approaches taken in counting the number of overtaking moves.
IndyCar told RaceFans it counts a pass as “an overtake made on the racing circuit” which “includes position passes, overtaking made when a car is lapped or unlaps itself and on the opening lap.” The figure counts all passes made under green flag conditions on every lap of the race but not those where a car had pitted or retired from the event due to contact or technical failure.
F1’s official tyre supplier defined an overtaking move as “one that takes place during complete flying laps (so not on the opening lap) and is then maintained all the way to the lap’s finish line” and did not include position changes due to major mechanical problems, lapping and un-lapping.
There were 24 cars on the grid for yesterday’s IndyCar race, four more than there was in F1 last year. Overtaking fell 47% year-on-year in F1 last season, a change which was widely blamed on new regulations which led to higher-downforce cars.
The first IndyCar race of 2018 was won by Sebastien Bourdais after long-time leader Robert Wickens was eliminated in a crash on the penultimate lap of the race. Wickens led 69 laps of the 110-lap race.
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