Start, IndyCar, 2021

F1 is impressive but IndyCar is more of a driver’s championship – Newgarden


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Two-times IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden says Formula 1 doesn’t appeal as strongly to him as it did earlier in his career.

Newgarden briefly raced in Europe before returning to the USA in 2011. He won the Indy Lights championship that year and graduated to IndyCar immediately afterwards.

Since then he has won 20 races and two championships in the series. Last year he finished runner-up for the second season in a row. The 31-year-old retains a respect for Formula 1 but says he is more excited by the standard of competition in IndyCar racing.

“For me the allure of F1 is the gravity of the cars,” said Newgarden. “When I think of F1, I think about a manufacturer’s championship and trying to build the quickest cars that you can within a reasonable – or I should say an unreasonable – budget. That’s what was exciting about it.

“But the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve been in racing and watched Formula 1, I don’t know that it’s somewhere I really want to race. It doesn’t look as much of a driver’s championship to me.

“It’s a very impressive championship, it always has been. It’s something I would certainly like to do, I’d like to drive everything that I could do to have the experience and then I’d have more first-hand knowledge to really speak on it. But I think IndyCar is really where you’re going to get the most competitive product as a racing driver.”

IndyCar has seen an influx of prominent drivers from F1 and F2 in the past two seasons, including Romain Grosjean, Callum Ilott and Christian Lundgaard who will all race in the series full-time this year. Kevin Magnussen also made a one-off appearance in the series as a substitute and Nico Hulkenberg tested for McLaren SP during 2021.

F1’s last American driver also races in IndyCar now
Newgarden says part of the series’ appeal is the greater opportunity for success. Nine different drivers won IndyCar’s 16 races last year, while F1’s 22 rounds produced six different winners, which is the most it’s seen since 2012.

“When you’re a driver at the top level, you want to have an opportunity to compete, to win the championship and to win big races regardless of your situation,” said Newgarden. “And I think unfortunately, that’s not present in Formula 1. So from that standpoint, it’s not as appealing.”

F1 hasn’t had an American driver in the series since Alexander Rossi in 2015. While Newgarden wouldn’t pass up the opportunity, he’s eager to help IndyCar grow in popularity.

“I’d never say never on anything, you just never know how this stuff shifts,” he said. “But for me IndyCar is my life.

“It’s a championship I care about more than any in the world. And I want to see it flourish because it really deserves a lot of recognition, I think, for the incredible championship it is.”

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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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57 comments on “F1 is impressive but IndyCar is more of a driver’s championship – Newgarden”

  1. He is right.
    But then again, the football league isn’t a footballer’s championship either; it’s about the teams.
    All team sports are more than an athlete’s sport.

    1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      1st February 2022, 8:45

      The problem is football doesn’t have a world champion football player. F1 does have a world champion driver and
      if the FIA wants it to have more legitimacy, then the driver should make more of a difference than they currently do.

      What percentage of the lap time is down to the driver?

      It depends on the circumstances, but I think its generally about 99% car, 1% driver. So putting some figures to that, if two drivers in the same car are separated by 0.75 seconds over a 75 second lap that’s 1%. I think 0.75 seconds in those circumstances we would think of as enormous. Like a pay driver versus one of the best.

      So are my figures right? Is it 99% a team sport? Is it fair to give the drivers world championship to someone who makes only 1% of the difference in speed?

      I’m sure there is loads I haven’t thought of, but it just seems wrong.

      I’d like to see the drive make at least 10% of the difference in lap time. What do you think?

      1. A more realistic approach is 25% chassis/aero, 25%engine, 25%tires, 25%driver.
        All figures are quite close, so a difference in one of the parameters makes a lot of difference on track.

      2. Legitimacy is a bit of a loose word nowadays. F1 is by far the most popular motorsport in the world. The reason it is partly because of the importance of the machinery. It helps construct a very enthralling narrative… a narrative the sport desperately needs to survive. IndyCar is less enthralling in that regard. There was no Max Vs Lewis story line. Spec racing concepts tend to do this. (tho Indycar has diff engine manufacturers, thankfully).

        Lewis is a 7x World Champion, in part, because he has had access to some of the best cars on the grid. That doesn’t make him less of a driver. It means that he is a hugely valuable driver and asset to teams and the best teams tend to want the best drivers. That’s the weird dynamic that makes motorsport actually interesting to watch.

        World Drivers Champion may seem like a strange concept due tot he car’s influence, but it works within F1’s dynamic. It’s what makes motorsport interesting not less legitimate.

        1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
          1st February 2022, 15:19

          I wasn’t saying it makes motorsport less legitimate, I was saying it makes the claim that the F1 championship winner driver should be called the World Champion Driver less legitimate. Particularly if my estimate of a 1% effect on lap time is correct.

          All I’m saying is the driver should make more of a difference. You can disagree that’s fine. We all want different things from F1.

          Last season we only had six different winners and only 2 drivers won more than one race. It’s a shame and it doesn’t have to be that way.

        2. Alan, sorry, but most of your comment is just nonsense. No, it’s entirely nonsense.

          “F1 is by far the most popular motorsport in the world. The reason it is partly because of the importance of the machinery.”
          – No, that’s such a random statement. Most sports in the world don’t have any machinery at all. F1 is not a public participation sport, unlike regular sports (i.e. people can’t “do F1”), it’s a viewing sport. And you watch what is being shoven to your face by the media. In the US you watch baseball, in Pakistan you watch cricket, in Canada you watch ice-hockey, and in most places in the world you watch football and F1.
          You can make any motorsport convention/paradigm popular with money and marketing, and no convention is superior to another. Nascar is a polar opposite to F1 in every regard and is super successful.

          “It helps construct a very enthralling narrative… a narrative the sport desperately needs to survive. IndyCar is less enthralling in that regard. There was no Max Vs Lewis story line.”
          – Was there a Max vs Lewis story line last year in F1?!? There was none. You’re at this point forcing random statements to fit your argument.
          There could’ve been the most epic narrative ever in the Brazilian Touring Car Championship this year, but unless a huge rich marketing machine shoves it into your face, you won’t know anything about it, and you won’t care in the process either, obviously.

          “Spec racing concepts tend to do this. (tho Indycar has diff engine manufacturers, thankfully).”
          – See above. Another one of your totally random made-up assumptions.

      3. The problem is football doesn’t have a world champion football player.

        Yes it does.
        Every game has a ‘Man of the Match’ (which is official)
        And at the end of the season there is the Ballon D’Or (organised by a publication – not sure if FIFA/UEFA has something similar)

        PS I don’t think it is (anywhere close to) 99%/1%.
        If so then Perez would in 99% of the races be directly behind Verstappen.

        1. Nah, those are choice awards, that’s something entirely different. In F1 you don’t win by gaining votes from journalists and/or the audience.

          1. I understand that in F1 it’s chosen by Masi.

            Too soon?

      4. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk I have read the post below as well.
        Sorry for the confusion I always look at F1 from the start of Grand Prix racing which I know is probably not correct because yes F1 started in 1950.
        But even after that Fangio who is still arguably the GOAT had no issue moving from team to team to make sure he always had a winning car. The ability to build the best car has always been the primary goal, it is the core competition in my opinion.
        I think the very best drivers do make more than the 1% you suggest Hamilton/Bottas, Russell/Latifi for example. I think we are very lucky at the moment to have several teams with drivers of equal or near, as teammates this season. So fingers crossed we will see some brilliant wheel to wheel inter-team racing as well as strong team to team contests.
        I firmly believe the F1 World Drivers Championship is the most prestigious drivers championship by quite a margin. And no other road racing series can boast such competitive manufacturers competition at the moment.

        1. In the end it is probably more like horse racing.
          The best teams/owners can pick the best drivers/jockeys, and vice versa.

      5. I think you’re diminishing the skill of F1 drivers. Sure the difference between top F1 drivers might be measured in tiny fractions but don’t forget just how insanely difficult it is to drive these things flat chat. I know my brain can’t cope with much more than 100kph in a go kart…

        1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
          1st February 2022, 15:06

          I don’t think I am. I understand how insanely difficult it is. I have some first hand knowledge. I wasn’t good enough to make the jump from FF1600 to F3.

          I’m saying as brilliant as these drivers are, they the best in the world, yet the best of them cannot go faster than a mediocre one who has a better car and that’s shame.

          1. But that’s always been the case. If you’re in a mediocre car, you can still put in great performances and people will notice. That’s how you land race winning cars. Kimi to McLaren, Fernando to Renault and Russell to Mercedes are obvious examples. And having race- winning machinery doesn’t guarantee wins. The biggest issue I see preventing more winners is the longevity of driver careers these days.

          2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
            2nd February 2022, 8:11

            Yes its always been the case, but its a sliding scale, in my opinion the driver does not make enough of a difference. There are times in the past were I would estimate the driver made 5% of a difference rather than the current 1%.

    2. You totally confuse concepts here:
      “But then again, the football league isn’t a footballer’s championship either; it’s about the teams.”

      Football is not an individual sport. The footballers are teams, teams are the footballers. So it IS about the footballers and the team they constitute.
      Football matches are won by the best teams of football players, not by supreme technology of the shoes one team is wearing.

      1. think again who confuses the concept.
        In football it is not only the 11 (wo)men on the pitch but the whole ‘team’ including the other listed players and the coach.
        In F1 the team more than the 1 (wo)man who steers the car.

        The last comment is correct, but proves my point even more: it’s more than the person(s) actively participating in the march/race that determines who wins. Hence a team sport.

  2. I expect his comments will fall on (willingly) deaf ears here, but he’s absolutely right.
    “But F1 is a team sport” I hear you say. Well, that’s great, but drivers deserve career satisfaction too. There is apparently a WDC here, if anyone remembers (not that it means much) – but so few get a real, fair shot at it…..

    There are a lot of drivers who don’t want to race in F1 for the reasons Newgarden mentions – especially those who have found success in other top-level series already.
    F1 is for designers, engineers, accountants and marketing staff.
    Drivers and motorsports enthusiasts get their kicks elsewhere.

    1. Verstappen and Redbull seemed to be quite satisfied with the WDC.

      F1 is for designers, engineers, accountants and marketing staff

      Of course, you won’t find any of those outside of F1 :))

      1. My guess is that every driver and team will be satisfied with the WDC ; -)

      2. Sure @johnrkh. The WDC is a great marketing opportunity as well as being a sign of success.

        Of course, you won’t find any of those outside of F1 :))

        Of course we do, but they are doing different things outside of F1, and for different reasons.

    2. Drivers and motorsports enthusiasts get their kicks elsewhere.

      Quite the opposite for ‘motorsports enthusiasts’ I’d say.
      We like the whole motoring and engineering complexity, which is much more than the skill of an individual driver.

      PS I’ve often argued that the main championship should be the WDC. I would have a podium after each race with the top three teams and a small side podium for the driver who won.

      1. *should be the WCC

        1. Depends on exactly what you are enthused about, I guess.
          I don’t get my motoring, engineering or sporting jollies from F1, personally. There are other things that better address each of those aspects.
          F1’s just a bit of entertainment on a weekend.

          We like the whole motoring and engineering complexity, which is much more than the skill of an individual driver.

          Not more or less – just different. The driver gets just one chance for each of their millions of decisions made during a 2 hour race. The (huge) teams, on the other hand, have months and months to go over every idea and concept dozens, even hundreds, of times using computer and mechanical assistance before they are satisfied with it and progress it to the next stage of production. Any part or system they create has to be of very high quality, but then they have a lot of time and resources to get it there – and even get the opportunity to completely start over from scratch without consequence, if necessary.
          No driver gets that luxury… Get it even slightly wrong just once, and their race is over – and the car may be destroyed along with it.

          I think the WDC should be removed from F1 entirely, personally. It’s useless and wrong.

          1. Not more or less – just different.

            Fair point – agree.

            I do get my kicks from F1; both the technical and the sporting part. But I’m also interested in all kinds of related scientific and engineering developments.
            One of my latest interests is the Omega 1 PU (

      2. PS I’ve often argued that the main championship should be the WDC. I would have a podium after each race with the top three teams and a small side podium for the driver who won.

        It is the strange dichotomy of F1: It is a team sport, and the two drivers for one team are team mates, but they are competing against each other for their own position in the most prestigious championship of the competition. Your team mate is often your biggest rival, and the team often prioritises the needs of one driver over the other, or even over those of the team.

        1. @drmouse Indeed. It’s a strange way to structure a sport, but sounds like a great formula for a reality TV show!

        2. @drmouse True about prioritizing the needs of one driver over another, but that usually happens to the drivers on the teams that are actually in the Championship fights, because the teams that are not need not do that and would be fine with both their drivers pushing each other (as long as it is not off the track;), which should theoretically advance the car and team, and it would not be like there would be a concern of one driver robbing points from his teammate who has a title shot, if they are only fighting for Constructors position and not either title. That’s what is interesting at the start of the season. Both drivers of all teams start on theoretical ground zero and have an equal chance to be the prioritized driver if it is to come to that, and of course so much depends on what the competition is doing too.

          Related, but as an aside, I like the concept of teams having both their cars painted differently such as has happened in the past. The last team to try it was BAR who ended up with their zipper car instead, when they were denied having one car in the Lucky Strike paint scheme, and the other in the 555 livery. An interesting side effect of that concept can be that if a team were to have two major sponsors, and each sponsor’s car was painted differently, that would theoretically reduce the chances that a team would hang one driver/major sponsor out to dry while favouring the other driver/major sponsor. Sure at some point a team in title contention would likely have to make that prudent decision, but generally there might be less favouritism going on with more teams for more time if they were allowed two differently marked cars. But of course even though it was allowed in the past, more currently it has been deemed too confusing for fans to understand or adapt to, just as they decided drivers couldn’t even change their helmets for the same reason.

    3. @S

      but drivers deserve career satisfaction too.

      No, they don’t. We are not obliged to let Lance Stroll win a championship so he’ll have career satisfaction. Besides, the entire idea that career satisfaction requires a (specific) championship is subjective.

      In any case, this career satisfaction detracts from the career satisfaction of the designers and such. Why don’t they deserve career satisfaction? Because you don’t see them on TV, so you lack empathy due to their invisibility to you?

  3. I think the two series are quite different, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I like IndyCar for all the things F1 isn’t – rolling starts, varied circuits (including ovals), a more complex strategic element. But I wouldn’t necessarily want F1 to adopt those things, just as I wouldn’t want IndyCar to ditch the ovals and refuelling.

    That’s why I think the calls to offer more superlicence points to IndyCar winners is a bit misguided. It is not, and will never be, a stepping stone to F1, but should be considered a top-tier category in its own right.

    1. Agreed. They are the top two forms of racing on the planet IMHO (history, drivers, tracks, quality of racing), and I’m very glad they have the differences they do. F1 certainly pushes the mfg & engineering aspects, IndyCar leans more towards a drivers championship.

    2. @red-andy I agree too, though I think the calls for more superlicence points are less about turning IndyCar into an F1 feeder series and more grounded in a sense that reciprocity between the top-tier series is lacking. After all, a middling F1 driver is unquestionably eligible for an IndyCar licence, despite having no oval experience.

  4. It never ceases to puzzle me as to why people start watching F1 knowing it’s primarily a constructors championship, then complain about it primarily being a constructors championship.
    Also, anyone who has paid attention has noticed that an ex WDC moving to another type of Motor Racing more often than not is very successful. It’s not all that comment the other way around, that surely tells people something of the level of talent on an F1 grid.

    1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      1st February 2022, 8:54

      F1 started as a drivers championship, not a team one. I started watching in 1975 and I can tell you the driver had more more of an effect on the lap time, and it wouldn’t be a bad thing if they did now (See my post above).

      Its a shame how F1 claims to have the best drivers in the world, but we can rarely see them go head to head on an equal footing.

      I’m not saying F1 should be more like Indycar, but if F1 wants to have a drivers world championship then it needs more legitimacy, perhaps a completely separate championship, or some brilliant idea that I don’t have the brains to think of.

      1. Enzo Ferrari would vehemently disagree with you.

        1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
          1st February 2022, 10:50

          The point I’m trying to make is there have been periods in F1 history where the driver made more of a difference than they do now. That’s all. Enzo would agree with me.

          1. That may be true, but the teams weren’t thinking that was the ideal. The prestige of F1, the very reason it is so popular, is because teams try to out compete each other each year. The volume of content that’s produced around this aspect of the sport is ginormous. Compare the amount of articles written about IndyCar vs F1. F1 towers over it because the media can 100s write articles about brake ducts if they wanted to, and millions consume it. With IndyCar, all of that material is of no use. There’s less to consume and enjoy. It’s like one big weird ecosystem.

            The concept of ‘the best driver’ is a bit of a moot one, especially when we limit our view to what is presented to us with F1, IndyCar etc…. I think there’s drivers at my local kart club who race KZ who are as good as a fair few F1 and F1 feeder drivers from a neurophysical talent point of view. I am being absolutely literal there. Nergarden himself wasn’t competitive against National X30 kart drivers at the SKUSA Supernats the other month. IndyCar isn’t the magic bastion of driver talent either (whatever driver talent means, its a very very complex subject :) ).

          2. @Alan Dove – Nelson Piquet said once if you bring a driver directly from karting to F1 you won’t be doing anything wrong. Of course, the driver will lack some experience here and there with race distances and another trivial things but, essentially, karting is the closer a series can get to F1: power-to-weight ratio, reactions…

            Though other series cannot be dismissed because they do bring poise to a driver’s formation, virtually any good racer is fit to drive an F1 car.

      2. The early days was only awarded drivers title cause the championship was still finding its identity. The competition side was no different to today. If you didn’t have an Alfa Romeo, you had no chance. Then if you didn’t have a Ferrari, ditto. Then Mercedes and so on. In retrospect, it was silly that they didn’t think to have a constructors championship from the start. Comparing what is effectively a spec series in IndyCar to Formula One is largely pointless.

        1. Holding a WDC in a series with vastly different car performance is largely pointless too.
          The ‘best’ driver of the season could potentially not even score points, and equally the series champion could be the worst driver of the lot.

          1. No it is not pointless at all.

            Not too long ago, driver’s development determined how far a project would go. Not idly we do have the names of Brabham, Lauda, Piquet, Prost and Schumacher among the greatest ever.

            If you ask me, making F1 just as spec as any other series is what is truly pointless. It makes way more sense to bring more outcome responsibility over the driver shoulders.

          2. I don’t think that’s true. I can’t think of a single season or scenario where the worst driver on the grid could win a world championship. Race- winning teams don’t tend to hire the worst drivers in any case.

          3. I can’t think of a single season or scenario where the worst driver on the grid could win a world championship.

            How about if they were in what was by far the best car, but their team-mate didn’t run the full season?
            Or even if the team-mate did run the full season, but was the number 2 driver due to various team politics?
            Or even if they weren’t in the fastest car, but another team was DSQ’d from the championship?

            It’s not that hard if you try @tommy-c.
            Unlikely? Sure. But possible. Absolutely.

            Race- winning teams don’t tend to hire the worst drivers in any case.

            They don’t have a monopoly on the ‘the best’ drivers either. Everyone looks better in a fast car.
            There were definitely more that two F1 drivers capable of winning the championship last year, but the rest were just in the wrong machinery.

      3. It’s a combination, and the driver has more of an effect than you give it credit for. A team will not win without having one of the top drivers, and a driver will not win without being part of one of the top teams. You can see the massive difference a driver can make in the difference between the performance of Verstappen and Perez or Hamilton and Bottas. The top drivers elevate a top car to levels that those below that top tier cannot, and so the top teams will attract the top drivers.

        Put Lewis or Max in the Haas, last year, and neither would accomplish very much, though they would probably do better than Mazepin. Put Mazepin in a Mercedes or Red Bull, and he would not achieve anywhere near what Lewis or Max did. But the best teams with the best cars will attract the best drivers, and the best drivers will attract attention from the best teams with the best cars.

  5. We could sum this up as a cultural difference between European and American motorsport philosophy. And a cultural shock for an athlete thats been brought up as an individual athlete that suddenly has joined a teamsport, where they are no longer considered the single most important person but another part in a larger operation.

  6. playstation361
    1st February 2022, 12:29

    We have to watch but things are getting better.

  7. Kimberley Barrass
    1st February 2022, 12:33

    After watching an F1 season where the two top drivers obliterated their teammates, operating at a ridiculously high level, where most people say they are both deserving of a championship – these comments seem silly..

    Yes.. It is a constructors championship – which means often the best drivers are only fighting their team mates plus one, two or occasionally three other teams worth… But those drivers who are competing amongst that bracket are the differential and they are often sublime – this often applies to Max and Lewis regardless of the differences in their driving style. Occasionally Checo, etc.

    And the fastest people tend toward being hired and seated for the fastest teams.. RBR notwithstanding..

  8. I believe what his comments meant is that today, an Indycar driver skills have more weight on driver / car combo that an the the skills of F1 driver on car / driver combo. A very good indycar driver can make more difference on a bad car than a F1 driver. This doesn’t mean it don’t happen in F1 anymore, but the influence of the driver is less and less than previous decades. Fangio had more weight in the outcome of a championship than Stewart for example, and Stewart had more weight on his championships than Prost; and the same can be said from Prost compared to Hamilton. Each of these drivers are amongst the best of all times, but for Hamilton will be much harder to collect all his championships if not in the Mercedes. If we consider that from 2007 until 2013 (7 seasons) he amassed just 1 title compared with his new hybrid era in Mercedes , we can clearly see the influence of the car is much higher as the decades went by. This is what Newgarden’s trying to imply. We can stilldrivers making the difference in F1 (ex: Russell in Spa), but normally this now only happens under freaky circumstances (ex: weather), whilst on Indycar this situations could happen more often due to greater weight a driver has on car / driver combo.

  9. Indycar may well be more of a drivers championship, But it’s drivers are often not at the level of the top guys in F1.

    F1 drivers who goto Indycar usually do well, Win races & contend for/win championships.
    Top Indycar drivers & indeed INdycar series champions who goto F1 often struggle to do much of note even when in some cases they end up in half decent equipment and/or alongside a team mate who does significantly better.

    Takuma Sato for example was a mid fielder in F1 even when he had a car in 2004 his team mate was regularly scoring podiums with. And in 2005 Sato was utterly destroyed by Button & had a simply pathetic season. Yet he goes to Indycar, Wins races, Wins Indy & is in the championship fight one year.

    Michael Andretti was one of the best drivers in CART at a time when it was full of great drivers yet he came to F1 & did nothing. Alex Zanardi was mediocre in F1, Was amazing in CART & then went back to been mediocre in F1 in 1999 in a Williams that wasn’t half bad. Montoya was a revelation in CART on his way to becoming a rookie champion & while he did OK in F1 with a dozen wins even when in what was the fastest car on the grid in the 2005 McLaren he didn’t do anywhere near as well as he did in CART.

    You put Hamilton or Verstappen in an Indycar & I think they would dominate. You put the best drivers from Indycar in the Mercedes/Red Bull in F1 I’m sure they would win races but I don’t think they would get anywhere near as much out of the car as Lewis/Max did.

    The level of talent in F1 is just that big much higher than Indycar which is why it attracts the most attention & is where the very best drivers tend to want to be & end up.

    1. And yet again, Jacques Villenevue came from CART and was immediately battling for the F1 World Championship winning on a second try.

      Montoya in a Williams was the only guy in F1 capable of mixing it with the Ferraris during the dark ages of guaranteed Schumacher-Barrichello 1-2’s.

      Michael Andretti was set up to fail, once Senna’s contract was secured (initially it was Andretti and Hakkinen who were to drive for McLaren that year) he was no longer needed and his salary was seen as a luxury since much more affordable Hakkinen was already available.

      Takuma Sato (who i love to pieces, you can’t meet a nicer guy in the paddock) has won a grand total of 6 races in his 12 seasons in IndyCar (granted, two of those were at the 500) – so on average once every two years – with best championship finish of 7th. His best F1 championship finish was 8th.

      What Newgarden is saying is if you put Hamilton and Verstappen into a Hass F1 car neither of them would be fighting for the F1 World Championship, despite being the best of the best. In F1 too much depends on car performance. Nobody is arguing that IndyCar drivers are better than Hamiltons, Verstappens and Alonsos of F1 – these guys are simply on another level – but the fact is that beyond the handful of very best in F1 the differences between F1 and IndyCar level of talent aren’t that big. A F1 backmarker pay driver (looking at you, Max Chilton) remains a backmarker pay driver in IndyCar as well, with an occasional outlier result due to much smaller differences in car performance and random luck. A proven IndyCar champion in a Championship winning capable F1 car will be at the sharp end of any F1 field too.

    2. Watch some on track Montoya at Williams v Schumi. Watch JV. Watch Nigel in both and pay attention to how he really stacked up. Mario in both. Even Grojean in both. Even watch, really, coverage from at the time of Michael Andretti, and see how A) he was setup to fail and B) he also set himself up to fail by not moving.

      You can find full races for all of this many places online.

      The net effect is I see two top level series with humans at the human limits of excellence mixing it up with no unbiased way to say one set of drivers is inherently better than the other.

  10. As if there was any motor sport series in which the car didn’t make the difference. News flash, even at go-karting the best equipment makes the winning driver when there is any shred of competition.

    Newgarden can say whatever he wants, in America they usually talk their stuff up anyway. But F1 was is the embodiment of excellence, and to be WDC a driver must be just alike, with some discrepancies reserved historically.

    1. in America they usually talk their stuff up anyway.

      Yeah. F1 would never do that, would they….

      But F1 was is the embodiment of excellence, and to be WDC a driver must be just alike, with some discrepancies reserved historically

      F1 really is nothing more than just another racing series – they just have different rules to others.
      Not better, not worse. Different.

  11. I get where Newgarden is coming from but to me he does sound a bit like someone who is never going to get an F1 shot anyway. I just think that he is speaking of an F1 that is about to be turned on it’s head as it relates to the things he is saying in the article above. I think F1 is heading toward much more of a driver vs driver series with teams closer to each other. It may take a few years yet until the effects of the budget caps and the better money distribution really kick in, but I do think Newgarden is about to have to change his mind on Indycar vs F1 at least somewhat.

    Of course to point out the obvious, and someone above may have mentioned it as I have only scanned quickly the other comments, but F1 is vastly more wealthy and popular globally than Indycar, and always has been, and there are many reasons for that beyond what each of the drivers’ chances are on average of winning.

    1. I think F1 is heading toward much more of a driver vs driver series with teams closer to each other.

      But with intentionally different machinery, F1 will never be a pure driver series in the way that Indycar can be and intends to be @robbie.

      but F1 is vastly more wealthy and popular globally than Indycar, and always has been, and there are many reasons for that beyond what each of the drivers’ chances are on average of winning.

      Yeah. One is a global world championship owned and run by the group which directly represents the interests of automotive manufacturers, while the other is essentially a privately owned domestic series….
      Bit of a difference in potential, there.

      CART started to make attempts to go global at one stage – but without the FIA’s approval and assistance, it can never really happen.
      The FIA have got their headline open wheel series and now also their complimentary electric series – they have no interest in supporting anyone else in competing within the same space as their own golden geese.

  12. Well I hope he’s right. I suspect he is to some extent, but I don’t know to what degree. I plan on watching the whole Indycar season this season having watched the Indy Lights season last season following Kyle Kirkwood’s progress from US F2000 all the way through. If it _is_ a driver’s championship then hopefully Kyle won’t be too disadvantaged by being the AJ Foyt car instead of the plum Andretti drive he deserves.

  13. IndyCar does have more opportunities to win for drivers, but at the same time the title usually goes to Ganassi or Penske. At the end of the day both series have their big teams that take the top honors.

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