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