Should IndyCar stay a spec series?

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    IndyCar’s new aero kit was widely credited for producing a lively season-opening race at St Petersburg. It certainly looks the part too.

    Is that it for IndyCar? Should it relation a spec series like F2 and so many other championships? Can it afford to let its competitors enter a development contest?

    Give your thoughts on the future of the championship below.


    I think they should most of the car spec, but open up some places for engineers to try and find performance ie allow them to try out new front wings within a set regulations.


    I have no problems with Indycar being a spec series. Technical development is not why I love Indycar. All that I want is open and exciting races. In my experience open technical regulations don’t contribute to this in any way and are more likely to have a detrimental effect on competitive racing as one team is always likely to steal a march on the others.
    There have been golden periods in F1 history when several teams have been competitive at the same time but usually one team is out front and the rest are fighting for scraps.
    In short, yes, very much so.


    Absolutely no problem with Indycar being a spec series (although it’s technically not, with two different engine manufacturers).

    I really really annoys me when people dismiss spec series because there is no engineering involved. They couldn’t be more wrong.

    Here’s how I see it:

    F1 is mainly a technology and design contest. Human factors, like driver skill/style and hands-on engineering, are basically unfortunate random variables for the designers in the factories. The cars themselves are designed to work out of the box in perfect conditions, while at the track there is relatively little actual engineering besides basic setup changes to suit the local conditions and driver feedback (tyre pressures, springs, minor downforce adjustments). Driver skill might be the main differentiator between teammates in the same car, but otherwise the results are decided by the work in the factories. With luck, some teams may produce cars at similar performance levels, but even then it is rare that the drivers and engineers at the track can “outperform” the inherent performance of the car provided by the factory.

    Indycar (as an example of “spec” series but could equally apply to others like F2, Formula E, Touring Cars etc) is mainly an engineering exercise where human factors are front and centre. Every team is given the same machine, and the engineers have to work with the drivers to setup and pilot that machine in the optimum way to win a race. Setup at the track and the skills of the driver (both on the track and their technical feedback) are everything.

    How often do we see running repairs in F1? A front wing may be changed, but anything more than that will almost certainly see a factory order the race team to retire the car completely. Even a minor gearbox or engine glitch will almost inevitably see cars hauled off the track to save mileage and exploit the loophole giving them a new gearbox for the next race. How often do we see cars retired without any explanation whatsoever? Any repairs that do take place, are behind closed doors.

    Compare that to Indycar where pitstops happen completely outside of the garages, and even if cars get taken back into the paddock for repairs cameras will follow. Both the close racing and the points system will encourage teams to actually repair the cars – but really this is what I consider proper “engineering”. I recall Will Power’s team basically stripping his car down during an oval race a few years back to try to get him back out on track, and Joseph Newgarden’s team basically taking a big hammer to a track rod after his Watkins Glenn accident.

    Frankly, the amounts spent in F1 are obscene. And for what? Ugly cars and awful, processional races? But it’s F1, it’s the pinnacle, so I guess for some people it HAS to be better than everything else. I was a strictly F1-only motorsport fan for years, but now I’m more than happy to admit that I’m looking forward to some brilliant spec series racing in the next few weeks at Punte Del Este, Phoenix and Brands Hatch much more than I am about watching another Mercedes 1-2 in Melbourne.

    PS I’m sure I’m going to be proved wrong about the Australia GP result – my prediction championship record is atrocious :(

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