Before we go any further in this, let us deal with the obvious point. Yes, IndyCars are undoubtedly slower than Formula 1 cars. That’s just a fact. IndyCar budgets are far lower, IndyCars are spec-chassis with very little room for team experimentation and F1 cars are honed in the heat of competition.
Video: Are IndyCars actually cooler than F1?
But does that mean that F1 cars are cooler than IndyCars? We’re not so sure. Here is a comparison between Lewis Hamilton’s F1 pole lap in 2018, and an onboard run with Graham Rahal in his Dallara DW12 the following year, when IndyCar made its debut at the Circuit of the Americas.
While Hamilton is much, much faster – he’s several seconds clear after a few corners – what is also clear is that Rahal is having to work much harder for his lap time.
The Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 car looks absolutely nailed to COTA’s sometimes questionable tarmac, while the DW12, well, does not. So while Lewis is definitely going to produce much better lap times, Graham is probably having more fun.
Rahal is also allowed to be a bit more liberal with his lines than Hamilton, with the IndyCars completely ignoring the outside of the penultimate turn and using the run off for extra speed.
So the question here is simple, are IndyCars, which are more spectacular, free-er from discussions on track limits, and possibly a bit more of a challenge to the driver, actually cooler than Formula 1 cars?
We’ll let you decide.
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