Indycar released a conceptual model of their 2018 car today, and it looks good.
On top of scrapping the individual engine manufacturer-designed aero kits, the series is going with a drastically different look: a shorter nose, narrower and shorter front wings, lower and wider rear wings and no more clunky rear bumper pods. There are also changes coming to the sidepods to increase safety in side impacts.
This car looks cool.
In an article posted today, Indycar president Jay Frye and aerodynamicist Tino Belli note that the focus of this redesign was improving aerodynamics – reducing the amount of turbulent air that an Indycar leaves in its wake to improve racing and passing.
Meanwhile, in F1…
The new regulations for 2017 in F1 have an entirely different focus: wider, meaner-looking, quicker cars. Wider tires, MORE aero pieces, cars that are harder to drive, that corner faster, higher g-forces with seconds shaved off every race lap.
And they’ve already brought us a race with one. Single. Pass.
Sergio Perez mentioned after the past weekend’s race in Melbourne that the dirty, turbulent air, which in prior seasons meant that you could follow another car at about a 1.5 seconds distance, required about a 2 seconds distance in Melbourne. Considering that the overtake assist, DRS, only kicks in when a driver is following a car at a gap of less than one second, this leads to the conclusion that overtaking is now even more difficult than in prior years.
Even the drivers in the top two teams, Ferrari and Mercedes, did not complete a single pass. Granted, Melbourne is difficult enough to overtake at, but that shouldn’t be a reasonable excuse. The only successfully completed on-track pass was between two slower teams and a McLaren, a car incredibly down on power.
YouTube: F1 2017 AUSTRALIAN GP BEST OVERTAKE!!! ALONSO VS OCON VS HULKENBERG
What does it say when your fastest cars can’t even get close enough to each other to make a pass?
The fact that Indycar’s single aero kit and F1’s “formula” rules that necessitate each team to construct their own aero kits aside are different are not enough of a factor in this argument; if F1 revamped their formula to prioritize racing instead of generating monstrous amounts of speed and dirty air, the races might actually be more interesting. We already know that Monaco and Baku are the calendar’s yearly parades; barring rain, most of the rest of the races look to be shaping up that way as well, especially in the front.
While speed and incredible amounts of downforce in the corners make for a really cool single-lap effort, it really doesn’t make for very exciting racing. F1 will always have a very strong core of die-hard fans, but with the growth of the sport slowing, a good idea might be to look to their racing cousins in Indianapolis.
Indycar’s rebound from the CART split years has trended very nicely in the right direction the last few seasons. A focus on car to car racing and sleek design is the future; racing must remain a sport, a competition between drivers, not simply a display of raw speed and power, in order to retain fans and continue growth.
Indycar gets it; will F1, ever?