Here are the key differences between F1 and IndyCar

Formula One's Max Verstappen (top); IndyCar's Marcus Ericsson
Formula One's Max Verstappen (top); IndyCar's Marcus Ericsson

Formula One and IndyCar are the highest levels of open-wheel racing in the world. F1 competes worldwide, and IndyCar competes in North America.

The 2023 IndyCar schedule includes 17 races, starting on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., in March, and finishing at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sept. 10. Races are run on downtown streets, road courses and oval speedways.

The 2023 F1 schedule includes 23 races in 20 nations/principalities, starting with the Bahrain Grand Prix in March and finishing with the Abu Dahbi GP in November. Most races are on road courses, though some are on downtown streets (Monaco, Las Vegas). F1's increased popularity in the United States is evidenced by three races in 2023: in Miami on May 7; Austin, Texas, on Oct. 22, and Las Vegas, on Nov. 18.


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When is the Indy 500?

The 200-lap race on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval is scheduled for Sunday, May 28, 2023. That's the same day of F1's premier race of the season, on the streets of Monaco.

Can IndyCar drivers go to F1?

Several current IndyCar drivers previously raced in F1 ‒ including Indy 500 champions Takuma Sato, Alexander Rossi, Marcus Ericsson, as well as Romain Grosjean. It hasn't worked the other way around recently, though Alex Palou, Colton Herta and Pato O'Ward are eager to try.

IndyCar drivers Marcus Armstrong, Callum Ilott and Christian Lundgaard have raced in F2, one level down from F1.

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IndyCar vs. F1 salary

IndyStar reported in 2021 that 2009 Indianapolis 500 champion Scott Dixon had a salary in the $3.5 million-$4.5 million range, the highest in the series at the time. A more common pay structure among the series' drivers is that they must bring millions of dollars of sponsorship to their team, and they get a cut of it, and they could get performance bonuses.

USA Today reported that 2023 F1 driver salaries range from $1 million to Max Verstappen's $55 million.

IndyCar vs. F1 popularity

NBC Sports, IndyCar's flagship network, reported that races averaged 1.3 million viewers in 2022, with the Indianapolis 500 drawing 4.8 million.

ESPN reported that F1 averaged of 1.21 million viewers per race in the United States in 2022, up 28% from the previous year. F1 reported a global average of 70.3 million viewers per race in 2021.

IndyCar vs. F1 car size

IndyCar dimensions: 1,590-1,630 pounds, depending on track (lightest on speedways); about 40 inches tall; about 76 inches wide; tires are 15 inches in diameter. IndyCar machines use E85 fuel (85% ethanol) and a tank holds 18.5 gallons.

F1 car dimensions: Minimum weight 1,759 pounds; about 37 inches tall; about 78 inches wide; tires are 18 inches in diameter. F1 cars use fuel with 10% ethanol and a tank holds 28.6 gallons.

Are Indy cars faster than F1?

An IndyCar machine produces 550-700 horsepower, with a top speed over 240 mph on the straightaways at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Scott Dixon's pole qualifying speed for the 2022 Indy 500 was 234.036 mph over 4 laps on the 2.5-mile oval. Cars go from 0-200 mph in about 8 seconds.

F1 cars can produce 1,000 horsepower. Kevin Magnussen ran F1's top speed in 2022, hitting 218.5 mph in a qualifying session. F1 cars can top 220 mph, but rarely hit that because the races are on road or downtown street courses that rarely have long straightaways. Cars go from 0-200 mph in about 4 seconds.

IndyCar vs. F1 costs

IndyCar programs can run up to $10 million per car. The series has two engine manufacturers (Honda and Chevrolet) and one chassis maker (Dallara). F1 has a cost ceiling of $135 million per two-car team per year, but those teams make, develop and test their machines.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: IndyCar vs. Formula One: Drivers, car size, salary, popularity, costs