To the untrained eyes, the two types of race cars are cut from the same cloth, as both are open-wheel single-seaters riddled with oddly shaped bodywork that generates downforce. Underneath the skin, however, the two are entirely different beasts.
F1 racers are driven by hybrid power units that can produce upwards of 900 horsepower — though not in Alonso’s MCL32 — whereas IndyCars are more “raw,” as Alonso put it, with twin-turbo V-8s that are dialed down to roughly 550 horsepower for the Indy 500. The differences go well beyond their engines, though, as F1 is as much a race between engineers as it is between drivers.
Motorsport.tv posted an interactive 3-D rendering Monday of the No. 29 Honda that Alonso will pilot at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that walks you through the various points of differentiation between the two types of single-seaters.
One noticeable omission from Motorsport.tv’s graphic is the fact that IndyCars have on-board airjacks that lift the car at a touch of a button during pit stops. In F1, two jackmen are waiting to lift the cars up as soon as they enter their designated pit boxes.
Some people might like to debate about whether F1 or IndyCar is superior, but this proves that’s like comparing apples to oranges — no pun intended. Many of the things that make the two types of race cars unique are designed to suit their respective series, but if you put an F1 car on an oval, or an IndyCar on the streets of Monaco, they each would be out of their depths.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images