IndyCar, renowned for its thrilling, down-to-the-wire races, boasts Dallara-engineered cars that are substantially uniform except for damper development and two distinct engine manufacturers. This formula often yields close competition, with the top six in shootouts on multiple road courses distinguishable by mere three-tenths of a second or less.
In a striking example, at the 2023 opener in St. Petersburg, the difference between acing the initial phase of qualifying and elimination in the group stages registered a mere three-tenth.
However, when it comes to competitiveness on race day in F1, the story is different. Red Bull has dominated 2023’s grand prix events, winning 21 of 22 races and leading Max Verstappen to clinch his third consecutive world title.
But Zak Brown, who operates teams in both series, asserts that F1 isn’t far from reaching the level of inter-equivalency observed in IndyCar, thanks to the ongoing technical rules persisting into 2024 and 2025.
Delving into team standings, Brown noted, “If you look at the timesheets even these teams that are ninth and 10th are a threat for Q3.” Although he accepted that, for the championship, the usual frontrunners would persist, Brown was optimistic about F1 becoming more competitive.
Envisioning a future for F1 mirroring IndyCar‘s current scenario, he said, “I think it’s going to be more like IndyCar where there’s a lot of drivers that can win at any one time and rarely someone runs away with the championship.”
A slipup from Max would have altered the championship results dramatically, given the number of drivers who have graced the podium or finished second. “I’m anticipating that getting closer,” Brown commented. His view was that having seven or eight drivers capable of securing a win over any single weekend will be beneficial for the sport.
When queried about the timespan needed for Red Bull‘s supremacy to be challenged, Brown indicated uncertainty regarding the hidden potential in the reigning world champion’s arsenal. This uncertainty arises especially since Red Bull advanced to the 2024 car project earlier than the majority of their rivals.
Brown warned, “We’re kind of here now, unless Max and Red Bull continue doing what they’re doing.” He noted that at various points during a race weekend, different teams have caught up with Max. Still, the strategic moves of Red Bull remain undeciphered, with Brown admitting, “We don’t know when Red Bull stopped [developing].”