Tuesday, December 14, 2010

[F1] A new slate for IndyCar in 2012

With the new engine requirements for 2013 out for F1 and Indy debuting its new formula in 2012, I think newly re-branded IndyCar, formerly the IRL, deserves another look from F1 fans. From what I understand so far in 2012 Indy cars will be just as light, just as powerful, have custom aerodynamics on each car, most likely also include KERS, and will be significantly cheaper then F1 cars.

In 2012 each chassis will be provided by Dallara much like today. The chassis comes with no aerodynamic pieces applied to the car and each team will be responsible for purchasing or developing their own aerodynamics for their car(s). These aerodynamic kits include but are not limited to sidepods, engine covers, front wings, and rear wings. This will add a unique look to what has been a very generic field for far too long. Each rolling chassis will cost $345,000 and will include everything except the aerodynamics and engine.

For years Honda has been the sole engine provider for the IRL(know as IndyCar) but in 2012 that is going to change. IndyCar has announced a new open engine formula that allows for any turbocharged engine up to 2.4L and 6 cylinders to run provided it can be tuned to produce the full range of 550-750 HP. They are also allowing hybrid systems like KERS used in F1. The current push to pass function of the sport (which has worked very well over the past two years) is being boosted from 20 HP up to 100 HP.

Also with the arrival of all these significant changes to the sport returns some major names and manufacturers. Lotus returned in 2010 to test the waters and found them very much to their liking and has committed to a three or more car team for 2011 and has committed to making their own aerodynamic package and engine for 2012. Chevrolet has also thrown their had in the ring as a 2012 engine supply with the backing of a major team in the sport, Penske. Including the current engine supplier (Honda) who has also committed to staying in the sport, that makes three engine suppliers for 2012.

When the IRL was started in 1996 it was to raced exclusively on oval tracks. 2011 out of the 17 races 9 of them are road and street courses. Some of the road and street courses include classic F1 venues such as Long Beach. The competition and talent on road courses in IndyCar has picked up greatly over the past two years as driver have been forced to evolve with the sport. There are now three championships in the series, one for road courses, one for ovals, and a combined championship.

With many of the major teams expected to create their own aerodynamic package, new more powerful engines, manufacturers returning to the sport, new bright talent, and a whole season stuffed full of road and street courses what's there for a F1 fan not to enjoy?

On a side note some oval races do bore me but I do enjoy a close oval race such as Texas or Chicago from time to time and enjoy the magic of May at Indy in person every year but I recognize that it isn't for everyone ^_^ Thanks for reading F1 fans

1 comment:

  1. If engine output was the sole factor in winning races, then F1 cars wouldn't hold a candle to the LMP1 cars. We'd discuss their severe torque deficit and weight differential.

    Weight makes a difference. Sure. But engine design makes a difference too. If F1 engines cost much more to manufacture, then I'd expect them to outperform the upcoming Indy engines. If F1 aerodynamics cost more to manufacture, I expect them to outperform Indycars.

    Money doesn't always = performance, but it's the reason for 75 wing designs in a single season at McLaren. Money wins championships by way of R&D and high dollar value drivers.

    I'm not knocking Dario Franchitti's driving ability. He's a boss. He's the Schumi of Indycar without the questionable qualifying and passes. But he's handsomely paid for his driving. Team nobody isn't going to sign him if they don't have a car capable of getting him on the podium. That costs a ton of money.

    By limiting the amount of money to be spent on aero kits and parts, you are limiting the output of the vehicles. True, Ganassi and Penske will R&D it up and ultimately build fast cars for "cheap."

    They will not be as fast as F1 cars. Maybe the better argument would be to show F1 development cycle and Indycar development cycle, showing per second lap improvements based on costs and moneys spent?


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