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How do CHAMP car and Formula 1 cars/drivers/teams compare?

Discussion in 'F1' started by Husker, Mar 25, 2004.

  1. Husker

    Husker F1 Veteran
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    Dec 31, 2003
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    I'm sure you guys can tell I don't know squat about racing, but I've always wondered about the differences in Champ and F1 races, drivers, and cars, as they seem very similar when you watch them on TV.

    Take Paul Tracy for example...he seems to be the "Schumacher" of Champ car racing. How come he doesn't ever race Formula 1? Could he/his car compete? How about the other way around - could Formula 1 teams compete in Champ car races?

    If these are stupid questions, I apologize in advance.
     
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  3. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

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    In my opinion, they don't compare. No series compares to F1.
    It's part technical, part poise, part history, part tallent, part famous tracks.
    In total, F1 is where it's at. If you want to be the best driver in the world, you must win an F1 championship.
     
  4. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    You definately need to get out more!!

    The relationship between F1 and CART has varied over the years.

    Early on, Phil Hill and Mario Andretti raced in US, then were successful in F1.

    More recently, it didn't work for Micheal Andretti or Jacques Villanueve, who though successful in CART, kinda faded away overseas.

    Then you have the example of Nigel Mansell, who after being F1 champ, kinda wound down into retirement in CART before concentrating on his golf game and the wife.

    Any I've missed gang?
     
  5. Husker

    Husker F1 Veteran
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    What about Paul Tracy? How would he fare in Formula 1 do you think?
     
  6. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

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    He's heavy! And a big mouth and hard on cars. He isn't "fine" enough to race F1. Shooting off your mouth is fine in F1 as long as you weren't born in North America.
    He wouldn't like it. He would be on a small team and fail to finish a couple of times then he would leave.
     
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  8. writerguy

    writerguy F1 Veteran

    Sep 30, 2003
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    Seriously Paul may have made a dent in F1 if he went that route and not to CART when he did. Now he is a little past his best before date to make the switch.

    That being said there was an article in road and track or automobile a couple of years ago that compared the William's Renault to the Players Forsythe car wheel to wheel and driving Can't remember when but even that information is well past it's best before date too....
     
  9. LA Swede

    LA Swede Formula Junior

    Dec 5, 2003
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    I agree about Andretti who failed miserably. On the other hand, Villeneuve did win the F1 title, but faded after that.

     
  10. Gary(SF)

    Gary(SF) F1 Rookie

    Oct 13, 2003
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    Villenueve was a very talented F1 driver (World Champion) who took the series by storm in his rookie year, his speed was never in question. His big mistake was going with a new team (BAR) that never had a competitive car for him. The biggest surprise to me was Alex Zanardi who absolutely dominated CART and failed big-time at F1. Ex CART champ Christiano DaMatta seems to be doing pretty well in not-so-fast car at Toyota. And of course JPM made the transition with no problem.

    Gary
     
  11. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    Right, Tracy was never on a career path for F1.

    That goes thru F3000, etc. The closest driver to track that route I think is actually Kaanan, who went to Europe and slept on the floor and cleaned the shop to get started.

    I think Paul Tracy has matured in public over the years, and now sadly represents the elder statesman of a series doomed by mismanagement.
    I guess it's a sign of my grey hair when folks like Micheal Andretti "retire" to run a team!

    F1 has traditionally been a younger man's game.

    I'm speaking of the old CART. I like Gentilozzi and think his insights and sound clips have always been great. We'll see where the new series goes.
     
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  13. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Very interesting question and destined to pour some fuel into the fire.

    IMHO F1 is the pinnacle of racing. Skill wise and technology wise. No limits, constant innovation. CART (like most US racing) has a different approach, which is focus on close racing, lower costs and maximum safety. Hence the formula/regulations for the cars are very different with higher minimum weights for example.

    The result is, that F1 cars are a lot quicker and nimble in handling than CART cars. CART called itself "the fastest show on Earth" or something. That might be true as the cars can run minimal downforce in an oval, however a F1 car could easily reach the same speeds with minimal downforce, but doesn't really do that on a road course.

    We discussed driver swaps in the Gordon thread. In general it seems to be easier for a F1 driver to be successful in CART than vice versa which probably says something about the skills involved.

    Also very interesting is to compare the cars on equal ground as in the Montreal GP track. Both series have run there and the CARTs were about six seconds slower (if I remember correctly). That doesn't mean the drivers are six seconds slower, but that the cars were due to their heavier weight, torque curve (turbos vs aspirated engines), less ground effect, different tires and less effective brakes (I believe steel vs carbon fibre).

    So in essence a F1 could outrun a CART car. And it should as the costs are about 10 times higher.

    Having driven examples of either series I can attest, that they feel very different. Although that is a relative statement as it depends on the setup of the particular car (aside from what year it is). But both were set to maximum downforce and the F1 felt a lot more agile.
     
  14. Mr Payne

    Mr Payne F1 Rookie

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    Here's a question. Giving absolutely no regulation, what would be the easiest way to build a car to beat a modern F1 car? How much money could it cost? Seems like it would be relatively easy, ~15million? Considering CART/IRL running costs, boosting the engine to 1500hp (4.0L V10 TT?), full slicks, adding full ground effects/active aero would easily reach our current point.
     
  15. Ferrari_co_uk

    Ferrari_co_uk Karting

    Apr 16, 2003
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    Tracy tested for Benetton way back in '94 I believe. I think he was about two seconds off MS's pace at the end though.

    Tracy's problem has always been his weight! He's too big for F1.

    Best
    Mark
     
  16. BJS

    BJS Formula Junior

    Jan 18, 2004
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    My observations, from a fan of both series (most of my thoughts apply to the 'old' CART):
    - F1 is a techie's dream. Flat-out the highest-tech show in the world
    - As stated in posts above, F1 is a young man's game, making transitions difficult
    - Raw driver talent has more impact in CART; in F1 it's primarily the car, then the driver talent
    - F1 qualifying position, combined with car reliability, often results in finish position
    - CART qualifying position somewhat meaningful, but a good driver can win despite poor qualifying
    - An exciting F1 race has 4 different leaders (many in the US call it 'follow the leader')
    - An exciting CART race could have 50+ lead changes (real passing!)
    - The chicks are better in F1 :)

    Overall, I wish the old CART was back. :( I found it more interesting than F1.
     
  17. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

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    Are you starting from scratch? Or custom designing/building every part?
    Ferrari spends aboy 6-8 hundred million to get their F1 cars {and team} ready for a season.
    Where did 1500 hp come from?
    F1 cars have a little over 900hp.
     
  18. Prova7

    Prova7 Formula Junior

    Nov 17, 2003
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    The differences between F1 and Champ cars (CART) are rules and money based. CART people are not inherently dumber engineers but by rule much of the technology on the F1 car is illegal in CART. F1 teams also have tremendous amounts of cash available for research and testing.

    The F1 and CART series have different cars with differing performance for the same reason that a Formula Vee is different from a Formula Ford: The cars are built to satisfy the rules under which they compete.
     
  19. Prova7

    Prova7 Formula Junior

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    I have no idea about cost but it would be much easier than you think to build something better in every way than an F1 car, all you have to do is build a full bodied sportscar. We get caught up in all the trick aero stuff in F1 but fact is any open wheeled car is a brick. A person with a clean sheet of paper and the idea of building the ultimate car that didn't have to conform to any rules would build something much closer to an ALMS car than an F1 car.
     
  20. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Spot on. F1 cars (like any formula racer) are the best given that particular rule set. If you just want to build the best and fastest race car possible, just ignore the rule set.

    Open wheel race cars create tremendous amounts of drag because of the wheels, so something like a Le Mans car is always better. Further restrictions are defining the engine size, brakes etc.

    To "just" have a fast car you really need only an unlimited engine size, a Le Mans style car and top notch brakes and slicks. Not that much to it.
     
  21. Mark(study)

    Mark(study) F1 Veteran
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    - CART qualifying position somewhat meaningful, but a good driver can win despite poor qualifying

    - An exciting F1 race has 4 different leaders (many in the US call it 'follow the leader')

    - An exciting CART race could have 50+ lead changes (real passing!)



    F1 is the best, but its best to have the computer on, and friends over, and 3 or 4 other things going on.....because 90% of the time, you can take the qualifying grid and you've got the race results 2 hours later.
     
  22. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    I wouldn't go just as far, but amazingly for the most part this is true. Even last and this year with the seemingly "meaningless" qualifying, this still somewhat holds true.

    Did I mention the idea of reversed grid?
    :)
     
  23. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    7,055
    The real difference is that CART teams buy their cars and buy their motors. Each year a number of chassii are obtained and then these are used throughout the season. A number of engines are obtained and rotated through the operating vehicles and the rebuild shop.

    F1 teams have to construct their own cars and many construct their won motors. F1 chassis may only race a couple of times before major rework is performed to obtain greater performance. The chassis at the end of a year wiill be several seconds faster than it was at the beginning of the year. Engine also make great strides forward during the racing year.

    Toyota engines came into CART and were immediately a midpack to frontpack runner.
    Toyota came to F1 and is having trouble getting out of the also rans--while spending (basically) unlimited funds.

    F1 is simply harder!

    What most american fans don't realize is that the race in F1 is car construction! What goes on on the track is simply recognizing who is making forward progress and who is not.
     
  24. DMC

    DMC Formula 3

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    Tracy has slimmed down quite a bit from his dough-boy years with Penske. He weighs about 160, and is in the best shape of his career. He bikes a lot to stay in shape, I think his typical routine is a 30+ mile bike ride in the morning + more working out in the afternoon.

    True, the chicks are hotter in F1, but Champ Car comes close with the Tecate girls. :D

    F1 is a lot more about the car and the team. A truly brilliant driver can overcome that somewhat. I think if Montoya and Schumacher switched places, you'd see a real battle.

    Champ Car starts with a level playing field, with spec engines and pretty much the same chassis for all the teams (there will only be a couple of Reynards this year). A good team with a good engineer and good preparation makes a difference, but talent comes through a lot more because of the similarity between the cars. That's why F1 is the ultimate test, you have to be at the top of your game as a driver, plus be driving a fast and consistent car. There are so many factors that have to be pulling in your direction.

    Champ Car was closer to F1 when they had 3 engine manufacturers and 3 chassis manufacturers, plus 2 tire manufacturers all trying to top one another.
     
  25. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Truer words have rarely been spoken. You should engrave that statement. So damn spot on.
     
  26. Mr Payne

    Mr Payne F1 Rookie

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    1500hp? I just gave a number that is reasonably easy to achieve with no restrictions. 1500hp from a 4.0L V10 TT is certainly easier to achieve than 900hp from 3.0L V10 NA.

    Ferrari spends 600-800 million? Everything I've read has said less than that. I heard that Marlboro 'only' drops 150 million. Who else coughs up that kind of change?
     
  27. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

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    The bottom teams spend 180-300M per year. BTW I meant 5-6Million for Ferrari.
     
  28. pizzadude

    pizzadude Formula 3
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    I was under the impression that Ferrari's budget was around 300 million per year.
     

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