F1 “not far away” from IndyCar level of convergence

IndyCar is known for its close, action-packed races with Dallara-built cars that are largely spec outside damper development and having two different engine manufacturers.

It leads to very close racing, with top six qualifying shootouts on several road courses covered by three tenths or less.

In its 2023 opener at St Petersburg, there was a three-tenth difference between leading the first phase of qualifying and being eliminated in the group stages altogether.

F1 has had similar tight qualifying sessions in 2023, with the field being brought closer together thanks to the budget cap and teams converging on similar aerodynamic designs.

But while IndyCar has enjoyed seven different race winners across four teams, race day competitiveness has been a different beast in F1, with Red Bull winning all but one of 2023’s 22 grands prix as Max Verstappen walked to his third straight world title.

According to Brown, who fields teams in both series, F1 is not miles away from reaching an IndyCar level of convergence as the current technical regulations carry on into 2024 and 2025.

“If you look at the timesheets even these teams that are ninth and 10th [in the standings] are a threat for Q3,” Brown said.

“For the championship, it’s probably going to be the same cast of characters, but I think Formula 1 is going to get more competitive.

Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

“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.

“If Max had slipped on a banana peel, the championship would have looked quite a bit different with how many people have been on the podium, how many people are finished second.

“I’m anticipating that getting closer and I think it’ll be great for the sport, that there won’t be this level of dominance and it’ll be like seven, eight drivers that can win in any one weekend.

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“That’ll be awesome for the sport and I think that’s where we’re headed.”

When asked how long it will take for Red Bull’s advantage to be wiped away, Brown did caution that it remains to be seen how much more performance the world champion squad has in its pocket after being able to switch to the 2024 car project earlier than most rivals.

“We’re kind of here now, unless Max and Red Bull continue doing what they’re doing,” he added.

“Everyone’s caught him at some point for a window of a weekend, so I don’t think anyone’s mega far away.

“But again, we don’t know when Red Bull stopped [developing]. And I don’t think we’ll know that until next year if they have continued to run hard. I don’t think they’ve run as hard as the rest of us, they just haven’t needed to.

“But Ferrari has looked damn strong, Mercedes on Saturdays, we’ve had our days, Aston [Martin] started super strong; so I think we’re not far away from that convergence.”

Additional Reporting: Alex Kalinauckas

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