NASCAR Vs Formula One Infographic – If you’re an Austin-area sports fan, Formula One racing probably is a foreign concept. Most Central Texans have never seen a race.
On the other hand, you might have some familiarity with NASCAR, America’s most popular motorsports series. Perhaps you’ve even attended a race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, where 143,000 people checked out the recent Sprint Cup event.
So now the opulent world of F1 arrives here for the first time with the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas. Your curiosity is up, and you want to at least give it a look on TV Sunday.
Here are five things you need to know about F1 compared with NASCAR:
1) Formula One is a sprint; NASCAR is a marathon.
The Abu Dhabi race, F1’s last event, had 24 cars covering 190 miles over 55 laps on a 3.5-mile road course with 21 turns (right and left). The race took an hour and 45 minutes. There was one lead change.
The AAA Texas NASCAR Cup race in Fort Worth had 43 cars running 500 miles over 334 laps on a 1.5-mile, high-banked oval. All left turns. The race took 3 hours, 41 minutes and had 20 lead changes. There was time for a lunch break, channel surfing NFL games, bathroom pit stops.
ESPN’s television coverage sprawled over five hours. Formula One is neatly packaged into 2.5-hour TV windows.
NASCAR is like baseball — no clock. You race until its over. If an F1 race reaches 2 hours, it’s over. Whoever’s ahead wins.
Even the pit stops are shorter in F1, taking 3-4 seconds, while a full NASCAR stop is 13-15 seconds. And some F1 races have only one stop.
2) Do NOT miss the start of the F1 race.
NASCAR takes a bunch of warm-up laps and gets off to a rolling start. The first lap is an impressive display of thunder but is no indicator of how the day will go. Good cars routinely come up through the pack.
F1 cars begin from a dead stop. Once those five red lights in the tower turn off, it’s chaos, with cars zigzagging for position while accelerating from zero to 100 mph in a few seconds. At Abu Dhabi, co-favorite Mark Webber got off to a terrible start, was passed by four cars and was toast for the day. Two guys crashed out; several others had their fate pretty much sealed by slow starts.
3) F1 is a game of finesse; NASCAR gets physical. Stock cars are like tanks compared with the F1 jitterbugs. In NASCAR, it’s bump and grind and three wide at times.
At TMS, Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson, the two championship leaders, pushed on each other’s fenders in the closing laps. At Phoenix on Sunday, drivers and crews even came to blows. After Jeff Gordon wrecked Clint Bowyer in retaliation for previous sins, Bowyer and company fought with Gordon’s crew.
It was great theater, but you’d never see that in the highbrow world of F1. You also seldom see any bumper pool; the light, aerodynamically sensitive F1 open-wheel cars just aren’t built to take it.
4) The best car vs. the winning strategy (and luck).
In Formula One, the fastest car almost always wins. At Abu Dhabi, Kimi Raikkonen passed Lewis Hamilton for the lead on lap 20. Ballgame. Qualifying up front is critical.
The longer NASCAR races have more twists and turns than a Stephen King novel. It’s not necessarily the best car that wins. It’s the car that has done best with speed, maneuvering, fuel mileage, pit stops and restarts after cautions.
At TMS, Keselowski had to try to win the race three times in the closing laps because of somebody else’s wreck or problem. Twice he skillfully beat five-time champ Johnson out of the blocks, but on the third restart, Johnson got the jump on Keselowski and pulled away to victory.
“I had to choose between wrecking him and winning the race, and it didn’t seem right to wreck him,” Keselowski said.
5) Showcasing drivers or technology.
NASCAR emphasizes driver personalities with colorful, combustible characters like Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch and the folksy charm of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Deep down, NASCAR leaders had to be thrilled with the Bowyer vs. Gordon dust-up. You know, any publicity is good publicity, and there’s nothing like a fight.
Formula One? Brilliant engineers and technicians all trying to outfox one another for that razor-thin edge that means a world of difference. You’ll hear about telemetry, slipstreaming, wings, suspension and certainly speed-enhancing technology like KERS and DRS, which allow for much more passing.
The constructors, or team, championship seems as important to F1 as the driver title.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is the highest level of NASCAR — and the most popular in the United States. However, internationally, Formula One racing is seemingly the world’s second most popular sport after soccer. Check out our side-by-side comparison created with Red Bull that pits the two racing superpowers against each other.
By – Kevin Lyttle
Source - statesman.com (1579)
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