At the time of this post, Mercedes, Honda, Renault, and Ferrari are the power unit manufacturers of the Formula One (F1) teams with Honda leaving at the end of 2021, replaced by Red Bull. Honda and Chevrolet are the sole two engine makers for the Indy Car series.
Formula 1 has been running since 1950. The newest engine features 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines assisted by a hybrid system which combined means a total power output of around 1000bhp.
Indy Car has had several sanctioning bodies since 1905. The trademark name INDYCAR was officially adopted on January 1, 2011. The cars run 2.2-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engines from Honda and Chevrolet and produce between 550bhp-700bhp.
BPH stands for “Brake Horse Power”. A typical family car engine puts out about 60-80bph. The usual engine test procedure is to run the unit on a ‘brake’ or dynamometer which measures torque over a large range of speeds by seeing how much braking effort is needed to keep the engine at a steady speed on full throttle. The torque times the engine speed then gives the power output, called brake horse power (bhp). Power measured like this, with the engine on a test bed, is expressed as a power output at the flywheel .
The F1 and Indy cars are allowed to rev as high as 15,000rpm, but restrictions on fuel flow, reliability concessions, and the general power curve of the unit mean that drivers usually change gear below 12k.
For use of wind tunnels and aerodynamic testing IndyCar doesn’t match up with F1 in terms of money spent, use of resources, facilities, development time, and so on.
F1 travels all over the the World for races while Indy mostly races in the United States. F1 cars do not refuel during the race but the Indy Cars do. F1 cars typically run about 80 laps while Indy Cars run as much as 500 miles in a race.
Indy cars run road, street and oval tracks while F1 only run the road and street courses. During pit stops Indy car have a built in jack to lift the whole car while F1 cars must be lifted by two jack me, one front one rear.
F1 teams can spend over 400 million dollars a year while Indy Cars only top out at a few million. Indy Cars top speed is 240 mph while F1 is about 225mph while prioritizing of downforce and cornering speeds. F1 accelerate quicker and corner faster.
F1 has used DRS in an attempt to negate the aerodynamic disadvantage of running closely behind another car and encourage overtaking. The system works by allowing cars that are within one second of the
car in front to lift a section of the rear wing on designated straights to create an opening improving aerodynamic efficiency and allowing the car to run as it would without the disadvantage of the dirty air.
IndyCar introduced its push-to-pass system in 2009 to help increase the amount of overtaking. Controlled by a button on the steering wheel, drivers can temporarily increase the engine power by approximately an extra 50hp.
In 2017 the rules changed, giving each driver up to 200sec of extra power over the course of the race rather than an allotted number of uses, allowing drivers to back out of failed overtaking maneuvers without wasting extra seconds of boost and deploy that time at a later opportunity.